By Emma Thompson, Marketing Director, OnBrand
There are a lot of misconceptions about branding within the world of business. At the most basic level, branding is about the need to differentiate you from them. How to get your product to stand out, how to make customers love what you sell and buy what you offer over and above your competitors.
Finding your brand personality is essential for any business owner and is a starting point for any business plan. My heart sinks slightly when a small business owner tells me that they don’t need a brand because they already have a logo. A brand is not a logo! This is one of the most common mistakes that as a marketing agency, we see businesses make. A brand is the very fabric of your business and it will have its own personality. I want to take a brief look here about the elements that go together to make up a successful brand and how to find your own distinctive voice to drive your marketing.
Why is your Brand important?
Look at some of our greatest UK businesses and you will see that they all have a distinctive voice and you know immediately what they stand for. Companies like Virgin and Dyson are experts at branding and show how important it is to understand your values and what, as a business, you stand for. Understanding this is at the heart of your brand and finding a distinctive voice is a key component in your marketing toolbox. If you fail to take the time to get this right, then often your advertising will miss your target audience.
And it’s not just about marketing. Branding is important because it increases business value, gives employees direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier – and that is what lies at the heart of any business.
Find Your Brand Personality
If you are a small business and you are running the show, then your own voice is the natural tone for your output. If you’re part of a bigger company, defining how you want the business to be perceived will dictate the personality and tone.
Once you decide how you want to sound and what you want to say, you’ve got your brand personality. This is what needs to come across in every bit of content you create from now on and that includes your social media as well as your website, email marketing and blogs.
Understand who your ideal customer is
Understanding your customer is often the starting point for really understanding your brand values. Who buys from you and why do they buy from you and not from a competitor? By properly harnessing customer insights and understanding your customer fully you can strategically plan to drive an increase in new shoppers or uplift in specific products.
It’s worth looking at how some of the big brands do it. Companies like Nike spent years developing a brand personality for the business, identifying their audience and creating a unique point of view. As the brand has evolved, Nike associates its products with star athletes hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. It’s not actually the trainers that sell – people are buying into a brand.
So think about your own business. Do you have enough understanding of your customers? Are you clear about their patterns, motivations and behaviours? Could you adapt your business based on simple customer insight? If not, now may be the time to put this at the front of your planning, making customer data central to your business growth strategy.
Key questions to ask yourself when building your brand
If you understand now why you need to build a brand then here are six key questions you need to ask yourself:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- If you are an existing brand, what do your customers and prospects already think of you?
- What is your company’s mission?
- What makes your brand unique?
- What is the personality of your brand/what words describe your brand?
- What are the greatest benefits of your goods or service?
The answers to these questions will help you to really drill down into what you stand for, how you are different from similar businesses and why people may want to buy from you.
Why branding works
A great brand creates trust, loyalty and an emotional connection. The more you know about yourself, the more consistent you are, the greater the brand trust. Trusting a brand is at the heart of all of this. If you know your brand and are clear about what you value, this will in turn make it more likely that your will develop an emotional connection with customers and that will help your business to grow.