This week on my Nudge Series I have compiled 11 must-dos for anyone that wants to know how to build a successful brand. As someone who is currently building one, I am always staying on the know on new ways to grow, promote, and expand a brand in this new era. Below I have listed the 11 tips given by experts for entrepreneurs, so if you are wondering how brands build a loyal following, keep reading!
1. Audit Your Marketplace/ Research
Always start by doing research. Look at what your competition is doing well and what they are struggling to execute. Having this type of information is an advantage because it can help you strategize on ways you can be better. But do your due diligence and ensure you are looking at the right companies, always ask yourself whether your target customer would ever be in a situation where they would be deciding between you and them, that is how you know they are your direct competitors.
Once you have identified them, create a list of all of their strengths and weaknesses. Gett's anti- Uber campaign is a great example of this method and how it can be successfully executed. First, they recognized that Uber was their direct competitor, figured out surge charges as one of their weaknesses, and tailored a marketing campaign in New York City. It caught the attention of their target customers, proposed a solution to a point of contention for Uber users, and simultaneously generated press for Gett.
2. Answer These Questions About Your Brand
This is probably one of the most overlooked things by many new entrepreneurs but it is a critical determining factor on how successful your brand will be. If you don't understand your brand, no one else will. There is an in-depth questionnaire developed by Andrew Kippen, Head of Marketing of SpokenLayer to get people to think about their brand as a whole. The exercise allows companies to create their brand personality and takes them through some of these fun and engaging questions:
What problem are you solving?
What is the sexiest trait about your service or product?
If your company was a person, who would it be? A celebrity? Yourself?
What would you never tell a potential customer about your company on a first date?
When potential customers say no thanks, generally what is the reason?
3. Define Your Brand's DNA
The DNA of your brand should define everything you will ever do. It should be the "fundamental and distinctive characteristics/qualities of something" and "unchangeable." To identify your brand's DNA, start by getting inspiration from brands that you feel relate closely to the important qualities that you want your brand to embody and then create ones of your own. Whether it's a specific niche or you want to offer better pricing, no matter what, define what your DNA is and stick to it.
4. Set Hard Deadlines When Making Creative Decisions
It's easy to get stuck in the creative process (it has happened to me often) and to feel like you have to find the perfect logo, tagline, or design for your website. It can be easy to get caught up and sometimes setting a deadline doesn't seem realistic but it's necessary. Deadlines will ensure that you do not waste time and it helps you stay focused. The creative process is important but knowing when to move and execute your ideas is equally as important. Set a clear game plan for you and your team with clear deadlines upfront while also making sure they have the time and space to have complete creative freedom.
5. Implement Strategies to Establish the Brand Identity and Create a Brand Awareness
Building a brand identity takes patience and execution. You have to ensure that you have a strong and consistent online presence through all appropriate channels. That includes your Website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram. Make sure that your online message aligns with your company goals and values. Also, create a smooth website experience for your customers by making sure that your page is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and offers your customers several contact points.
Once you have built a strong and clear presence on all your channels, the next step should be to create brand awareness. Brand awareness is about getting your brand exposure by using marketing, advertisement, and publications. However, you have to make sure to find the right channels from trade journals, billboards, pay-per-click advertising (PPC), radio spots, websites, social media ad banners, and mass consumer publications, television, and print interviews to utilize. The content you put out has to be clear and tell a story that your target market can connect with. This stage is all about communicating your brand to your audience.
6. Leverage The Testimonial Economy
We now live in the testimonial economy but many people still don't use that to their advantage. Information is right at the tip of our fingers; you can find almost anything browsing online, like what people are saying about your brand. Want to build a successful brand? Pay attention to the reviews, customer comments and build a community of ambassadors ready to share your brand with their online following.
7. Create Emotive Appeal
Many people's buying behavior is influenced by emotions so you need to appeal to that. It is necessary to create an emotive appeal by forming an association between your product or service and an emotion. If people can create an emotional connection with your brand, you will have a loyal customer.
8. Be Known For A Specific Niche
There is a huge advantage in being known for a niche. Don't dilute your message by presenting a broad spectrum of expertise. For example, you could say you are a business consultant however, the more powerful stance would be identifying yourself as a business consultant for women-owned tech companies. Being specific allows you to be memorable and the best in your niche.
9. Identify And Target Your Ideal Client and connect with them
To have a strong brand you need to be able to appeal to your key demographic. To do that, you need to know them like the back of your hand. You have to learn what they like, dislike, age, geographic, parental status, online status, favorite tv shows, educational level, fears, dreams, weaknesses, etc. By creating a clear understanding of who this person is, you can use it in your brand messaging and speak directly to them.
Once you have their attention, stay in touch with your customers regularly to get feedback about how well your business is meeting their needs, what new products or services they are interested in, and how you can serve them better. Talking to customers consistently, both in-person and online, not only gives you valuable information that can help grow your business but also keeps your brand top-of-mind.
10. Be Authentic
Be authentic. Don't portray yourself to be something you are not because people will see right through it. Show them all the good with the bad and your tribe will find you and connect with you. People can't relate to someone that doesn't exist, so make sure the real you match the online you. There is nothing more powerful than someone who embraces all that they are, fearlessly and truly.
11. Embrace The Feeling That You Will Never Be 100% Comfortable
The saying "be comfortable with the uncomfortable" couldn’t be truer when it comes to starting a brand. You have to accept that things may not always go as you planned and you have to be ok with that. You can not be shaken by every let-down and constantly be doubting yourself. You need to remain consistent and resilient, if you can't do this, you may have a hard time trying to build a brand.
I hope these steps will help you all take your brand to the next level! Look out for some more gems on my next post!