According to a recent survey, 8 out of 10 Canadians belong to a brand’s loyalty program. A proper branding strategy is one of the most important assets to have — from a non-profit to products, to businesses, to people. It can literally make or break your success.
Branding is not your website, logo, product, or service. It is what people say about you when you are not around. Your brand is your the feeling or perception that you create with your target market.
The problem is that it can be hard as a small business, you have to start unknown and compete against large recognizable brands that have huge budgets and dedicated followers.
You need to know clearly how to build a brand and execute a proper branding strategy in order for people to trust you and your brand, no matter what it is that you are branding.
Look no further, because we have all the information here on how to brand anything effectively, build trust and achieve your goals. Read on!
What Is a Branding Strategy?
A brand strategy is a detailed, strategic plan that incorporates long-term goals that are achieved as your brand evolves. Whether it is branding an idea, business, yourself or a charity, you need a well thought out branding strategy!
This includes and affects all aspects of your idea, and connects with the audience’s wants, needs, emotions, and environment. If you are branding a charity, for example, you need to connect with people who have similar emotions towards your cause.
As said above, your brand is not your logo, nor your website, your products, causes, services, or even name. Your brand is the feeling that other people get before, during, and after their interaction with your brand.
Your brand is not a to-do list, it is what people are saying about you when you are not around!
Identify The Three Core Components
These three core components will become the blueprint of your brand building and help you stay focused as your ideas evolve.
Without this, your brand will have a hard time surviving. Avoid talking about anything or posting anything that does not have to do with your ultimate branding vision.
When posting anything to the public, first think to yourself these important questions:
- Does this align with my message?
- What does this mean for my company/charity/cause/idea?
- Wil this confuse anyone, or discourage them from interacting with my brand?
Making sure that your message is consistent with all your branded communications will ignite loyalty within your audience and will begin relationships.
Every brand makes a promise, but it is the purpose that your brand declares that will really grasp the attention and loyalty of your prospective audiences.
Knowing your “why” is so much more meaningful to the audience. This is a message from your heart to others about what gets you out of bed to share this idea and this passion with the world.
When your audience knows and relates to your purpose, they will feel an instant connection to you and your brand.
Your brand will be observed in a few different dimensions, and understanding these will help you really express the core of your brand in a way that customers recognize.
Intentional: relates success to your ability to do good for the world and the money you get from that intention is a by-product. This can set your brand apart from others in the same industry.
This is a big focus for those who are branding their charity or cause.
Functional: relates success to how much money or attention your brand is making, focused on a financial objective in mind.
If you are branding a travel destination, think of how many new tourists you want to attract each year, what revenue that tourism will generate each year, and all other aspects of tracking tourism results.
If you need inspiration, do some competitor research and check out the other brands that you admire.
Emotion breeds connection, and creating a brand strategy will help you nurture that emotion. When you draw in emotion, you can effectively brand anything.
In order to do that, you need to know exactly who your target audience is. Some examples would be:
- Single mom’s ages 25-35 who work from home.
- College students working and studying overseas.
- 50-year-old men, going through a midlife crisis.
- Seniors who want to travel more, but are too afraid.
- People suffering from arthritis, as your product makes it easier to open jars and do daily tasks without pain.
The objective is to understand their behaviours, lifestyles, and needs. This will help to create an emotional with your audience.
People have an innate desire to be understood and belong to something greater than themselves. This is what leads to making irrational, emotionally-based decisions, such as someone selling everything they own and co-running an animal sanctuary on the other side of the world, or starting up a charity providing dental work for less priveleged people in their community.
Incorporating the psychological need to feel connected and belong, which is on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, establishes a connection with others so strong that nothing will break their loyalty.
You now understand the importance of developing loyal customers, but the most important part to understand is that you have to show your appreciation for that loyalty.
Some people will go out of their way and become self-made brand ambassadors for you. Think of a brand you absolutely love. How do you talk about that brand to others? Do you find yourself convincing other people to switch to that brand as well?
We want nothing more than to feel appreciated, so do something to express your appreciation for a customer’s loyalty. A handwritten thank-you note, a swag bag, and a shout out on social media are all ways to show your gratitude.
Do you know who your competition is? Since you share a similar target market, you need to have a good awareness of who you are up against. Have a good, hard look at your competition, and notice what they are doing right, as well as what they are doing wrong.
Implement their successful traits into your own brand, and learn from their mistakes. This is also a great chance to learn what makes you different than your competitors, the more unique you are, the more you stand out from the crowd.
After you finish branding your idea, charity, product or business, understand that this is not set in stone! In brand building, you will encounter times where you need to tweak your brand. Understand this, and accept those times where you need to make adjustments.
Learn More About Branding Your Ideas Today!
If this article struck a chord with you, realizing that you need to adjust your branding strategy, do not worry!
Re-branding is very common, and we are here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time, and we would be happy to assist you with your branding strategy to help your brand make a splash in your market!