Brand Development: How to Improve Your Company's Brand
Every business faces an uphill battle to achieve success.
Indeed, there are 30.2 million small businesses operating around the country right now. The result?
Established industries are saturated with an inordinate level of competition. Somehow, you have to beat it (and continue doing so over time) in order to survive- let alone to flourish.
All manner of factors go into making that happen. However, one attribute above all others will help you succeed where others fail:
A high-quality, recognized, and respected brand is what makes your business stand out from the crowd. Effective brand development is about differentiation, customer perception, and a commitment to serve an audience.
Get it right, and your brand facilitates trust, drives sales, and generates revenue.
Are you looking for advice on growing your brand this year? Keep reading for 7 essential steps that are sure to help.
1. Define Your Purpose
Effective branding is built upon an understanding of your business’ purpose.
However, don’t confuse this with ‘what you do’.
The purpose of a clothes manufacturer isn’t just to make apparel. The purpose of a barbershop isn’t just to cut peoples’ hair.
No, the true definition of 'purpose' (at least with regard to branding) pertains to ‘why’ you do what you do. The clothes manufacture might want to bring affordable high-end fashion to the working class. The barber might want to make people feel beautiful and restore their self-confidence.
Knowing your ‘why’ is a precursor to identifying and understanding your audience. It enables you to define your USP(s) and orient your efforts in line with a particular standard. From the slogan you adopt to the ads you put out, this insight feeds into how your business operates.
2. Summarize Your ‘Why’ Into a Clear Mission Statement
This is how Steve Jobs defined Apple’s mission back in 1980:
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
That’s a prime example of a quality mission statement. Such sentences provide a guiding hand that helps maintain the company’s trajectory. More importantly, they sum up the purpose of the business, describe what it’s trying to do, and inform the outside world of its core values and aspirations.
You should do the same! Create your own mission statement off the back of defining your purpose. Let everybody know who you are and what you’re all about.
It’s what distinguishes and defines you from the crowd, letting other people understand what you’re all about in the process.
Copycat uniforms won’t cut it.
The job of any business is to ensure theirs is distinctive and unique. Only then will people in the outside world come to know, recognize, appreciate, and trust them.
This is where competitor research comes into play. Only by seeing what’s already being done can you cultivate a memorable and distinctive brand. You need to understand your audience and see how other companies are targeting them.
From there, it’s a matter of setting yourself apart from the rest.
4. Incorporate It Into Everything
There’s one problem with the aforementioned uniform analogy:
At the end of a long day, you can take your uniform off and put on a different set of clothes. In branding, that’s something you cannot afford to happen.
You must keep your brand in mind at all times.
It should be evident in every business process and decision you make. It should translate in your endorsements, advertisements, logo, public engagements, blog tone of voice, and so on.
Never take your uniform off. It’s the only way to establish the cohesive brand identity you need to facilitate the growth and success of your business.
5. Be Authentic
The previous tip relates to another important point of necessity:
To be authentic.
Consumers are astute. Remember, they’ve got a million years of evolution behind them to help see-through any pretense. Your business’ brand must be an authentic representation of its values.
Fail in that regard and you’ll struggle to see the progress you want. Your target audience won’t trust you. They’ll feel sold to, manipulated, and undervalued. Be real and open, and you’ll enjoy the exact opposite.
6. Stay Consistent
If content is king in the marketing world, then consistency is queen in the realm of brand development.
There’s nothing more confusing to a consumer than inconsistency in a business’ branding efforts.
It’s like your primary care-giver doing something that’s totally out of character. You thought you knew them. Now, all of a sudden, you don’t know what to think.
The same applies to the relationship between businesses and their customers. A decade of brand development and trust-cultivation can be decimated in moments. A consistent message is key for keeping it alive.
Having defined your ‘why’ and worked hard to spread the message, be sure to act in accordance with it.
7. Provide Value to the World
Ultimately, brand development comes down to value-provision.
In simple terms, the more value you can provide, the better it’ll be for business.
Everything from the content you put out to the products/services you sell should solve problems and make peoples’ lives better. Look to entertain, educate, and eradicate issues in equal measure.
Combine that with your own unique style, voice, and personality (in other words, your own brand), and you’re onto a winner. After all, it’s hard not to like (and trust) someone who’s giving freely of their time and energy to better your life.
You cement your brand in the market by virtue of your virtuosity.
Time to Work on Brand Development
Brand development is the key ingredient to success in competitive markets.
Ignore branding and you’ll forever find it harder to attract and retain customers; the journey to growth and prosperity will be far slower.
Hopefully, though, the ideas here have explained how to improve your brand. With the ideas in mind, a strong, thriving brand that serves you in your bid for business success should be around the corner.