A brand is a set of ideas, values , and concepts behind a specific mission, company, product, or service. Imagine that you want to buy a car; a flurry of options will undoubtedly pop into your brain.
You will most likely put some thought into the type of vehicle you will need based on personal needs. Without much thought, specific brands will inevitably populate your subconscious. The brands you think of most likely meet your needs and reflect ideals; for example, if you're a responsible consumer concerned with the environment, you will undoubtedly want a car that does not generate high emissions, thus reducing pollution.
Perhaps the name of Tesla comes to mind. Yes, it is a brand that offers security and trust, with an environmentalist and modern concept of promoting sustainable energy development. Think about each of the brands you know and what they represent.
How do you feel when you see the logo of one of these brands? What message does it convey? Does it fit the product it offers?
Brands influence style, trends, identify criteria, offer possibilities, define a sector or push cultural movements. A brand represents what a company, product, person, or group of people promote and defend.
1 - First Things to Consider When Marketing Your Brand
Define the purpose
Why have you created this brand?
Let's be direct; you have not invented something useless that nobody needs (let's hope so). You have created a product, a group of useful, necessary, or attractive solutions that you want to share with the rest of the world and benefit monetarily from such exposure.
Indeed you feel passion for what you do (otherwise, you won't get far), its essential to add a bit of your DNA to the brand as this gives it a unique identity not seen in other brands. To founders, companies represent their babies, and injecting a bit of yourself into the company only fortifies this notion.
Know your mission. Create a "Mission Statement" and put it on a frame if you need to. What does your brand stand for? Returning to the example of Tesla, it is a brand created to radically change car manufacturing and the way we drive them with the sole mission of creating a cleaner planet.
Tesla has a noble cause, protecting the environment by using renewable energy, yet they also offer quality, exclusivity, luxury, and comfort.
Once you have identified your brand's purpose, you can begin to flesh out a personality through which it becomes recognizable to consumers.
With a mission statement in hand, you can embark on the path of a bigger purpose and incidentally increase your products' sales (consumers like companies that stand for something).
Creating Your Businesses Tagline
Below are the things you should consider when crafting a tagline for your company.
When defining your story/tagline - think about what's in it for the customer. As customers, we want to know the value the brand presents, not how many years of experience the provider brings to the table.
Think Product Value
If a customer asks what your company does? Is the response customer-focused? Does it define the value a customer receives?
Defining your narrative
Functional Need vs. Emotional Need
Creating a value statement
Who have you created this brand for?
We could get distracted with technical words and talk about a niche, field study, and marketing, but that would only complicate things, and we want to stay simple.
For now, all you need to figure out is who benefits from your products, who needs them, or who, without requiring them, would want them because they are simply irresistible.
A person who sells chocolates would have a hard time selling to people with diabetes (unless, of course, he makes chocolates for diabetics). With cars, the range of consumers is vast, except minors, almost everyone drives; the challenge would be to create categories within the group. A large family would surely opt for a family car, whereas a younger consumer might prefer a sports car, and a college student might be in the market for a used car.
Having a clear picture of your ideal customer makes things a heck of a lot easier.
2 – Specialize
Have you heard the saying "One who covers plenty, squeezes little"?
In other words, don't stretch yourself too thin; focus on becoming the master of your domain.
If you apply this popular proverb within your field, you will see good results. When you specialize, you generate confidence among consumers while strengthening the perception of expertise within a given sector.
What comes to mind when you think of Nike? Sneakers! This successful brand has specialized for years in sports products, providing quality and even proclaiming that the Nike brand will contribute to victory. If you know anything about athletes, you know the importance of winning, so credit to Nike for playing to an athlete's obsessions with the almighty "W."
Fun fact: Inspiration for the Nike (Swoosh) logo came from the wings of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.
Modifying Delphi's oracle's old phrase: Man know yourself, we suggest this new version: Entrepreneur knows your trade well, and you will become the most petitioned expert.
3 - Give Your Brand Some Personality
Regardless of the product or service, you're offering, the goal is to engage people. Many entrepreneurs have a reoccurring problem - a message that's too polished, unintelligible with far-fetched concepts, or overly "serious," so it becomes inaccessible.
In this case, we recommend that you add a touch of emotion to your messaging, depending on the type of reaction you're looking to generate. Still, ultimately your brand's voice should be identifiable to people.
