Take a moment to consider what the most valuable asset to your business is. Is it your company’s physical location? Is it the products or services you offer? Obviously, those matter, but are they truly the most valuable things?
The answer, at least when its achieved, is a recognizable, loved and trusted brand. Yes, a brand.
Every business big or small must have a brand, and a name to go with it. It’s how customers differentiate you from the competition. It’s how they get to know you and what you have to offer. It’s everything your business has and does.
Sound a little far-fetched?
According to Nielson’s Global New Product Innovation Survey, it’s not a fantasy at all. In fact, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands they know or are familiar with. In other words, it’s trust and a history you really want to construct — this is the relationship you need with your customers.
Before that can happen, you need a brand, and customers need to know your brand. But what is a “brand” exactly and how do you show it off? How is your brand portrayed to customers and interested parties?
A brand is more than just a name — or a mission statement or even a goal. “Brand” is a term used to refer to the total perception of your business, as in what customers see or think when they consider your company.
It’s how you interact and communicate with your audience and customers. It’s your physical location, what it looks like, the state it’s in and how you conduct face-to-face business. It’s your print ads, signage, even retail packaging. It’s your website advertising and social engagement. It’s your content marketing and all the information you publish on your blog. It’s even the sales and customer service experience you offer, good or bad.
A “brand” is a consistent communication, engagement and experience across any and all platforms, applications and mediums. It is quite literally every single thing you do. That’s exactly why building a lovable and trustworthy brand is not an overnight thing. It takes a while, maybe even a long while. It requires substantial investments, patience and consistency.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to speed up the process or fine tune what you’re trying to do.
Want to know how you can promote your brand online, whether through a website, forum or social network? Well, keep on reading. Here are the best ways to do it:
As they so often say, content is king. It’s also good for SEO, or search engine optimization, which is what helps drive traffic to your website. The more fresh and relevant content you have, the more chances you have of people finding your brand and site. Plus, relevant content is super shareable, so people are more inclined to engage and share with others via social media.
The best way to position yourself is as a thought leader. This is someone who has a lot of advice, tips or information to share with the community. For instance, a home improvement company could share DIY projects that are great to do at home. A restaurant could share DIY recipes that readers could try to make themselves, and so on and so forth.
The idea is to really position yourself as an influencer in your market so customers, as well as other professionals, come to you regularly.
Creating fresh content is a great way to entice new customers and potential readers, but that’s not where you want to start your building process. First, you’ll need to discover who you are, create content, products and services people desire, and then impact the world around you, hopefully for the better — hence the discover, create and inspire mantra.
Brands like Jose Cuervo, Disney, ABC, Bravo, Nickelodeon and many more leverage this strategy. It may seem like a bunch of hogwash on the surface, but the only way to truly build a strong brand is through a process such as this.
Discover who you are, what your brand is and how that reflects upon the world. Create something, anything, from commercial and consumer-based products to visual content and information. Finally, aim to inspire by kick-starting a story and experience that everyone can aspire to be. What has your brand accomplished? What makes you proud, and what experiences have you had that others can borrow from to improve their own lives or business?
There’s no avoiding it — you’re going to spread yourself thin across multiple platforms, apps and mediums. You’ll be focused on social media, your professional website, an e-commerce platform, advertising and marketing, and so much more.
Just make sure your efforts across the entire space are centralized and that they align. For example, don’t show everyone on your website that you’re a family-friendly brand or business, and then post mature, adult content on Instagram and Twitter. Keep the focus similar across all platforms, and that goes for your mission, content and strategies.
To build a brand, you need everything in sync, no matter how spread out you are.
This one is tough and won’t come easy, nor will it happen overnight. To make a name for your brand and stand out from the competition you absolutely have to be unique. You may have similar products or services, similar strategies and maybe even similar customers, but something makes you different. Hone in on whatever that is and use it to your advantage. Embrace the differences, not the similarities.
There’s a simple and single supporting point behind this idea. If you are no different than your competition, why would your customers choose you or your products? The answer is, they wouldn’t. They would most likely go with whatever brand or product they found first, which may not be yours.
Stand up. Shout from the heavens. Make your brand known, but more importantly make your brand shine out in an endless sea of sameness — yes, we used that word.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner