It’s one of the biggest challenges that start-up businesses face. You have a strong business plan and have identified the need for your product or service within the market, but how do you go about finding that route to market and creating a brand that will not only appeal to customers, but be trusted and relevant? Helen Andrews, account director at RizkMcCay, shares her thoughts…
Firstly, it is important to understand what a brand is. A brand can be described as the whole package. It tells the story of a product or company’s attributes: its name, packaging, price, history, reputation and the way in which it is marketed all rolled into one.
There are certain crucial steps you must take when establishing and building your brand to ensure it withstands both competition and the test of time.
Refine your offering
It is crucial to the success of any business to have an accurate understanding of your customers when starting out. To refine your service or product and provide them with exactly what they need, you must understand their pain points, needs and desires. It is only by knowing who your target market is that you will be in a position to define your brand.
Authenticity of content is one of the most influential factors for turning customers into loyal followers or a brand advocates. Your purpose needs to be more than simply making a profit, you need to show how your product/service benefits customers – and this differentiating purpose is likely to be your USP.
Define your brand values
At this point ask yourself, if my brand was a person, what traits would it have? Identifying your company’s personality will help create the assets you need such as logos, marketing collateral and that all important tone of voice to reflect your brand accurately.
Once you have developed your brand, make sure you use your carefully designed identity consistently across all channels, whether they are print or digital by producing a clear set of brand guidelines. There’s lots of advice and guidance out there on creating brand guidelines but this will ensure your brand is always consistent.
Practice what you preach
Building a brand for your company that will stand the test of time is not just about the visual elements. It is also about what happens after the creation of any assets – your marketing strategy.
Deliver your brand and make sure that your messaging is consistent throughout all of your communications. Over time your company and even your services or products may change, which is fine as long as you stay true to the core elements of your brand. Don’t lose site of the values you were aiming for when you began and, most importantly, the needs of your customers.
Consistently delivering positive and memorable experiences for your customers is important not just to keep business flowing, but to build your brand by growing a positive reputation. 60% of people expect to have consistent experiences when dealing with brands via any point of contact, whether this is in person or digitally.
A solid brand building process is vital for business success. If you still doubt the value a well-thought out brand can give to a company, remember that in 2014 the Coca-Cola brand name accounted for more than 54% of the company’s stock market value – just one of many brands that have stood the test of time.
Helen Andrews is a director at RizkMcCay, a creative design and strategic marketing agency
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