At the very genesis of your business you may have thought about branding as making sure you had business cards, letterheads and logos created. These are components of your branding, but not the most important parts.
For business branding to really be effective there needs to be a lot more introspection and answering of hard questions. Believe me, it’s worth the time taken to understand why you went into business in the first place, along with defining what you offer in the way of value to your prospective customers. To cut through the clutter in marketing your business you need a clear brand image and message.
Your prospects should be in no doubt as to what your business stands for, offers and guarantees when it comes to dealing with them. When looking at your brand ask yourself these questions:
- What are the values of my business?
- What does my business stand for?
- What is the personality of my business?
- Who are my ideal prospects/clients
- What language does my target market use?
- What is my brand promise?
Answering these and many more questions assists with decisions ranging from what colours to use in your logo and website, to the font of your copy on marketing materials. When branding your business you will craft your marketing message to use the same language and style as your ideal client, based on your research into your market.
Yes, it requires work and time. The pay back comes in the form of your prospects identifying strongly with you and your message. This differentiates you from your competitors who may have a bland and instantly forgettable brand identity. In all the noise of the marketplace it is a distinct advantage to be memorable and on theme within your chosen niche.
What Are The Values Of My Business?
The values your business represents are the foundation upon which you build your marketing message and how you will interact with your customers going forward. Your values may reside in integrity, honesty and contribution. This means that if you act in a way other than with integrity, you will be departing from your core values and presenting mixed signals to your customers.
What Does My Business Stand For?
What your business stands for needs to resonate with your target market. If your business was in the food industry and its foundation was based on healthy food and a healthy lifestyle, it would be incongruous for you to be selling junk food.
Your business may show what it stands for only selling healthiest foods and perhaps supporting and sponsoring health-related community groups.
What Is The Personality Of My Business?
It may sound strange, but it’s not just people who have personalities. Have a think about how you want your business perceived from a “personality” point of view. When delivering your marketing messages, whether by written word, video or audio, it needs to be consistent. Don’t let your messages be seen as coming from a different source, depending on the medium employed or who is sending them.
You may want your business personality to be seen has positive, humorous and sincere. If this was the case and your marketing messages are delivered in a dry or flippant form, that would create a disconnect with your target audience.
Who Are My Ideal Prospects/Clients
It goes without saying that, in defining your brand, you should have researched your prospective clients and have a very good understanding of what motivates them, what their day-to-day issues are, where they live and of course, where they gather.
Knowing these basics is fundamental to creating of a value proposition that has any chance of attracting your target market. Research needs to be done into:
- demographics (male or female, age, occupation, etc)
- geographic data (where do they live and congregate)
- psychographics (what sports do they like, affiliations do they have and causes do they support?)
What Language Does My Target Market Use?
When I speak of language I am not talking about whether your target market speaks English, Spanish or Mandarin. You need to be able to converse with your target market in words that they understand and use on a daily basis.
For instance, if you provide services or products for keen fishermen, then you better get to know some of their jargon if you want them to listen to your marketing messages. Using the same nicknames, acronyms and niche specific descriptions for products and services is crucial for your credibility and success.
Is your markets language relaxed and casual, or technical and formal?
What Is My Brand Promise?
When developing your unique value proposition you will have extracted out the essence of what you are offering – your brand promise. This is the end result or user experience you have promised to deliver to your customers.
This is the cornerstone of your business and failing to deliver on this promise will see your business suffer. Your brand promise may take the form of a customer experience that delivers a better self-image, more control of their finances, a healthier lifestyle or a satisfying career.
It’s hard to deliver on a promise if you don’t know what it is!