A brand that resonates leads to growth in its consumer base and more importantly a strong presence of brand advocates.
How do you create empathy for your brand?
Generating emotions is vital; creating an idea of comfort, nostalgia, or fun should be your brand's goal. It is best to produce positive emotions (fear also works, but beware of how you use it).
Allstate is an excellent example of using fear successfully. Their commercials employ dark, witty comedy. Indeed you've seen them play to the fear of uncertainty, the what-ifs? And guess what, if a what if, were to happen, Allstate has got your back. See Below.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have State Farm, which assumes the role of a friend, a guide, a great neighbor. Both examples show how opposite strategies can work effectively if applied with tact.
Tap into the Recognizable
Use topics from everyday life and ordinary situations in which anyone could find themselves.
Use simple language, do not complicate yourself with elaborate words unless necessary. Let your consumers know the human side of your brand.
4 - Make Use of Technology
We are in the digital age; the internet has leveled the playing field, so take advantage of every resource. Anyone can launch a startup.
What had been inaccessible is now available to all, such as building a website and promoting a brand. While labor-intensive, creating your site and promoting your offerings on the social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) is a luxury that did NOT exist just a few years back.
Now for the bad, because everyone can now do it, everyone is doing it. The internet is polluted with low-quality content, so separating yourself from the noise requires attention to detail and large amounts of effort. In many cases, you'd be wise to delegate your weaknesses and
double down on your strength.
Get Help from Professionals
Somethings require the aid of a professional. Don't dive into WordPress hoping to code a site that requires specific functionality and "User Logic" unless you're a coder by trade—it won't work. You will burn up hours on tasks you don't do well. What's worse, the site won't be functional, and remember, if you deliver a bad experience for your users, you won't be in business for very long.
While we love the idea of rolling up our sleeves, we can't condone it at the cost of a bad brand image, so seeking professional help in certain situations is the way to go.
When producing content, avoid home videos; a properly shot video, good editing, and the right script can be a powerful weapon to make yourself known and respected.
We consider all digital promotion forms valid; it is the universal language of the current era, but remember, create straightforward, understandable, engaging, and dynamic content. (always consistent with the ideals and values of your brand).
Research and pinpoint where your audience gathers. You don't have to use all the networks simultaneously; use those that make sense based on your goals and maintain your presence on these lucrative networks while avoiding those that don't bring a substantial return-on-investment (ROI). And yes, time is a MAJOR investment.
Consistency is a crucial factor - out of sight, out of mind.
You won't get traction in a week; heck, months of labor are sometimes not enough, but don't get discouraged; the only way you give yourself a chance is by sticking with it.
5 - Advertising on Radio & Television
This method will be complicated for most startups as, initially, advertising budgets are anemic. Nonetheless, while some marketers say it's an advertising strategy currently on life-support, we know it can still deliver exceptional results and something equally powerful—Street Cred.
While it's true that plenty of marketing budgets are setting their sights online, we've seen companies work TV into their strategy with success.
It goes back to knowing where your customers gather. There's a nitch still hooked on TV, for example, the elderly. So how smart would it be if you could score some underpriced attention by advertising on the medium (TV/Radio) that best suits your customer demographic?
Here is another bit of info TV/Radio ads are getting cheaper. They feel the heat; they see those marketing dollars jumping on the social media bandwagon.
The presence on television provides your brand with authenticity and authority. Are these things crucial to your success? well, they certainly won't hurt.
6 - Spread the word
Word of mouth - the oldest form of promotion is customer referrals.
If you want to make yourself known, start with your closest circle, tell them about your product or service, if possible, offer a free sample. Once someone knows your brand and has a positive experience, they will surely recommend your product or services to other consumers.
7 - Collaborations between professionals
Although there is indeed competition in business, the healthiest recommendation is: forget about it, that is, focus on learning from the best and on perfecting your craft through collaborations with professionals who have similar offerings or who contribute something to your mission.
For example, suppose you have a physical therapy clinic. In that case, you could create a strategic partnership with a holistic therapist; both services are related and add value for the customer. It is one of the smartest ways to grow, gain authority and make life easier for customers.
The strategy also applies online.
If you have a well-positioned website, you can cross-link to other related sites. The strategy works much like a friend referring a customer to you in-fact; these links are called referral links.
