It’s not uncommon for businesses to push through their initial launch only to realize that they haven’t really done any foundational brand work. In the long-run, this can actually have a negative effect on your overall business growth. After all, if you don’t figure out exactly who you are, how are your customers supposed to know? But, what does branding even mean? And how much work do you need to do to develop it? Some business owners feel like they just need to develop a product or a logo and it will all magically fall into place. It’s not quite that simple.
Not only does creating a strong brand help you stand out among your competitors, but it also allows your audience to connect with you on a more personal level. A stronger connection to your audience generally means better revenues and long-term loyalty.
Skipping over the brand development phase, you run the risk of no one knowing who you are and an inconsistent marketing and communications strategy that will confuse your target audience. And remember… branding is not just logo development. Your logo is just a visual representation of the brand you have developed.
When it comes to brand development, certain factors like industry, audience, and geography will affect your approach, however, below are brand factors that you will always need to address for your own brand development:
- Audience Segmentation: Figure out who they are, what they want, what they need, and how they want to get it.
- Value proposition: Decide what value you bring to your target audience and how is it different than your competitors.
- Brand messaging: These are the main points that you can use to talk about your brand. It will form the base for all marketing and communications content you put out there.
- Brand identity/personality: Your messaging shows what you are about, and your brand identity showcases your values, ethics, and the characteristics that really make you you.
- Brand story: Take your messaging and brand identity one step further by crafting your organizational story. Focus on the people and the things that are most important to you.
After you have gone through all of these things, you are well-equipped to create your logo and build your website and web content based on what would appeal to your audience and showcase your brand story.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Now that you have this great brand developed, you need to think about how you can establish a long-term presence with it based on three things:
- Consistency: Maintaining consistency when it comes to colours, messaging, tone, and all of your brand’s defining factors is important so your audience knows what to expect from you. It also helps with brand recall (your audience will remember and recognize you based on your marketing efforts).
- Adaptability: While you need consistency, you also have to be adaptable when it comes to evolving your brand over time. Your audience and their needs will likely evolve over time and it’s important that you don’t get left behind because you haven’t kept up.
- Storytelling: Weaving storytelling through everything you do will allow you to better connect over a long period of time with your audience. You took the time to develop your brand storytelling based on what your audience might want, so use it!
Brand development, while often overlooked, is an important part of the process when you are starting a business or when you are going through organizational change. It will set you up for future business success.
Candace Huntly is Founder and Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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