Time to pull this all together.
At this point, you understand what a brand is, why it’s important to own yours, and have a general idea how to take ownership.
That means it’s time to dive a bit deeper with some tips that can help guide you:
1. Know Your Market
When you developed your marketing strategy, you probably did things like auditing your existing efforts, performing SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, and defining your goals.
Somewhere in the process, we hope you invested time in creating buyer personas for your ideal customers or clients.
For the benefit of those who don’t know what we’re talking about here—and if that’s you, don’t feel badly (there are many others out there in the same boat)—a buyer persona is something you use to better understand your target market.
Your buyer personas help guide marketing efforts so that you can best reach the people you want to. And you should also use them in creating and maintaining your brand.
To illustrate this point, let’s say your target market skews on the older side. With that being the case, you should likely avoid branding that comes across as extreme or intense. You need to take that into consideration for your color schemes, logos, and the voice and tone used in your marketing content.
2. Be Original
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin (best-selling author and marketing authority)
Godin’s words ring truer today than ever—in no small part due to the internet and the myriad distractions it creates for basically everyone nowadays.
If you want your brand to stand out—and you absolutely, 100% do—then you need to make sure it’s original. Otherwise, people aren’t going to take note or remember it when seeking the products or services you provide!
Now, as you seek to create an original brand, be sure to take the previous point into strong consideration. This means you will probably need to strike a balance with creativity that isn’t completely over the top (unless that is part of your branding and it’s what your target market wants and expects).
3. Keep It Simple
Speaking of “creativity that isn’t completely over the top”:
Elaborate, complicated branding doesn’t work because the entire point of branding is to boil your company down to something that is easy to recognize. After all, the whole reason this even matters is because humans use brands to simplify things.
If you think about it, that should make sense. Our brains are constantly processing so much information (on both conscious and subconscious levels). With that being the case, anything that lessens the workload is viewed quite favorably.
(Related psychological note: When the brain processes information quickly and easily, it results in a positive feeling. Those feelings are often then misappropriated to the source—in this case, that’s your company!)
Another benefit to keeping your brand simple is that it makes everything easy to replicate, which ties in quite nicely with the next tip…
4. Be Consistent
You’ve taken the time and performed ample research to ensure that your brand is original and on point for your target market. On top of that, your messaging, visual elements, etc. are nice and simple.
At this point, you are somewhere in the “establishing, promoting, and maintaining” stages of your branding—and it’s incredibly important you are consistent.
Remember, people rely on your brand for instant recognition.
If something is off, you see the flipside of misappropriation. Instead of positive feelings being attributed to your company, negative ones are—and that’s clearly not what you’re aiming for.
So, how can you be consistent in your branding?
Well, one of the best tools you can use to ensure your voice, tone, colors, graphics, and all other marketing elements are congruent is a style guide.
Your brand’s style guide houses details and gives you someplace you can turn to when you need to remember the exact shade of blue to be used in a header or an approved tagline to promote a new product line.
5. Stay Active
Finally, successful branding needs to be maintained. Going through all the work entailed with creating, defining, and establishing your brand is a pointless endeavor if everything is just going to go off track anyhow.
Maintaining a brand isn’t a passive activity—you need to be vigilant and proactive.
What does that look like?
To start, it means that you are posting on social media platforms and blogging on a regular basis. You create valuable offers that appeal to your target market. And you use targeted email campaigns to be connected and solidify relationships.
Naturally, you will use consistent branding in all those kinds of endeavors. As you do, you strengthen your company’s brand with every piece of content generated.
More than that, your brand will keep reaching new potential customers and clients!