Keep in mind; these links are effective and great for SEO only when sites with related content are cross-linking. If not, it will create a bad user experience and hurt your SEO efforts.
Google will not reward black-hat SEO schemes, and we advise you to stay off Google's bad side.
8 - Create an affiliate or subscription program
Affiliate/subscription programs are tremendously useful for your brand and customers; it is a win-win situation.
Offer discounts or benefits for affiliation, and you will see how your client list grows.
Whatever you want to name it: loyalty, subscription, or flat-out membership program, this strategy helps keep your customers active through offers, contests, or occasional gifts.
A membership program opens the door to email marketing.
Email marketing is an excellent promotional tool that, sadly, most small companies don't use enough. Guess who uses email marketing religiously?
Do you know why? Because it WORKS. Go ahead check your inbox; we bet it's filled with offers and specials. Obviously, we don't bite on every offer sent our way, but most consumers convert on these email campaigns enough to warrant the expense of using them tenfold.
Remember to be mindful when running email campaigns.
No one wants their inbox bombarded with junk, so ensure the emails you send are personalized and contain either valuable information or an irresistible offer.
9 - Protect Your Brands Reputation
When the job is well done, the products or services practically sell themselves. Transparency goes a long way, especially in the business world. People love to buy but don't like being sold.
Let go of hidden agendas. Open up responsibly and let the world in on what you have to offer. Reveal the passion behind the work, behind the brand; in time, authority in the marketplace will build in your favor.
Stop your search for the elusive magic bullet. Rome, as you know, was not built in a day. Beware of getting involved in ill-advised schemes to speed the growth process; 95% of the time, these schemes set you back.
If you offer a product, make sure you have reasonable quality control. If you provide a service, ensure to deliver a personalized experience (customers appreciate feeling special).
Love your customers, and they'll love you back.
Don't skimp on courtesy and kindness. Treat your customers right and make "customer satisfaction" part of your company’s culture. It worked for Amazon.
We know of no marketing systems that deliver better results than happy customers.
10 - Optimize Your Brand + Adapt to The Times
Think of brands that have seen the passing of generations throughout history.
A monumental example would be Coca-Cola; its served refreshing drinks since 1892 (that's a long time).
So what makes Coca-Cola differentiator? How do they succeed year after year? We have an inkling it's the way they advertise the brand.
While Coca-Cola's product is indeed soft drinks, that's not what they advertise. Peel through a few layers, and you'll find Coca-Cola's advertising focuses on emotions.
Coca-Cola sells experiences, moments, and unforgettable experiences. The brand is associated with success and happiness; check out some of their famous slogans, "life has flavor," "Savor the
feeling," "uncover happiness," those are all great examples of on-brand messaging.
Don't Forget to Add Passion to The Mix
Part of running a successful company is having a passion for the work. We're not suggesting you become a workaholic but loving what you do alleviates the hardship of going the extra mile when an extra mile is needed. Trust us; extra miles are frequently required.
Focusing on what matters allows you to perfect your craft while maintaining order and balance. Plan your hours strategically, use a calendar to structure your days.
Using and keeping track of a calendar keeps you accountable.
Superstar entrepreneurs maximize their 24 hrs. while the inefficient never have enough time to get things done.
We're Strong Because Were Adaptable
Adapt to the times; successful companies reinvent themselves regularly. The only way to survive is to evolve. While it's hard to fathom change when things are working, the truth is it's inevitable. Just ask Blockbuster. New trends will sneak up on you if you don't keep an ear to the street and vision of the future.
Invest a portion of your time looking for ways to improve, innovate or ride a wave of technology.
There is no guarantee that what works today will work tomorrow, and that's a good thing; otherwise, we wouldn't have much progress if everything stayed the same.
Nobody likes the idea of obsolescence, so keep your brand fresh and new.
Sometimes change is forced upon us.
Nike is an excellent example of resilience. With the arrival of a global pandemic (COVID-19), the industrial giant had to "make adjustments" in its sales strategy and pivot predominantly towards digital sales, offering larger discounts targeted at women and children.
Many brands, large and small, have put to use their chameleon skills to adapt to this new era's temperature, but if you are creative enough, keep an open and passionate mind, we are sure that your brand will survive many winters.