In order to create and establish a strong brand, you’ll need to ask the most fundamental questions. Before you begin to plan your online marketing strategies, you need to do the following first:
Establish Your Purpose
The first thing you need to clarify is why you do what you do. You won’t get the answers right away; you’ll need to ask yourself why several times before you get to the root purpose; the very core of your business. Start with questions like:
- Why did I build this business?
- Why do I want to help out this specific group of people?
- Why does it matter to me that these things get done?
As you keep going, note the answers you are giving each “why” – these answers will form your purpose. Walt Disney answers this question very well: they want to bring joy to children everywhere. This permeates everything that they do.
Choose Your Personality and Voice
After asking why you do what you do, ask yourself: What is my brand? At this stage of brand building, ask yourself the following:
- What kind of voice do I want to use for my brand?
- How do I want to be perceived – do I want to be approachable and casual, corporate and formal, etc.?
- Will I be able to stay true to this identity throughout the existence of this brand?
The last question is specifically important because your audiences will be looking for a solid, consistent identity. Your ability to stay true to your brand is one of the most important elements; to earn you customer loyalty.
Outline Your Values
Once you finish asking yourself what you are, it’s time to ask yourself “Who am I?” The values that you get from the previous step will define who you are as a brand. List these down and define these values in light of your business.
Zappos does a great job of outlining and defining their values. They have ten core values that they live by, you’ll see these values permeating every process they have. You’ll also notice the people following these values to heart; from the blog posts, to their performance, to their customer service. Defining a good, solid set of values will help you become consistent; serve as your company’s guiding principles for work.
Define Your Culture
Your integrity as an organization depends heavily on the culture you cultivate in your business. Happy employees are productive, passionate, and cohesive, making your business stronger and your processes more easily manageable. This is why it’s important to establish what kind of culture you want to nurture in your establishment.
Google’s culture is very famous for encouraging creativity and innovation; through giving their employees time and resources to explore new things. Their 80/20 policy had paved the way for innovations like Google Glass and Android. Although it is not being implemented as a policy anymore; their engineers are still encouraged to take on side projects that allow them to innovate. You can see how the culture lives on despite the fact that the policy has been removed.
Communicate Your Brand to Your Audience
Finally, you now have to decide how you want to raise awareness about your brand. The previous steps, combined with market research and analysis; will play a huge role in determining how and where you communicate your brand to reach your target audience effectively.
The following will be the most important points to discuss when planning communication strategies:
- Your company’s mission statement, which you can easily derive from your purpose;
- The benefits your customers will get from your business; also answered at the beginning of this process (the answers to the why’s)
- Your chosen platforms and the appropriate media for each
- Your calls to action – what goals do you have, and how do you plan to entice your audience?
Branding isn’t the same as marketing – branding is the core of your marketing strategy. In order to build an effective brand, you need authenticity and clarity in each of the steps discussed earlier. Allowing your target market to identify with your brand personality and values successfully.
One final thing to remember – and a very important point; is that branding isn’t a one-time thing that you do at the beginning of establishing your business. It is an ongoing effort that permeates your processes, your culture, and your development as a business. However, this requires your dedication and loyalty in order to reflect in your work. At the end of the day, the true measure of your branding success is in earning loyal customers; who become your brand ambassadors as well.
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