“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
What does it take to be the best in your industry? It takes time, a team, a vision, a good product, but maybe most importantly, it takes a brand. A solid brand gives your current and potential customers something to hold on to. Instead of just buying a product and being done with you, having a brand helps build relationships and foster loyalty among your audience. You can have a great product and team, but if you don’t have a great brand then you’re creating more work for yourself and potentially missing out on a deeper connection with your customer.
So, whether your about start on something new, or have been in existence for a while, here are 5 tips for building a better brand.
1. Know your customers.
Before we get into this first tip, it’s important to note that “customer” can mean a variety of things. You don’t have to sell something to have customers. In fact, since you are reading this blog post, I consider you my customer! A customer is anyone who is benefiting from your product or service – whether that be readers, viewers, etc.
Knowing your customer requires two things: defining who you want to target (group A), and defining who is actually listening, buying, reading, etc. (group B). Once you’ve determined these two groups of customers, you can begin to morph your brand to fit their interests. Why’s this important? Because if your brand is a reflection of everything that you think is right, it may not resonate with everyone else. Do some research to find out what visuals, messaging and content will work best with the two individual groups of customers, or even better, what interests they both share. This will be the basis of your brand.
3. Have Personality.
Try not to stick to the books and be so formal. It’s a hard habit to break, but one worth being broken.
No one likes boring brands. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but be human! When interacting with customers, creating content, selling or anything of the like, you must put this tip into practice. It’s ok to let customers know that there is a person behind the brand. In fact, it’s better that they do! Knowing who is actually doing the writing, designing and engaging helps customers create a connection with your brand. Try not to stick to the books and be so formal. It’s a hard habit to break, but one worth being broken.
3. Be consistent.
You may think of a brand as a logo and a few graphics, and while yes, those are pieces of a brand, you are wrong to assume that’s all it is. Your brand is everything from the logo, down to the words you use when interacting with customers. It is how you present yourself, your attitude, your mentality. No matter what field or industry you are in, there is going to be competition. If you want to stand out, you need to be sure your brand is something that is memorable, easily distinguished, and unique. More importantly, your brand needs to be consistent. The goal here is to be recognized whenever you are in front of a potential or current customer. You want them to be able to pick you out of a crowd, and the only way to do this is to make a consistent impression. Again, everything from fonts, colors and logos to the words you use in collateral, must remain consistent if you want to have a brand that your customers can hold on to. For an example of how effective a consistent brand can be, take a look at the video below. A five-year-old girl was able to name (or at least recognize) multiple brands with their logo alone. (Courtesy of Adam Ladd on YouTube)
4. Keep it simple.
Building off of the previous tip of keeping it consistent, you also have to keep it simple! Don’t try to over-complicate your messaging, and don’t over-think the things you do. As long as you’ve defined who you’re talking to, have personality, and are being consistent, a simple, easy-to-understand message is going to resonate. Just as you want to be easily distinguishable from your competitors, you don’t want your customers to have to work hard to understand what you’re trying to tell them. Branding really isn’t rocket science. Yes, it requires research and knowledge, but what it really boils down to is knowing what your customer needs to hear in order to purchase a product (or become a reader, viewer, etc.,) and being able to communicate that in an easily-digestible way.
5. Never stop evolving.
The last, and maybe most important tip on building a better brand is to never stop evolving. The minute you become out of touch with your field, or even worse, your customers, your brand could begin to slip. The best brands are the ones that stay in touch in all ways possible – not only with their field and customers, but with pop culture, technology, etc. Eventually, certainly not overnight, your brand will be the one driving the evolution and driving the conversation. Think of some of your favorite brands. I’ll use IGN for example. Paying attention to the evolution of an industry and the customers who were the driving force behind that industry, in addition to consistently being there to provide resources has helped IGN become one of, if not the biggest, gaming news sites. Now, IGN is leading the conversation, and customers turn to them for the information they need.
So, are you up for the challenge? Do you think you have what it takes to create a solid brand. Follow these five tips, and you are sure to be on the right path.
Have a tip that you would like to share? Let readers know about it in the comments below, and connect on Twitter (@HOOKDin)! As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe!