“It’s a no brainer. I just don’t understand why it didn’t take off.” I hear this from clients from time to time. They have amazing concepts—interesting products that fill a critical gap in the marketplace, but they don’t get the buyers they anticipate. Why? The first place I look is their brand.
Branding is one of the most undervalued components of a solid business strategy. We can look at examples like Nicola Tesla, who was first to market with many amazing inventions but lacked the branding to get the traction he needed. Or even Xerox’ introduction of the GUI-based operating system, quickly overshadowed in the marketplace by Microsoft and Apple. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet when it comes to love, but in business your name, your image and your content strategy need to be on point. Read on for my three-step guide to kick starting your brand.
Step one: Define your target markets
There are two ways to begin with your target market: you can look at who currently uses your product or you can look at who you want to use your product. The first is the most common approach. By assessing your current buyer profile, you should be able to obtain both general demographic data (e.g. age, race, income, region, educational level, etc.) and even more detailed buyer interests and preferences (e.g. sports fans, stay-at-home mothers, online shoppers, etc.). From this information, you can build client profiles (personas) that will help you understand how to ensure your brand resonates with your market.
Assessing your current buyers is the best approach if you want to grow within your existing customer base. Sometimes there is a case to be made for targeting a different client base. For example, if your current product gained traction with a generation that has aged into a lower income bracket, you may want to think about targeting a new generation. In this instance, it is often helpful to start with a focus group to begin to profile the demographic your product would have the best traction with. Either way, a deep understanding of your target client is the foundation for building a strong brand presence.
Step two: Create a visual identity
You only have seven seconds to make a first impression in a face to face meeting. In print and digital assets, you have a nanosecond to capture attention, convey your message and bond with your target market. It is critical to create a visual identity that represents the relationship you’re trying to develop with your customer. The most commonly thought of aspect of your visual identity is your logo, but your visual identity actually encompasses far more than a single graphic. Your brand colors, fonts and elements all come together to evoke emotion (intended or not) in your prospects. In fact, 84.7% of consumers cite color as a primary reason they buy a particular product.
It may be tempting to cut corners when it comes to your visual identity, but while your niece in high school may have an eye for fashion and design, brand and logo design is best left to the pros. It is too important to your business to risk a logo that conveys the wrong message or has unintended design elements. Plus, you’re going to see your brand every day for a long time. It’s worth the investment to ensure it’s a brand worth keeping around.
Step 3: Go public
Finally, after all the research and creation of a solid brand that will resonate with your target audience, it’s time to shout your message to the world. Develop a website and other collateral articulating your company story to fully realize your brand. it’s important that your website has three critical elements: 1) an accurate, understandable product section that leads to an easy purchase, 2) visual appeal, and 3) mobile-friendly design. A good web designer and content writer will ensure you’re off to the races with search engine optimization and social reach as well.
Take it from me, small businesses who brand early find success much faster. Are you ready to put your best face forward with a solid brand strategy? Give me a call and let’s start working on your businesses brand today!