Does your marketing feel like it’s missing something? It may be that your brand needs to be tightened up a bit. Your brand is how your customers recognize your business. If it is fading into the background, you’re not going to attract much business.
Everyone’s brand starts out as a bit of a nebulous vibe or idea of what the business should look like. By the time your business is open and in operation, however, you should look towards strengthening your brand. Here are a few tips:
Take stock of your brand as it is now. Your brand audit should look at all the different elements that make up your business’s brand:
- Your brand values and mission
- Company culture
- Logo and slogan
- Advertising, both in print and digitally
- Social media presence
- Content marketing
- Customer experience
The brand audit will help you gain a sense of your brand’s strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Maybe you have a flashy mission statement, but so far, you’ve failed to follow through in execution. On the other hand, maybe you have great customer experience and company culture, but your brand values need to be fleshed out a little more. A brand audit will help you figure out the issue.
Your brand is a conversation starter. Just like any conversation starter, you need to understand your audience. What demographics do you market to? Who is most likely to respond? Your brand should be approachable and relevant to your audience. Conducting market research can help you understand how your target audience thinks and how you can better reach them with your brand.
Just like authors have a signature “voice” when they write their books, your brand should have a signature voice. It is that voice that gives your brand a personality, something that your audience can latch onto. Is it professional but compassionate? Light and fun? Knowledgeable and informative? Do some internal tests to see what fits your business best in terms of voice. But make sure that your voice is consistent throughout your marketing content.
Much of your brand is visual. It’s the logos, the color schemes, the web design and promotional images. If you opt for cheap graphics that look clumsy or amateurish, your brand will also look clumsy and amateurish. Don’t scrimp when it comes to design. Whether you have an in-house design team or you hire a contractor, make sure you continue to work at the visual elements of your brand until they meet a high standard of quality. You should want the finished product to be able to represent your business to the world.
Your audience will want to be able to know that your brand is reliable and trustworthy. If you make inconsistent statements or you promise something that you don’t deliver, that will harm your trustworthiness. That’s why it’s important to make sure everything in your brand lines up and stays consistent.
Additionally, your brand identity — often the visual elements of your brand — should be consistent with the way you view your business. Your customer service should be a true reflection of how you want your business to be viewed.
Rather than trying to be good at everything in your industry, find a niche where you truly excel and hone in on that. Make sure your marketing singles you out as a specialist in that particular niche. It may mean that your brand isn’t for everyone, but that’s rarely the case, anyway. However, this is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition. When someone needs a product or service within your specialized niche, they will know that they can come to you.
Sometimes the things that make a business stand out are the ways that business goes above and beyond for their customers.
For instance, a personal injury law firm that represents you in court and wins the settlement is great. A personal injury law firm that wins you a settlement and sends your son a card to wish him good luck on his first day back to school after the accident will stand out that much more. An online clothing store that offers a look at your environmentally conscious savings when shopping and especially fast shipping will stand out more than the average online clothing store.