Here are nine essential focus points to think about when developing your brand.
Discovering your target audience should be the first step to branding. Your target audience is the group of customers who you want to buy your product. It would be naive in assuming that everyone wants your product right now, unless of course it is an essential need – we’ve seen this recently with the crazy toilet paper debacle.
When deciding on your target audience you may consider the groups age, gender, location, language, religion, interests, financial status, goals and personal challenges. Ask yourself: who will really want/need this product or service, why would they purchase it, and how will I deliver it to them?
Once you have decided on your target audience you will need to work on their trust, engagement and awareness of your brand as it doesn’t just come overnight. It is absolutely essential to shape your branding around your target audience as this will eventually lead to revenue.
The values you would like to acknowledge as an organisation are vital for your brand’s public identity, image and purpose. It is essential that a brand describes its unique values – that is, those that aren’t valued by the majority of similar brands or businesses. That isn’t to say that you can’t have the same values as other brands, but that unique values in addition to broad values will make your brand stand out.
For example an organic skin care brand will likely value skin health, nutrition, hygiene, organic ingredients and helping to change lives, just as many other organic skincare companies do. However, they may also value sustainability by donating a percentage of their profits to a charity that plants trees, or race equality where they might donate skincare products to citizens in developing countries. These unique values enhance the lives of others and are likely to set a brand apart from other brands.
A brand’s values will assist potential customers to choose whether or not they want to purchase from the company in the future. For this reason, highlighting the values and benefits that are unique to your brand will put you ahead of the game.
Developing a product or service and creating a brand for it can often lead you wondering, ”why have I done this?” This may be the result of the many tiring hours of thinking and hard work that goes into creating a business from scratch. Or it could be that you are developing a brand around the product or service and you need to start thinking about what needs to be addressed, who you are selling it to, what market you are in and what is the purpose of the product? Thinking about the answer to “why have I done this” will enable you to write a mission statement which will explain exactly that.
So what is a mission statement? It is a clear, written statement about your business purpose, goals, passions and values. A mission statement adds value to your brand by communicating these important factors about your brand to the public. It ties together your value proposition, business culture, logo, imagery, brand voice, vision for the future and your brand manifesto. Basically, it will tell your target audience who you are as an organisation and why they should value your brand.
The language and style of communication you choose to get a message across to your target audience is referred to as your Brand Voice. How would your brand sound if it spoke aloud or how would it sound on paper? Would it use formal or informal language, emojis, neutral or positive phrases and cheeky or conservative messaging? This shouldn’t be randomly chosen either, in fact, you should very carefully consider who your target audience is and how they would like to be spoken to.
Your brand voice is a major element of your brand and the key is to keep it consistent across all segments of your branding including your website, blogs, flyers, social media pages, advertising and packaging.
While packaging is a protective and practical function of a physical product, it also gives you the opportunity to promote your brand through creative design by adding logos, textures, imagery, colours and product/brand information. Engaging packaging that tells your brand’s story and values will likely catch the customer’s attention. For example, sustainable packaging is becoming more and more popular with consumers who want to lessen their impact on the environment. Adding a link to your website as well as your contact details, logo and tagline may result in future leads for your business.
Your social media platforms are the perfect assets to your brand. Social media including Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram can be used to promote and publicise your brand. Your brand logo should always be the profile photo for your social media business pages, to simply make your brand instantly recognisable. As for “Tweets” or captions for photos, these should tie in with your brand voice. Social media platforms are an affordable and effective way to reflect your brand, especially through the use of product imagery, testimonials, informative posts and links to your website.
Branding and websites go hand in hand. In this modern world of technology, a website is critical for the success of the majority of businesses. A website is there to present your brand and tell your story, when a customer has limited access to your shopfront – or when you simply don’t have a shopfront. Sure, you may have social media but when a customer wants to find out further details about your brand and what it has to offer, a website is essential.
Your brand’s colour palette, logo, imagery and various fonts should 100% be displayed on your website. After all, it seems a little ridiculous to use alternative branding to your packaging, social media and advertising, for your website. Your brand voice should also be concise with your branding guidelines. This includes your headings, web copy and any Call to Actions.
Customer service is the support you provide at all stages of the consumer decision making process from their recognition of a need (your brand’s product or service) right through to their post purchase behaviour. Customer satisfaction is the forefront of your business. Once they have made a purchase, your job isn’t quite done. Great customer service will convince a customer to return in the future.
Your brand can only be successful if your employees apply themselves by putting your brand to work. Ensure that your sales and customer service employees know your brand voice, tag-lines and branding guidelines and more importantly, use them when they are communicating with customers and clients whether they are managing customer complaints, appraisals or enquiries.
Advertising introduces your business to the public eye with the aim to persuade new and existing customers to buy your product or service and engage with your brand. Therefore, it is essential that advertisements should correspond with your branding. Once you have established your branding and have an attractive and consistent style guide, the advertising process will be made easy, whether it is for a digital or print advertisement. It is essential that you write copy that delivers a striking message and matches your branding, including various images, fonts, colours, tone of voice and your business logo. Advertisements introduce your business to potential customers.