Tips for Developing Strong Branding to Help Your Business Stand Out
People today are constantly bombarded with messages, offers, and flashy graphics in an attempt to be attention-grabbing. As attention spans continue to dwindle, more people are caring less about what you have to offer. Simply put, competition is fierce, and markets are bigger than ever. This means more people are testing more products and services, and either promoting the ones they like or bashing the ones they don’t. Because of this, developing a strong brand identity to help elicit trust from consumers is now more critical than ever. Branding has seen little attention in the last decade, especially with the rise of direct-response advertising online (lead generation campaigns). But branding among SMBs seems to be making a comeback as more and more companies are seeing faster growth as they gain popularity in their market segment. That being said, let’s explore a bit more about brand identity and why you should be paying more attention to it.
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Why Is Brand Identity So Important?
The short answer here is trust. The differentiator that has the most impact between your company and the competition getting the sale may not be the type of material it’s made of, the delivery of the service you provide, or even the fact that you have the best customer service on the planet. It could just be as simple as trust. If you aren’t as trusted as the other brand, you may be losing out on a bigger portion of the pie. Trust is built online through various forms of contact between you and your potential customer. You need to make sure that on top of the quality content your company puts out, you are also staying top-of-mind when they are finally ready to perform the transaction. Having strong, easily identifiable branding helps to establish a sense of trust between your brand and the consumer and build a foundation for long-lasting relationships. Without a strong brand identity to lead your marketing efforts, generating this trust can become difficult to do.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
If you are struggling to develop your own unique, strong brand identity, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get the ball rolling.
- 1. What Makes Your Business Different from Others?
- 2. What are Your Most Prized Products/Service/Attribute?
- 3. What is Your ‘X-Factor’?
- 4. What Are You the Expert On?
What Will Make Your Brand Stand Out?
While drawing inspiration from other successful brands can be tempting, it’s important to remember that when you attempt to copy a competitor, your branding will not be unique to your own company. Plus, why should a consumer be convinced to choose your brand over another when your branding is not unique and compelling?
A little humanity goes a long way, and customers appreciate feeling like they mean more to your business than just a number. Successful brands aren’t afraid to show some personality in their messaging and communicate with customers the same way they would with a friend. This also extends to customer service emails, marketing materials, and social media responses.
The strongest brands are those who have a solid understanding of their target audiences and are able to convey this through relevant messaging targeted towards that particular niche. This helps you to better connect with your audience.
High risk equals high reward, especially when it comes to your branding. And while experimenting with new techniques or taking a particular stance on controversial industry issue has the potential to alienate part of your audience, these risks can also encourage more loyalty and respect from longstanding customers. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about being perceived as boring or just like any other brand.
Consistency has the power to either make or break your brand identity. Just look at Google, they drastically evolved their identity over the years, but you’ll notice they put a lot of emphasis on consistency throughout the process. Effective branding means maintaining certain design elements throughout every area of a business – including both print and digital marketing material. This consistency helps create a solid, harmonious brand identity that consumers are able to recognize instantly.
It doesn’t matter how appealing your branding and messaging is if your audience has no way of seeing it. Without any way to actually find your brand, consumers will have no way to respond or interact with it in any way. While some customers will continue to find your business through organic searches and other inbound routes, making your brand as visible as possible is critical to its success. Some examples of ways you can diversify your strategy to get your brand noticed by a wider audience include:
- Posting content on external publications
- Having a social media strategy
- Investing in advertising and promoted materials
In order to truly set yourself apart from competitors in the eyes of consumers, your brand needs to offer more value to customers than anyone else. Whether it’s offering better products or services, more personalized customer service, or just publishing stronger content, originality is important in order to have this kind of value.
How to Create A Brand That Will Get Noticed
Consumers are smart and can easily tell when the image a business projecting is inauthentic, so being 100% authentic is critical when it comes to successful branding. Whatever area you are claiming to be an expert or industry leader in, you’ll need to live, eat, and breathe your expertise and convey this to consumers by inviting them into your world. This kind of transparency helps to build trust and brand loyalty.
Have a Mission and Stick to It
Social consciousness is becoming an increasingly important trait for consumers who are looking at brands to be socially responsible and are holding them accountable. But this doesn’t mean your entire business has to revolve around a specific cause like TOMS Shoes. Find a philanthropic cause to champion or incorporate some way to give back to a particular cause, so consumers will feel as if they are indirectly helping the world by choosing your brand over others.
