The term “brand” is one of those words that has evolved from its original meaning. Once it simply referred to a company name, similar to the branding of a cow, it was stamped on a product and that was that.
However, with marketing today, a brand is much more. It refers to how people envision your product – both the tangible and the objective. It is a fluid aspect of the company that grows and changes – in either positive or negative ways.
For instance, customers have begun referring to the store Target as “Tar-jé,” which reflects the affordable chic brand that the company is putting forth. At the same time, food retailer Whole Foods Market has become known as “Whole Paycheck,” because of its high prices.
A brand is the sum total of all that is your product or company. It is what customers think about your product, how your customer service manages problems, what you post on social media, your store displays – everything you do makes up your brand.
Steps to Building Your Brand
Whether you are trying or not, you are building your company brand, so it is best to focus on the effects of each and every thing you do, every piece of advertising, even the people you hire will represent your brand.
Here are ten steps to building your brand from the bottom up.
What makes your company unique? How is your story different than your competitors’? Why should people buy from you? Know what makes you stand out in the industry and let others know it, too.
Interact with your community
Social media has made it possible to interact with major brands in a way that was never before possible. Regardless of the size of your company, you should put an effort into building and improving your community. Don’t just post to Twitter or Instagram, but interact with others, building trust in your brand.
Offer great products and services
Nothing you do will matter if you don’t have a great product or service. Spend less money on advertising and more funds on making the best possible product you can. You can have a unique story and expansive community, but if you lack a worthwhile product, you won’t be successful.
Have a memorable name and logo
A strong brand is recognizable – both with its name and logo. Be sure to have a professional logo designed that represents the image you want to portray. Then ensure that anywhere you are – online and off – your company name and logo are clearly presented: on business cards, letterhead, web site, advertising, social media accounts, product displays, and anywhere else.
Determine how you want to represent yourself and then stick to that style across all types of media and interactions. Want to be silly and lighthearted like Taco Bell? Joke with customers on Twitter and Facebook alike or introduce Taco Bell themed weddings at the flagship restaurant. Offering business to business goods? Maybe a more serious tone will work better with your clientele. Regardless of the voice you choose, your brand should remain consistent across all platforms, so as to prevent confusion among your customers, to build familiarity, and to breed trust.
Support a cause
One way to connect emotionally with your clients is to support an important cause. Remember that we are all here on this Earth together, and using your corporate power to stand up for (or against) something will not only help you build your brand, it’ll help the planet and its people.
Develop brand ambassadors
Remember that you are not in control of your brand: the public can make or break a company’s brand through what they say and what they share. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to develop brand ambassadors who like your organization and tout its virtues without any encouragement from you. Nurture these types of relationships with your customers
Whether it’s actually a lower price or something entirely different – like excellent customer service or high-end products – it’s important to bring something to the marketplace that makes you stand out and helps people remember your product.
Whether you are the CEO of a startup or simply trying to gain control of your company brand, you can follow these steps towards developing your brand into something recognizable and memorable.