Branding is more than a logo and tagline; it’s a promise. It is all the elements working in unison to define what you do and what you stand for as a brand.
Let’s take iconic brands like Coke and Apple as an example. The moment we think about these brands, the image of their logo or products immediately pops up in our minds. What makes these brands stick and so memorable? You guessed it right- the branding.
The most significant step is to know your audience. Without understanding who the product is for, who these people are- their desires and motivations, you can’t devise a successful branding strategy.
It is paramount to understand their worldview and how you can be a part of it. Now, you build an identity that matches their goals, and then you either become the path to achieve that goal or the goal itself.
Branding strikes emotional chords with your audience. That’s what makes a business a “brand” and not just another corporate entity.
Humans have some basic desires, dreams, and fears. As a business, you need to cater to these needs. Here’s how you can create a branding strategy that resonates with your audience-
As a brand, you must stand out to get noticed. Create rich experiences that help people to connect with your brand emotionally. For a brand to nurture these emotional connections with its audience, it must get creative and bring innovative ideas to the market consistently.
Creativity is no longer an option; it’s a vital component of any branding strategy. You can’t be predictable; that’s too dull for a brand. Research has proven that creativity influences our behavior and how we feel, and the same goes for your brand as well. How does it make your audience feel?
As a part of your branding strategy, try to explore different perspectives around your product/services. What makes you different? Creative thinking will make your communication more effective, genuine, and relatable. Great branding ultimately means having something great to say!
Creative branding shows that magical, wonderful thing you bring to the market that no one else does.
Before you take a stance and position your brand in the market, ask yourself what you want your audience to know you and remember you for.
You need to create a story, a story of change. This story is not to please everyone; it is to please a micro-market; your target market.
When they know the story is for them, they will engage with you. Why? Because your story will tell them that’s what people like them do. They feel a sense of belonging and connection, and that wins the game.
Positioning is all about standing out in the crowd to get your brand noticed. You can’t do that by doing what everyone else is doing. You do it by choosing a new way of doing things. You need to be a bit more creative and a bit more different.
As a brand, you need to embrace your own creativity and create experiences for your audiences that compel them to share it with others. You need to ride waves other won’t even dare to. Because playing it safe is boring, it won’t bring the success your brand deserves to achieve.
Believe it or not, your brand has a personality. Your audience decides it for you. The way your brand expresses itself- the voice and tone you choose to interact with your audience set a concrete image of you in their minds.
As an element for successful branding, your brand expression should match your audience’s internal narratives. Create multi-channel content that helps your brand image, educates and entertains your audience, and most importantly, inspires them!
How strong is your visual presence? Is the content you’re creating right now falling deaf on your audience’s ears, or is it moving them? Put in as much effort as is needed and get your creative juices flowing! Because it’s not about the quantity; it’s about the quality. The goal is to excite your audience and not create stuff they just tend to evade.
You’re not here for chasing; you’re here for inspiring!
A winning brand strategy is about galvanizing your audience to take action. After all, branding facilitates marketing. Deep down, your customers know what they want, but your branding strategy should address it for them.
To make that happen, make it easy for your customers to build relationships with your brand. Start with a few people. Gone are the times when a brand needed to make everyone happy in order to be successful. Now, your success depends on how well you target and engage your smallest viable market.
You get branding success when you know you can’t be all things to all people, and you don’t even try to be.
The relationships brands need now are very different from the relationships they had two decades ago with their customers. The customers then didn’t have a platform to voice their opinions and what they thought of a brand.
The tables have turned. Your audience uses social media to share feedback about your brand. And this is the reason why engaging your audience and giving your brand a good look-and-feel is more crucial than ever.
When asked why you do what you do other than the commercial purpose of it, what do you say? The statement you give as your response is your brand purpose.
Brand purpose is extremely crucial because no one wants to connect and be associated with a brand that is in it only to make money.
As a brand, you need to be brave and experimental. Articulate your purpose as well as you can and have a bigger goal; a goal of not just reaching your market but changing it for the better. Your brand purpose should be so strong that it changes the expectations of your customers. When you keep that promise and meet their expectations, the sky’s the limit!
Your brand purpose gives your audience a better alternative. This creates tension. Everyone wants better for themselves, and when they know you’re better, they can’t afford missing out on what you have to offer.
Make your audience align with your purpose. Give them something to believe in!
Effective branding is not only limited to crafting strategies. The execution of these strategies plays an indispensable role. All the elements of your branding and marketing should work in sync. You need to design the entire experience for your customers. Defining your brand isn’t enough; integrate this experience in all aspects of your business.
You need to figure out how, when, and where you’ll communicate with your audience. Choose a stance and then stick to it. Be consistent with how you present yourself. But, be flexible enough to know where and when to adjust your strategy to spark interest. If some of your tactics are not working, don’t be afraid to tweak.
Involve your employees to boost both brand awareness and brand recognition. Your brand chooses a language to speak with your audience online. Your employees must use a similar tone while communicating with your customers because they represent your brand as much as your website does.
Brand identities are the visual elements that describe your business. Your brand image shouldn’t only be uniform; it should also be cohesive. The way you package your brand decides to a great extent how many people will be interested in seeing what’s inside.
Other than being appealing to your audience, your brand identities should also go well with the overall brand image. With brand identities, you decide how you choose to portray your brand visually. Choose the colors that represent the mood of your brand, typefaces that your audience finds attractive, and the tone that they connect with.
Your brand identities help you set yourself apart from your competitors. Establishing a strong brand identity translates to a vibrant and more positive brand image.
Strong brand identities make your brand easily recognizable. Inculcate design thinking into your branding and marketing strategies to be more effective. Create guidelines to maintain your brand identity and ensure everything is presented the way you want it to be.
Branding VS Marketing
Both the words branding and marketing get tossed around frequently and sometimes interchangeably. But, these are different concepts altogether.
The one aspect that’s common between marketing and branding is the end goal of appealing to and attracting your target audience to grow your business.
Marketing is about strategically placing the right message to the right people at the right time, while branding is about building relationships, developing trust, and nurturing relationships.
Without a strong branding strategy, most of your marketing efforts will go in vain. Strike the right balance between branding and marketing to maximize the impact your business makes.
Effective branding kindles the imagination and excites your audience. It doesn’t only attract the right people to your brand but also makes them want to belong to your brand.
In the end, your branding shows character. It makes your brand appear authentic, believable, and yet intriguing. When people love your brand, they stay loyal, and they reward you for your efforts. They become your biggest brand ambassadors!