Establishing your business’s brand is much like taking a personality test. To many, a brand is just a name and a logo, but in reality, it’s so much more. Your brand is the way you communicate your company’s values and attributes. It’s your business’s personality, promise and reputation.
Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of branding.
Why is branding important?
Branding not only defines and increases the value of your business, but it also provides your employees with direction and motivation. That helps with acquiring new customers. A strong brand can affect your business in many positive ways, including:
As the face of your business, your brand makes every touchpoint more memorable to your customers. Professional branding is simple yet powerful enough to make a lasting impression for your business.
Higher trust from customers
When you appear professional, you build credibility and trust among your customers. When your business appears accomplished and legitimate, consumers are more likely to do business with you. A credible brand also increases your likelihood of gaining referrals and new customers. Word-of-mouth is the most profitable advertising source, and without a recognizable brand, you may be missing out.
Greater financial value
A strong brand often guarantees future business. The more valuable your brand, the better your financial return.
Passionate and inspired employees do the best work. When employees understand the brand mission, they’ll likely feel pride in working toward the shared goals your business sets. Picture your logo on a flag with your employees all rallying around. That’s what a strong brand looks like.
What are the key components of a brand?
Your brand should have a core focus that encompasses these elements:
- A mission statement. Your mission statement dictates how your business will act in a given situation.
- Core values. The brand values are the code your business lives by. All behaviors and performance should be measured by your list of core values.
- Promise. The brand promise expresses your brand’s essence in the simplest of terms. What is your unwavering promise to your customers?
- Personality. Your brand can take on actual human personality traits like warm, humorous, serious and so on. These traits should be carried out across all channels, from customer and employee interaction, to packaging and advertising.
It’s important to maintain a cohesive visual brand. Just like the UPS shield or the Adidas Trefoil logo, your visual identity should be simple yet widely recognizable. Your visual identity includes any or all of the following:
- Instructions on how and how not to use your logo
- Color palette
- Photography style
Just as maintaining a consistent visual identity is crucial, steady brand communication is also important. Brand communication is all about defining your audience and establishing a consistent voice to speak to your target audience. Who are your employees working to serve? What impression do you want to make on them?
How to establish a brand voice
The key to establishing your brand’s voice is consistency. Once you define who you want to be as a business, you must continue to build your brand through your employees, customers, prospects and partners. Here are four steps to take when establishing your brand’s voice:
1. Create a representative collection of your content
From advertising and social media, to your website and printed materials, take a critical look at all of your marketing content. Could any of these examples have come from one of your competitors? Your goal is to have a few examples that are unique to your brand.
2. Use three words to describe your brand
Work with your key content creators to review the best examples of your content. Discuss any common themes across those pieces. If your brand were a person, what words would you use to describe his or her personality? Try to avoid using broad traits by narrowing it down to specific words that set your business apart. Define them further to show how each characteristic comes across in the content you create.
3. Define your voice
Create a reference tool with a complete outline of your brand’s voice. This will help ensure your content creators consistently use the correct voice. Include your three primary characteristics followed by a description and how they should be incorporated into your brand strategy, including every piece of content you produce. Ensure your employees know how to put your voice into action. The reference tool will get everyone on board using the same tone and voice.
4. Continue to revisit and revise your brand’s voice
Establishing your brand’s voice doesn’t follow a “set it and forget it” method. Your brand messaging will evolve as your business grows and new competitors arrive on the scene. It’s a good idea to reconvene with your team on a quarterly basis to make any necessary updates to your brand voice documents. From time to time, you may find that your voice needs a bit of refreshing.
Your brand is the way the public perceives your business. No matter the size of your company, strong branding will help you to succeed.