Building your brand identity

Building your brand is integral (and the only way) for securing the long-term growth of your business. But what does it mean to develop a brand and once you have, then what?

Find your audience

It’s all well-and-good to identify a gap in the market, but then you must convince the right people that the gap needs to be filled.

Identifying your audience is a vital part to developing your branding. In fact, without this first step, you cannot develop branding that is conducive to growth.

Targeting your audience goes beyond just figuring out that you want to focus your marketing on males between a certain age who are interested in fishing, or women between the ages of 25-40 interested in health.

Following some considerable research into your industry and the sorts of audiences it attracts, you then want to look at four aspects of your audience to then guide your branding:

  1. Vocabulary. What sort of language is your target audience used to, and what does it use? This will help you define your branding and your messaging (such as your social marketing, your newsletters, your website copywriting).
  2. Goals. Your target audience will have a goal that aligns with what your business offers. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for them to get from A to B. Your branding is as much your logo as it is the way your website or your bricks-and-mortar shop works. Everything that your business does is your branding, which is why ensuring you understand how your customers want to interact with you is integral to building your brand.
  3. Knowledge. Users and customers bring their own knowledge with them to a website. For whatever industry you specialise in, the users you attract have previous experience and expertise in your area. It is up to you to decide whether your branding and messaging assumes your customers’ knowledge, or whether this leaves you at a disadvantage by potentially alienating those without that knowledge.
  4. Usage. Similar to knowledge, a customer who interacts with your brand may have previous experience in dealing with a business similar to yours. Because of this, they have expectations of what you offer. Your branding again must decide whether it fits with these or does things differently to differentiate yourself and improve the customer experience.

Find your story

As far as engagement is concerned, the story is everything. This doesn’t mean your branding must include your life story. The ‘story’ behind your branding is what sets you apart as a business from your competitors, communicating who you are, identifying your customers’ aspirations and why you are the business that addresses these aspirations.

This is one of the harder and more abstract aspects of branding that a copywriter or agency can help you define. An agency can offer content strategy, graphic design and copywriting services to build a cohesive brand identity that all stem from the core brand story.

Communicate your brand

The marketing of your brand starts with yourself. When developing your brand identity, you should have developed a boilerplate message that you can translate into an elevator pitch. This is how you explain what you do and what your business is to potential customers and those you network with.

This elevator pitch need only be 20-30 seconds long and answers the question of what your business does, why it does it (the problem that needs the solution) and why it does it better than its competitors.

Beyond the more conventional marketing channels you can follow (social media, display advertising, print advertising, online advertising, radio and television) it helps to always remember that your brand needs to permeate everything a customer touches and sees. This doesn’t necessarily mean you order 500 keychains with your business logo printed on them, but it does mean that when people interact with anything related to your business, they should be reminded of your brand in a way that isn’t intrusive on their ability to achieve their goals. Having your branding based on strong and simple design will make this easier.

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