If you are a small business owner, you should be aware that the key to growing your business is to create a solid brand. Instead of simply concentrating on day-to-day sales, it is imperative to create a story to help your target audience connect with your business.
While you may have a hit product one day, creating a strong brand identity will help you maintain customer loyalty after the product’s life cycle has ended. Today’s customers are different than ever before; they aren’t as interested in shopping at random retailers, but want to build connections with business they know and trust.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a mix between “psychology and science brought together as a promise … Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience,” according to Forbes.com.
A brand identity consists of many different factors, such as a company name, logo, slogan, marketing materials, as well as all the actions you conduct on a daily basis.
What Are the Three Basic Steps to Creating a Brand?
Concentrate on Your Audience
The first step to creating a brand identity is determining who your potential clients will be; this group is your target audience. Before trying to connect with these individuals, you need to figure out who they are – their age group, location, gender, marital status, shopping trends, income, hobbies, etc. The more you know about your main customer base, the easier it will be to create a strategy to market to them.
For example, if you are developing a software to help retirees manage their retirement income, your messaging should not be as “techy” as if you would be targeting millennials. Knowing your target audience provides you with a blueprint for crafting your identity in the most strategic way to engage with your customers.
Research the Competition
In order to stay relevant in your niche market, you need to stay ahead of the competition. The way to do that is to research your competitors when creating a brand image, and continue that research on a regular basis.
It is beneficial to know who the other players in your industry are, and how they are crafting their message. In order to create a strong brand identity, you need to be able to separate yourself from competing businesses, which is why you need to know everything you can about them.
Make note of how your competitors design their websites, what products or services they sell, how they write their offering descriptions, how they market themselves, etc. If you find a problem that none of your competitors have solved yet, that will be your ticket to establishing your identity in that space.
Once you determine your target audience and research the competition, it’s time to craft your brand identity. The secret to this process is to stay consistent in all the messaging you put out about your business.
Consider Target’s clever branding – all of their advertisements, online, on TV and in store – have white backgrounds, bright colors, simple designs and their red and white logo.
Having a consistent brand identity makes it “so synonymous with your product experience that when a consumer sees your signature brand logo they are already thinking about making their next purchase from you without you even having to ask,” according to a source.
When customers feel they can rely on your company to be consistent, they are able to form emotional relationships with your business, which leads to long-term clients and a successful business!