In order for businesses to last the distance in this digital day and age, it’s crucial to have a strong brand.
There has never been a more important time for companies to establish clear brand and communication strategies that not only inform their marketing but also every aspect of their business.
WHY IS BRANDING SO IMPORTANT?
But why is this important when anyone with a social media account has the potential to reach their target market with a simple click of a button?
One word – attention.
Surviving in business in this digital landscape is all about attention.
From the moment we wake up we’re bombarded with messages. They come from our phones, our watches, our media, our computer screens, our entertainment and pretty much every single touchpoint in our lives.
What a great opportunity for marketers right? You can literally get inside every aspect of a human being’s life from dusk till dawn.
Accept what we know is, the human brain was not designed to receive an endless stream of messaging that does not turn off.
The impact on the brain is sensory-overload. Beyond a certain point, the brain refuses to take in new information.
The mind is a sponge that can only absorb so much.
It will only accept information that it’s already aligned to and will filter the rest out.
People see what they expect to see and very little mind-changing takes place.
Flooding the market with endless information or trying to be everything to everyone is simply contributing to the noise.
The result is your message will fall on deaf ears regardless of how many videos you’re posting on Facebook or what budget you have for ad spend.
So, what’s the solution?
Good branding is what helps customers simplify choice in this noisy messy world of messaging.
Having a strong brand strategy means you can consciously and confidently communicate the right message to the right people on the right platforms in the right way, giving you much higher levels of cut-through and return on your advertising dollar.
People base their relationships on trust, and this is no different from the relationships that consumers have with brands.
Building strong and long-lasting relationships start with humanising your company in a way that demonstrates the value that can actually help, impact or change the lives of your customers in a way they’ll never forget.
This is about documenting the most important elements of your brand to create a narrative for your company that can be used across every touchpoint. A narrative of course that connects and compels with your target audience.
It’s about getting your core brand message solid and then using every opportunity humanly possible to communicate it because good branding is about consistency and frequency.
You will become bored with your messaging long before a prospect has even heard it, let alone have it fully sink in.
Branding is an intricate process.
It’s part logic, part emotion and if you’re good enough, the place in which you reside in the hearts and minds of customers.
I like to look at a brand as a living entity because it has so many traits that are similar to humans.
For instance, a couple going on a date for the first time want to take all the good parts of their personality and put it on show in an attempt to win each other over if they feel they’re a match.
A brand is no different, but instead of a potential mate, it’s trying to win over the hearts of customers.
Therefore, it’s got to have a shining personality, be unique in some way, demonstrate value, put the customer at ease and gain high levels of trust in order to continue the relationship.
Now, just as people are repelled when humans are scattered, needy and unsure of themselves, the same can be true for brands. Therefore, the better a brand knows itself, the better it will be able to demonstrate its value.
We can drill further down on this by building brand architecture which forms a large part of your brand strategy. The idea is to do this after you’ve established your brand positioning which I have written about here.
The following components are just a few areas you can establish to help put the core essence of your brand together.
Your company’s reason for being
The values that guide every aspect of your business
The key cultural aspects of your business that are crucial for employee engagement and team spirit which is felt internally and out into the world.
A list of the key feelings you want your customers to feel. For example, American Express is more than just a credit card – it signifies status and wealth among users. Apple drives connection and Nike empowers people to feel like champions.
A few sentences on why the world will be different because of you.
Who you are and why you matter summed up in the short space of an elevator ride.
Key traits of your brand’s personality.
What are the core drivers that motivate your company?
Once the promise is made it should never be broken. It’s not something you need to tell your prospects and customers but it’s something they should feel.
Tone of voice
A universal guideline on how your company wishes to communicate internally and externally.
The key phrases that are often used within your organisation that reinforce your narrative – for instance ‘zero calories’ or ‘what you see is what you get’ or in our case, ‘we build businesses from the brand up’.
The single word or phrase that sums up the essence of your brand perfectly.
Once you have a grasp on your positioning and the building blocks of your brand architecture you can roll it out across your visual identity. This is asking yourself – does our current visual identity represent who we are or who we want to be? How do customers feel when they see our brand? What areas do we need to adjust to being more in line with our brand goals and strategy? This new information could easily dictate if changes are required.
Those are just SOME of the brand architecture components we like to include in a brand strategy.
Along with your positioning, once you’ve documented these core elements you can start building your narrative and core messages.
Based on your positioning and brand architecture you’ll now understand what sets you apart from your competition, you’ll know exactly who you need to target and how. You’ll have a clear idea on how you want them to feel and you will also know all the great ways in which you can add value to their lives – this forms the start of a great brand strategy.