No matter what your business is, you want it to stand out of the crowd. You want to be there when the target audience is ready to buy. Branding helps in reinforcing this message and spreading the word about your business in the most influential way.
For example, Dannijo is a fashion brand run by two sisters Daniel and Jodie. Today, their customers include Rihanna, Beyonce, and Natalie Portman. Their branding revolves around true depiction of how the products are used. They post customer photos on Instagram and celebrate each person who buys from Dannijo.
You will see gorgeous images of shoes, purses, and all conversation pieces modeled by the sisters themselves. Their branding is so strong that the customer wants to be a part of them and buy from them. Moreover, Dannijo regularly takes part in charity activities and talks about making the world a better place.
Strong brands are not made in ivory towers or expensive agency offices. To establish your business as a brand, you need to be clear on some very basic principles. Let’s walk through these building blocks and learn how to leave a lasting message on your target customers.
Humans are hardwired to love stories. That is a scientific fact, one that dates back to hundreds of years ago. When we hear a good story, it touches our heart and makes us feel strong emotions. In branding, storytelling can take you places. You just have to be honest about it.
Make no jokes about it, because there are big brands that lied about their story and paid the price. Imagine lying about your brand’s effect on the atmosphere to look good to your loyal customers. Volkswagen cheated on their diesel emission tests for an alarming seven years. They created software that reduced harmful emissions as soon as the tests began.
When an independent clean air advocacy group tested the cars for being a great fix to the environment, Volkswagen was caught red-handed. The matter was taken up by high authorities, and Volkswagen was shamed around the world. Dozens of publications picked up the story and soon found out other automakers to be doing the same thing.
Honesty is a strong prerequisite of brand storytelling. If you don’t stay true to this virtue, your brand may suffer. So, even if your product is a jam that came from your kitchen garden, tell this story truthfully to the world. Small businesses can leverage stories and emotional anecdotes to impress new customers.
Find out your unique selling point
If you have lots of competitors in the market, you need a unique value proposition to stand out. That one thing you offer, which no other brand can give to the customer is your unique selling point. Companies have excelled based on their unique selling point and delivered a fresh product to their customers.
Airbnb came into the world as a mind-blowing idea. It was not bed and breakfast and not a motel; the idea was to offer your own house to someone who was visiting the town, and make money off it! This was a unique selling point for the company and a nice talking point about the future of the hotel business.
Airbnb still does not own any of the properties, and always puts the customer forward. They have a section of the website dedicated to ‘stories from the Airbnb community’ where hosts tell their story. By their customer-driven strategy, Airbnb gets mileage for being an innovative brand.
This may take a while, but you have to brainstorm about the features that make your business stand out. Some questions you can ask yourself are:
- Do we solve a problem better than others?
- Do we offer a service/product that has not been offered before?
- Do we help our customers with something in a satisfactory way?
One thing leads to the other, and you will find a unique selling proposition for your business. You can also run quizzes and do some field research to ask the customers. They can tell you what they are missing, so you jump on the opportunity and save the day!
Create a strong identity
Brands need to invest in a logo and tagline that speaks for them. Times Square in New York is alive with names and logos of brands that flash every few seconds. The logo colors, tagline, and theme makes its way into the customer’s mind. Next time when the customer wants to shop, they will remember the business by its logo.
First, you should know that taglines and slogans are two different things. Tagline is the essence of your business and stays with it all the time. Slogans are short-lived and better suited for small ad campaigns run by your business.
Focus on a tagline that can go with the logo and speak for your brand. Propagate it so much that people think of your brand when they hear a tagline. What do you think of when you hear “Just do it” or “I’m lovin it”?
You can avail a branding agency’s services to get a logo and tagline for your business. Refine it until it becomes a true representative of your brand.
Keep the same logo everywhere
Big brands take their visual identity seriously. One of the ways to build a memorable brand is by keeping monotony in your visual messages. Be it social media, offline ads, or billboards, keep the logo same. Same is the case with your official colors and fonts. Large corporations have branding guidelines that are 50 pages long and discuss each detail as to how the branding will go in all circumstances.
Consistency is the key and gets your brand the recognition it deserves. Even a child knows that McDonald’s colors are red and yellow. This is the result of consistent branding and no compromise on your message even if it is a small street corner.
Working with a good branding agency can teach you these basics and help your business go that extra mile.
Being a business does not mean that you have the final say. Your customer will always have the final say and decision-making rights. Invest in a customer service team, even if it is one person who listens to queries. Cover all important channels like social media, email, and phone to get the most feedback out of your target market.
Good brands are always approachable. They are striving to reach customers wherever they are and help them out. Twitter is a popular place for customer service now, with brands paying close attention to what users say about their product.
Train your customer service team in a way that they can get honest feedback out of every interaction. Use this feedback to tweak what’s not working and improve what worked.
Implement the ROI principle
There is this ROI principle which can keep you on track. The ROI principle: relevant, original, and impactful. If your company succeeds in achieving these values, the customer will automatically create a great first impression on the market.
Dominos is a strong player in the food market that is constantly innovating. Their solutions are relevant to the digital age and geared to bring in more sales. The tweet-to-order feature enables customers to order while browsing through Twitter. The “DOM Pizza Bot” is a bot that can take an order from you from your favorite chatting app.
Dominos is getting more social media mileage + orders by applying the ROI principle. They are using technology to be where another food brand has not been before. Other initiatives bring customers to their website and build the pizza they want.
As you grow in popularity, you can’t sit back and enjoy the flurry of orders. You need to take steps that keep you in the game and a mile ahead of competitors. As soon as someone tries to copy your strategy, you come up with an even more impressive one for the customers.
Social media is a good place to implement ROI practice. Because there is much conversation going on, and your brand reps can jump in and impress customers. Your brand should be aligned with these ROI standards to hand over the torch to customers. Also, it should be promoted in accordance with the expectations of the platform’s audience. For example, you can create Stories around your brand for enticing followers on Instagram.
Now that you have cultivated a better understanding of these key branding strategies, it is time to focus on your customers. It doesn’t matter if you have a couple of them or dozens of them, customers build your brand as nothing else does.
Deliver the promise to your customers and always be truthful to them. Make up for the disappointments with better incentives to keep them coming back. Do you have a brand story that made waves? Our community would love to hear from you.