To begin, let’s start by looking at what the word ‘brand’ means. It is a term that gets used very broadly to encapsulate a number of things.
When you ask one person what they think it means, they may say ‘advertising’, whereas someone else may suggest ‘social media. In truth, it incorporates all these things as your brand represents anything that signifies the quality of your products/services and what they stand for.
With there being so many different aspects to a brand, it can be a struggle to maintain a consistent strong brand message, which is key to the successful branding that gets your business in front of the right people.
How do you make your brand powerful?
Know your target customer
If you’re not sure precisely who that is, start by use your data and consider which people benefit from your business the most. What do they all have in common? Identify who brings your business the most value.
Once you have done this, create personas based on the profile of these people. Your personas should contain details of demographic, psychographic and behavioural attributes. The more detailed you can create these, the clearer the reference you will have for creating content to appeal to these individuals. These personas will help to create the foundations of a powerful brand.
Know your position and purpose in the market
Having a clear understand of this is a vital spot in building a strong brand, as it it allows you to differentiate where you fit amongst your competitors in your category.
If you’re unsure, a great place to start with this is to speak to your customers and conduct some research. You could get together a small focus group, or if your customers aren’t local, set-up phone calls. I would recommend calls over anything else as speaking to one individual at a time often results in a more indepth, precise and helpful outcome than when someone is speaking alongside a group. Phone calls are also a more time efficient process.
Download a template here which contains ideas for questions to ask your customers.
Getting an insight from your customer’s perspective allows you to see whether their perception of the brand matches the vision of the business.
Another important part of your research should be looking at your competitors and where you fit alongside them. What additional strengths do you have that your competitors don’t provide?
After conducting your customer and competitor research, it’s time to create a positioning statement. This shows you, your teams and your partners the essence of your brand position and provides a helpful reference in focusing your message. A good framework for this statement is the one below by used by brand strategist Lindsay Pedersen.
To [your target customer], [your brand’s name] is the one [your frame of reference or category] that [brand promise] brings [reason to believe], so that [your target customer] can [end reward].
Create or refine the character to your brand
Once you have done your research and defined your mission, it’s to refine your brand character. This helps customers bond with your brand and provide a source of differentiation between you and your competitors.
The first place to begin is by looking at which archetype describes your brand best. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, came up with the 12 archetypes (the outer ring).
Image source: Conor Neill
If you’re not sure immediately which your brand resonates with, go back to your customer research and look at any themes that may have appeared. Looking at your competitors and what archetypes they embody also helps to ensure you aren’t mirroring theirs. Once you have defined between two and three that resonate with your business, you can use these to help create content and ensure it is communicated in the same style and tone of voice.
Have a strong why
A strong ‘why’ makes it clear to your audience the values and beliefs of your business. When building a strong brand, it’s important to communicate a strong ‘why’ as this drives the purpose of your business and further emphasise your brand’s personality.