Build Emotional Connections
Brands that are able to evoke a strong emotional response from consumers are more likely to earn their trust and gain their loyalty. The best way to do this is through your story. Every company has a story behind it – the reason your brand came to be in the first place. Being able to tell this story in a concise way that resonates with your customers and making it the focal point of your marketing strategy will help establish this trust and set your brand apart from the rest of the crowd.
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Emphasize Customer Experience and Deliver Extraordinary Service
When a lot of businesses begin developing their branding, building strong user experience (UX) is not often a part of the process. But it should be. Creating a great experience for users is an essential component of convincing consumers why they should choose your business over others and helps create trust with your brand. Going above and beyond when it comes to customer service is also a key component of this. Treat your customers like royalty and give them the experience that you would want if you were in their shoes. Delivering extraordinary service that consumers can’t get anywhere else is part of what distinguishes your brand from others and will keep customers coming back to you.
Create a Powerful Offer/Guarantee
Offering users a guarantee is a great way to make your brand seem more trustworthy to users, as it reduces the perceived risk and eliminates hesitation when making a purchase. Examples of offers that appeal to consumers include:
- Flexible return policy
- Free shipping
- Extended warranty
- Quick shipping times
- A free trial
Address Customer Pain Points
Winning customers over begins with alleviating whatever ailment they are experiencing. Find out what pain points are being caused by other brands and do what these other businesses’ couldn’t do to gain consumers’ trust and earn their business.
In today’s day and age, with information being so readily available at the touch of a button, consumers are more empowered than ever both seek out and share information. Rather than hiding behind a veil of what you think your brand should act and look like, be honest and transparent about everything. Make everything accessible and be 100% transparent about your business and operations. Answer questions people didn’t even know they had. Also, be proactive and admit to your mistakes without being called out on them, fix problems before customers take notice, and build stronger customer relationships through honesty and integrity. Transparency is key to any successful brand, as it lays the groundwork for trust to develop, and without it, a future, longstanding relationship is not possible.
Be Honest About Your Products and Services
This links back to transparency. Don’t just be honest, put everything there is to know about your products out there for your customers to see. Educate your audience with videos, articles, demos, informative content pieces, etc.
Don’t Cast a Wide Net
While nobody wants to be a one-trick-pony, putting your eggs into too many baskets is essentially setting yourself up for failure. Switching up your branding and approach for a wide variety of businesses is simply not cost-effective, nor does it make it easy for people to know if your company is the right fit for them. Neither is trying to make your brand become too many things. Nobody can be good at everything or please everyone, nor should they. Target a narrow niche and find one – or even a few – key areas of your business that you are dominant in and focus your efforts there. Make sure customers see you as the go-to brand for this particular focus and centre your branding and marketing efforts around this.
Go Against the Grain
Don’t be afraid to be unique, quirky, and even a little weird. As a business, boring is the last thing you want to come to people’s minds when they think of your brand. So, if you want to stand out from your competitors, don’t’ be afraid to take risks. This could mean creating a silly video for social media or being playful and witty on your social media channels.
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Tips for Effective Rebranding
It’s never too late to start fresh with a new brand identity. Whether you’ve hired a new CEO, developed a negative reputation, undergone a merger or acquisition, or simply feel its time to build new and unique branding for your business, you may be considering a rebrand to reflect the recent shift in your brand. If you are headed toward a re-brand, follow these steps to ensure a smooth evolution.
Just like a campfire that is starting to lose its spark, ‘poking the fire’ or giving your branding a boost is an important step in the rebranding process. The best way to do this is to come up with fresh, new messaging and story-telling for your brand.
As your brand evolves and you find yourself looking to reposition, you need to have a solid understanding of the current space you occupy along with a vision for the space you want to occupy going forward. One of the best ways to help reposition your brand is to develop a new campaign with creative visuals and messaging that is consistent with the space you want to occupy. Another way to move forward is to look into sponsorships of events or influencers that help position your brand with where you want to be.
While renaming your business can be a risk, doing so to distance yourself from a negative reputation or time in your company history, or to better represent your brand, can help you develop a stronger brand identity that will make a lasting impression.
Along with renaming your brand, redesigning your corporate identity will help your business address confusion, reflect a change in focus, and even distance yourself from a negative event. When carrying out a redesign, make sure it is modern and aligns with your brand identity. Regardless of industry, branding is on the rise and for good reason. More and more companies are learning the importance of a strong brand identity and the role it plays in gaining consumer trust standing out in a crowd. So, whether you are just starting out with your branding or are looking to start fresh with a re-brand, refer back to these tips to help develop a solid, unique brand identity that will never be confused with others.