Every business is different in the way it presents itself but all brands share the desire to communicate to their target audience how their product or service offers a solution to their pain points.
From logo, colour palette, and content to imagery and positioning, every element of your brand identity communicates something about who you are, what you stand for and what your customers can expect from you. Designing and implementing a clear brand identity is vital, therefore, to ensure your target audience recognises a business they want to engage with.
Here are five steps to creating and maintaining a strong brand.
Carry out a thorough audit to establish how your current branding is or isn’t contributing to your business strategy. The sole purpose of branding is to ensure you are reaching your target audience with the right message and positioning yourself in the market in a way that serves your business goals. This is a good opportunity to carry out some market research to understand your audience, their needs and how they currently perceive your brand, and to review your competitive position.
To establish a clear and credible identity, your brand must be underpinned by a well-defined USP (Unique Selling Point) – what do you offer that others don’t? Communicating what makes your products and services unique helps differentiate your value proposition and set you apart from your competition. Positioning yourself as an expert in your industry and highlighting your industry credentials and expertise will also give you authority and help you stand out.
Once you have defined who you are, what you stand for and what you want to communicate, all creative elements, from your logo, colour palette, and tone of voice to your social/web assets and merchandising materials need to reflect that. Your creative assets should tell a consistent brand story that will engage and resonate with your target audience and create a unique ‘look and feel’ that your customers will recognise and relate to.
Online and offline experiences of your brand will vary to some degree but consistency will strengthen your brand and overall business strategy. Whichever channels or media your prospective customers use, they should recognise the key elements of your brand and feel they are interacting with a single business. Whether engaging via your website, social media pages or at any other touchpoint in their journey with you, the experience should be consistent.
Branding is not a one off exercise and should not be set in stone. Processes need to be established to ensure assets and messaging keep pace as your market and customer evolve. Keep tabs on what makes your audience tick, stay in touch with their needs and refine your key messages and content accordingly. Undertake regular research to monitor your levels of brand awareness, understand how your brand is currently perceived and retune your identity and positioning.
Looking to refresh your brand identity? Get in touch to discover how our pre- and post-sales market research services can deliver up-to-date customer, market and competitor insight to feed your strategy.
For a handy checklist of our branding tips - download our infographic.