5 Steps to Building a Strong Brand
By Pat Simes
Branding has an enormous impact on every aspect of your business. Whether you’re just getting started creating a brand identity or you’re in the process of rebranding because of changes in the market, you need to spend some time clarifying the messaging you want to create and deciding how to implement it. Here are the 6 steps for creating a strong brand.
1. Create a Branding Strategy - Your branding strategy clarifies which direction your branding should go. It means creating your messaging with an eye toward the future of your business. This step in the process starts with identifying your business goals and how your brand fits into them. How does it help you to achieve them?
2. Research Your Market - Before you start making any major decisions, you need to understand where your business fits into the market and the position it plays in the minds of your audience. Research needs to be conducted in a few key areas.
Your Target Market. You need to create a detailed customer profile and identify the needs that your offerings fulfill for your audience. You also need to understand how your audience sees you, since “brand” is essentially an image that exists in their mind.
Your Products and Services. Branding revolves around a promise you make to your audience. What is your promise? What need does your offering speak to and how does it uniquely solve the problems of your target market? People will love your brand because of its uniqueness.
3. Create Your Messaging and Unique Value Proposition - Now that you know the market and your position in it, create a message that explains to your audience how you uniquely fulfill their needs. This message in some form will be conveyed through everything you do and at every touchpoint with your audience.
This message should focus on the customer and the benefits your offering provides them. How does using your products make the customer’s life better? It should emphasize what sets you apart from other, similar businesses.
4. Create a Branding Plan - Now, choose the personality, tone, and design elements that will help to convey this message to your audience. Your planning should include where you will communicate with your market and what content you will offer them. For branding to work, everything should be consistent and in harmony with the message you outlined in the previous step.
5. Implement Your Brand Identity - The process of branding is never truly finished. Once you implement it, you’ll need to monitor and keep gathering feedback from your market to make sure the message is hitting home.
From time to time, you’ll also need to consider rebranding. Companies re-brand when there are significant changes in the market, changes in their company, or a new segment of the market they need to target. In order to keep up to date with these changes, they have to tweak or overhaul their branding so that it will achieve their new goals.
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