If you have recently started a company you may have heard a lot about the importance of business branding.
If you thought that business branding was just for the big boys then you would be wrong.
Defining your company and what it stands for is becoming a necessary part of business strategy.
Millennials especially like to know that they are purchasing from companies with ecological or ethical purposes.
Giving back or aligning with good causes has become a part of the overall business branding process.
What is business branding?
Business branding means more than having a recognizable logo or a pretty colored website.
A brand is an instantly recognizable symbol or motif that identifies your business.
Business branding is defining the way that people perceive your company or product.
Good business branding should identify your company agenda and speak volumes about your intent.
Along with recognition, business branding should help you convey a message that people know and understand.
Business branding should project the ethos of your business and inspire a feeling or state within the people that use your service or products.
What is brand building?
Once you have decided on your company’s overall image and design, you need to build your brand around that concept.
So what does business branding involve exactly?
Business branding is the process of gaining and raising awareness of your company and the services it supplies.
This can be done by marketing, advertising, or other methods that serve to attract customers to your brand.
Successful business branding creates a feeling or an experience that makes your brand tangible and highlights value.
Customers should feel as though they know your company and gain an experience from your brand.
Identify buyer personas for successful business branding
Before you can successfully engage in business branding you will need to identify your target customer base.
Knowing exactly who your brand serves means that you can position yourself accordingly in the marketplace.
A buyer persona is an outline of your ideal customer.
A quick search online will reveal multiple free templates to help you achieve the task.
You should be able to define the basics of your buyer persona without too much trouble.
Most people in business know the age, gender, and income level of their customers.
A good buyer persona requires diving a bit deeper to gain a true understanding of your customer and their motivations.
Why do I need a buyer persona?
It is important to know that you may have multiple buyer personas for your business.
For each one, you will need to identify things like your buyer’s concerns, habits, and pastimes are.
Good buyer personas are built using a mix of market research and knowledge gained from your existing customer base.
Being able to understand your customers on a deeper level will give you better insight.
It will show you how to reach them, create products or content for them, and address their needs.
Develop your business branding mission statement
A key component of any business branding strategy is to develop your mission statement.
This concise and effective statement should communicate in a short couple of sentences what your brand is about.
Your mission statement should convey who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
It serves not only to send your companies message to customers but also to focus employees on your company’s goals.
When crafting a mission statement it should be impactful and compact.
Don’t write an essay, but create a statement that captures your companies mission, shows value, and is based on long term goals.
Define perception in the marketplace
When you advertise and market your business you are creating an impression on potential customers.
Strategically positioning yourself can help you to control the message you are sending.
There is an old saying that perception is reality and this is true of your current and future customers.
They will experience your business based on their perceptions and expectations.
A bit of research can help with finding out how you are currently perceived.
Surveying your current customers is a good place to start.
Use the information to think about your positioning and use it for future business branding and marketing efforts.
Assess competitors for business branding strategies
Unless you provide a very niche product or service, chances are that you are not the only one doing what you do.
Very few businesses are unique and this means that you have got competition.
When business branding it is a good idea to make an honest assessment of other company’s processes and methods.
What are they doing well, what is working for them, and what isn’t?
This is where you can show what you do better than the next guy.
Use the information to channel your own efforts into positive results, and to set yourself apart from your competitors.
Show your customers why they should use you and how you provide more value.
Create your brand story
Brand stories are being used increasingly as a method for companies to reach out and connect with customers.
Stories are becoming an essential component of business branding.
A good story creates empathy, builds trust, and generates a connection.
Be mindful of how you compose your story. This is not an advertisement or a sales pitch.
Brand stories should be real, compelling, and authentic.
A well-written brand story shines with personality and conveys information about the company, why it exists, and how it started.
A brand story identifies a problem and explains how your business found a way to solve it.
It describes the success that has been achieved in addressing the problem.
Your story shares with enthusiasm how you plan to continue sharing that success.
Align with good causes or show ecological benefits
Recent research shows a trend that consumers are expecting more from a business than a product or service.
There is an expectation, especially among Millenials, that the company they are using is doing some good in the world.
This will need to be factored in to your business branding process.
Social responsibility is becoming a key factor in purchasing decisions, so it is worth aligning your business with a good cause or a charitable organization.
Creating positive results can help to create a good company culture, it also inspires greater efforts.
Good causes can help inspire you to greater heights.
If you know that people are depending on your contribution it propels you to achieve better results.
Consider partnering with organizations that align in some way with your companies product or service.
Giving back can earn you more customers, especially among the younger generation.
Social responsibility is a great promotional tool to share and highlight the good that your business brings to the world.
Align all sectors of your business
When you have taken all the necessary steps to create your business brand, make sure all sectors of your company are on the same page.
Aligning company sectors is important in business branding for the delivery of a consistent message.
All employees from management to the cleaner should operate and communicate in a way that upholds your business branding and company message.
For larger businesses, this can mean unifying multiple departments like sales, marketing, and technology.
If you are a small business its still important that your staff understands the overriding purpose and message of the company.
No matter the size of the company, everyone working there should speak with the same voice.
Deliver a consistent message
Consistency is key as the saying goes, and there is a reason that the saying exists.
Your business branding strategy should be created around your company message.
This can mean several core statements, visuals, or business slogans that are fed to your target customers over a period of time.
All advertising or promotional material should be in line with your company’s mission statement.
Reflecting your purpose, and values to build recognition through the repetition of your brand’s message.
Over time these slogans and visuals become stamped on the minds of your audience, increasing brand awareness and trust.
Business branding creates a ‘face’ for your company that will create trust and recognition among your targeted customers.
Clear and consistent messages inspire confidence and help customers to understand how your brand aligns with their needs.
When business branding is done correctly it should mean that your brand becomes instantly recognizable and causes favorable or positive feelings among your potential consumers.