The American Marketing Association’s (AMA) definition for a brand is “A name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
This is the basic bookish definition. However, there are many other facets that make the brands in today’s world successful and cherished by the target consumers. Familiarity, brand equity, brand positioning and identity all play a key role in making a brand what it is. It is debatable which one of them is more important, but the bottom line is that consumers give preference to brands rather than unbranded businesses, and products and services. Here’s how you can develop your brand in 9 simple steps.
Step 1: Define the TA
Before you begin with developing your brand, define the target audience. Create a buyer persona for your ideal customer by studying their likes, dislikes, shopping habits, the platforms they are having conversations on, their pain points, etc. What does a single day in the life of your ideal customer look like? What are the pain points that your business can address? How will they search for those products? What online platforms will they visit to ask questions? What are the key terms and phrases they are asking to communicate their problem? What’s the best type of content to address their concerns?
The better your buyer’s persona, the clearer you will be about how your branded product or service will fulfill their needs the more you study their behavior. As a result, your success rate of attracting and qualifying leads will increase.
Step 2: What is the Mission?
Next, determine what value your brand will add to their daily lives. It is the reason you are coming up with the brand. A clear and crisp mission statement will help structure every facet of your brand. It will guide every aspect of your brand that follows. Take Google for example: It has a mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Their mission guides every decision they make and every project they invest in. It connects with their audience as it speaks volumes about what they do.
Step 3: Look at competing brands
Don’t be a copycat, but do take inspiration and learn from the experiences, both good and bad, of successful brands. Look at their branding strategy and try to take away what you can from it. Check their quality of products and why people buy from them. What do their customers say about them and what message do they send across the multitude of channels they have. Benchmark yourself with the best practices they have and do it better.
Step 4: Brand FnB (Features and Benefits)
What sets you apart from the competition? Do a deep introspective study of your core products and your strengths as a brand. Compare it with your competitors and realize what your strengths are and where you can up them. Figure out your core features (the attributes of your brand that you do best) and benefits (the advantages that your customers will have because of those attributes).
Step 5: Logo and Branding
Do not leave any stone unturned or holds barred in creating a creative yet simple logo that resonates with your brand and its mission. Looks at Amazon or McDonald’s: Amazon started as an online bookstore but as it scaled and added more products to the inventory, it changed its logo to an arrow placed from A to Z, signifying its variety. McDonald’s is a fast-food company but not everyone knows that the M of McDonald’s stands for Nourishing Breasts signifying the nourishment that their food provides (I’m Lovin’ it!). Be creative and simple in the taglines and logos that you come up with. Hire a designer or a creative agency if you need to.
Step 6: Clear and Crisp Brand Message
Define your brand in 100 words or less. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot present what your brand is in 3 minutes if anyone asks, then you are not clear about your own brand. If you cannot sell your brand, you will fail. It’s as simple as that. It should define who you are and what your values are as a brand.
Step 7: A Unique Personality and Voice
Personify your brand. The best way to do this is to picture your brand as a person. Decide his attire, his skin color personality and all other such attributes. The voice you have can be professional like a business professional in a suit, or educational like a school teacher, or an activist who cares deeply about certain issues. These two attributes give your brand a chance to have a meaningful connection to your TA. Share your experiences in the process and establish an emotional bond with your audience.
Step 8: Stay the Course
Stay true to your message and shape your augmented strategies and initiatives, PR, content strategy, etc., to the core mission of the brand. Do not fall into an identity crisis. Structure all your efforts around your brand so you can stay true to its core-offering. Stay focused; you’ll only cause confusion by straying.
Step 9: Believe in it
Believe that your brand will be successful and go every inch to make sure it happens. Nothing great ever comes without struggle, so you have to believe in your brand’s success and it should reflect in your efforts. If you believe it will succeed, a spillover effect is bound to happen in your target audience.