54% of consumers don’t trust brands so how can you make sure they believe in yours? Whether you are branding from scratch or rebranding, here are some ideas to start you off on the right track.
Here's what we will cover...
- Critical questions
- Getting to know your customers
- Content branding ideas
- Packaging and stationery
- Email marketing
- Customise your social media channels
As we explained in our related post, ‘What is Branding?’ your brand and your story are one and the same. Your brand forms the heart of your business so you need to treat branding as seriously as any other aspect of your business.
With that in mind, here are some initial questions you should ask yourself:
What does your business do?
This question isn’t about what you used to do or what you would like to do. It focuses purely on what you actually do right now. Clarifying this will help you to ensure your branding is authentic.
Why did you launch the business?
Do you remember why you started your business in the first place? This spark can fade over time so you may need to put some effort into reminding yourself why you do what you do.
Steve Jobs said that branding is mainly about how people resonate with a company on an emotional level. You can only hope to connect at that deep level if you rekindle the passion that originally led you to starting out in business.
Where are you heading?
Although you want your brand to reflect what you do today, it is also wise to build in flexibility so your brand can develop in step with your business. Make sure you have a vision for where your business is going to be in 5, 10 and 20 years.
What is the purpose of your branding/rebranding?
Unless you are branding from scratch, there must be a reason behind your decision to rebrand your business. What is it about your current brand that you want to change? Do you need to stand out more? Does your message need to be clearer? Does your brand need to be brought up to date? Are you expanding into a new market?
Answering the questions above will form a strong foundation for creating a powerful, well-positioned brand.
Getting to know your customers
Jeff Bezos once said: ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.’
With the explosion of social media and online review opportunities, companies are rarely ‘in the room’ with their customers so it is vital that they do all they can to build a strong, positive connection with them at every touchpoint.
From questionnaires and focus groups to analytics, polls and surveys, there are many ways to gather data on your existing and potential customers. Look beyond demographics (age, gender, income bracket, etc.) to psychological and behavioural data. Which social media sites do your customers use? What other brands do they support? What music do they listen to? What car do they drive?
Most importantly, what are their values? The surest way to lose customers and attract negative reviews is to have a brand which is at odds with your customers’ deepest principles.
Once you’ve got your brand foundations and customer personas nailed down, it will be much easier to make smart branding and marketing decisions and to delight your customers.
We go into more detail in our upcoming Branding Training Course but, in the meantime, here are some further branding ideas to explore.
Content branding ideas
Content comes in many different formats but you should aim for a consistent look and tone of voice whether you are writing a blog post, hosting a podcast or presenting a webinar.
Video is definitely worth considering as it has been shown to lead to 10 times more engagement (shares, comments, etc.) than text-based media or social media activity. There are also plenty of opportunities to brand your video content – from the intro sequence and caption design to the way your actor or presenters speak and dress.
If you haven’t yet got a company blog, this can be an effective vehicle for shaping your brand. Consider personalising your brand by adding your name and face to the blog. The biggest brands on the planet (Amazon, Virgin, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) are almost synonymous with their founders and CEOs. These firms understand how personality can raise brand awareness and create a deeper connection with customers.
Packaging and stationery
In this online-obsessed world, it can be easy to forget about the importance of branding when it comes to physical materials such as letterheads, leaflets, business cards and product packaging.
Try to make your physical assets attractive and memorable but go beyond this to ensure they reflect your brand values. For example, if you are passionate about the environment, any marketing materials and packaging should really be recyclable at the very least.
It is now simple and cost-effective to set up and run an email marketing campaign. Creating a newsletter and automating delivery to customers and leads is another powerful way to strengthen your brand. Vu Online can help you to get this up and running while making sure you are GDPR compliant.
Customise your social media channels
Most social media platforms give you some degree of control over how your channel looks. Whether it’s designing the banner and logo for your YouTube channel, creating a Facebook story for your company page or simply adjusting the colour of your links on Twitter, spending a little bit of time customising your social media profiles can have a powerful effect on your branding.