We bet you’re as thrilled as we are that the world is back in action (kind of) and we can all go back to business as usual (or business as the “new normal”). A lot has changed over the last few months so we thought we’d touch on branding and what this could possibly mean for you now.
Whether you are creating a brand new business (as so many are) or are re-entering the market after the hiatus, there are a few branding tips you should take into consideration. You see, every business, no matter the size or industry, needs a solid branding strategy and the link between successful business and strong branding cannot be disputed.
So, what exactly is branding?
Branding is the way you define your business to your target audience and your internal team. It includes your corporate identity or brand identity and embodies your business values, your culture, your offering and your positioning in the market.
We live in the online world (more now than ever) and it’s incredibly easy to create an impressive-looking identity online, at little or no cost. Beware though… people are becoming increasingly savvy. They recognise when a business is trying to spin, charm or gloss their way to sales. Our number one tip? Don’t be that business that just tries to “Sell” “Sell” “Sell!” Don’t be that business that has a brand that is “only skin deep”. Be authentic and live your brand! This is why it is important that your branding is strategised to perfection.
A strategically defined brand helps customers connect emotionally with your business as they share the same beliefs and values as your brand. This creates a sense of trust which leads to higher sales and stronger brand recognition. By doing things this way, you will protect your business during those times when competitors rely on discounts to push sales.
Tips to Defining your Business Brand
Begin by reviewing your products and services, identify the space your business occupies in the market and research the emotional needs of your clients (yes, we are all emotional right now and your business should recognise this.)
Your brand identity/character must connect with your client base, promote your business and set you apart from your competitors.
Think of your Brand as Human
We are all individuals, made up of different values, beliefs and purposes. These are the things that define who we are and who we connect with. This comes naturally for people but is a little trickier for a brand. Consider your business and think about the character and personality you would like it to portray. Are you the quirky company or are you more serious? Know your business and who your business has to connect with, and create everything you do around your business’ personality!
Now Think of your Clients as Human
If your brand or business can be considered human, then your customers most definitely should be, because, well, they ARE human! Contrary to popular belief they are not wallets, pay cheques or your next nice car… they are human beings with emotions, aspirations and fears, and how your brand relates to them is more important now than ever. They want to know that your business cares about all the things we’ve just been reminded are important – like the environment, quality time with loved ones, social transformation and so on.
Your brand heroes
Who are the heroes of your brand? Determine who the face of your business actually is – this is important for Public Relations purposes and should not be left out of your brand strategy.
This will help you showcase your business’ character for brand communications.
We all know Steve Jobs of Apple right? So, who is your Steve Jobs?
Be Consistent in your Content and Tone of Voice
This attention to detail reinforces the character of your business and helps keep your customers aware of what to expect from the service or product you provide. The consistency inspires trust and confidence in your brand.
Innovate and Take Risks
“Innovate” is probably the most annoying word because we hear it all the time – but there is a reason for that! Most large corporations are burdened with bureaucracy and this stops them from being flexible – thus they are stunted in regards to evolving with the requirements and needs of their clients. Smaller businesses are at an advantage: INNOVATE.
The tangibility of printed marketing materials is, interestingly, becoming more important as the increased activity online (and the subsequent uncertainty in the intangible) picks up momentum.
Simply having printed business stationery, including business cards, writing pads, envelopes, proposals and annual reports give you instant credibility over “skin deep” online-only brands. The fact that you invest time and money into the branding of your company shows business longevity and this level of professionalism never goes unnoticed.
Your company’s visual identity is your overall business image. This sets the tone in the minds of customers, investors and employees. Think about it like this – when you see red and gold thrown together – do you think of McDonalds? YOU SEE! THAT IS HOW IT’S DONE! *DROPS MIC*