Build a brand in 2019: My Top 5 Tips (#3 will shock you)
#1 - Do your research
Yes. Actual research.
Do you know how important research is to big corporations?
The goal here is to understand the landscape you’re working with :
Where do you fit in your market?
Who are the competition?
Who are the customers?
Gender and Age?
Where do customers normally purchase their goods?
Which platforms do they consume their content?
How do they feel emotionally towards your sector, product or service or brand?
How do you think they will feel towards the brand you’re about to build?
Think about the rationale behind each answer. What are your concerns? What are the customer concerns?
The sooner you have a better understating of your audience, the easier your brand building efforts will be.
What I also like to do after completing the above exercise is to create customer personas using my FREE persona template.
I usually print off three copies and invent three different people, describing each of their key attributes based on a few simple questions. You can start by completing one if you’d like?
I describe the following:
Who they are?
How old they are?
Where they live?
Favourite TV/Radio Shows?
Popular websites they would visit?
Favourite news channel?
Favourite social channel?
Do they have children?
What do they do at the weekend?
Once you have this is all down on paper, you’re left with a rich picture (or 3) of potential customers. You can now start formulating a plan on how to start taking advantage of this knowledge.
Building deeper relationships with these potential customers on and offline should be your first start.
The goal = find your first 1,000 true fans
Once you start treating brands like people, you’ll start appreciating the ones with biggest hearts. The smartest brains and the kindest souls.
Also remember this.
Brands have faces (logo). Voices (tone). Hair & Makeup (typography and colour). They have wide ranging personalities (B2B introverts or B2C extroverts). They even have souls (beliefs).
These qualities are so intrinsically linked, they cannot be ignored.
So, forget the logo colours, font weights and trending hashtags.
Be more human.
Then do more research.
#2 - Relationships + Consistency = Key
Just as we expect our human relationships to work in the real world, brands need to do the same with their customers. Our shared beliefs must be aligned.
The trust a customer places in a brand should be what motivates a brand to stay true to its core beliefs.
These relationships should not be taken for granted. Especially from brand owners.
If you can nurture a relationship with your customers, whilst taking pride in maintaining the relationship, the rewards you can experience will be immeasurable over the medium to long term.
As soon as you recalibrate your thinking to this methodology and take action, your audiences will take notice.
A connection on an emotional level is far more lucrative than a shouty one-sided fling. Believe me.
Even asking your audience for feedback and input is doing more than most other brands. These small gestures all add up.
So I want you to ask yourself this - are you still committed?
If you’re not committed to your brand beliefs, then I’m afraid to say that your brand is going to have a short shelf life.
That said, if you’re committed to playing the long game, and willing to stick at it through thick and thin, then you’re in for a monumental treat.
The results you will see can be on the scale of some of the greats.
Maintaining consistent messaging across all customer touch-points online or off is PARAMOUNT.
I believe this is one of the most important factors in building a brilliant brand that resonates on a global level.
This does not mean you have to use the same message throughout. It can be any key component of your brand kit, identity or values.
Brand pillars can also help you and your brand angels when you get stuck with your messaging. It’s a useful exercise to help maintain consistency throughout your comms and marketing outreach.
Here are a few quick win tips for online :
Maintain consistent 1-2-1 conversations with your audience. Ask for their feedback. Find out why they identify with your brand. They’re your brand advocates remember, so use them for free market research
Use correct brand colours and fonts across all emails, web pages, e-commerce sites CTAs and marketing materials. Use design to reinforce brand attributes and values
Maintain a consistent tone of voice across your email, web and print materials
Use the same filters, editing settings and grading techniques on all your images and videos
It's this simple but effective level of consistency and detail that gains trust with your customers.
They really do notice.
#3 - Old brands steal from new brands
Tell me this. What happens after you’ve seen the same TV advert 10 times in the same week?
The message is lost.
This is what happens when you use the same message across multiple touch-points.
So how can we be more creative with the touch-points our customers engage with?
Treat your meaning as your message.
Find different ways of pouring your brand meaning across these different touch-points. Read more about this theory by clicking the link below.
I also continue to see entrepreneurs, business owners and established brands taking inspiration from the big brands of yesteryear.
In my opinion, this is the wrong approach.
You need to be looking at the new kids on the block for brand inspiration. That’s were the old brands are stealing from.
And for good reason.
They don’t follow tradition. They serve a higher a purpose.
Entire movements are being created based on a singular shared message. The landscape is shifting.
It’s time for us to get involved.
"Sex doesn’t sell anymore, activism does.” - Alex Holder
If you’re looking to create your own brand, this is one of the best times to do it. Especially with all the different platforms available to brands to allow them to share their unique voice and beliefs.
Add in the public belief sharing system monetisation opportunities, it makes for an exciting time to be building.
It’s something I’m really looking forward to exploring further as a research piece.
The way people are using their voice and brand for positive change, whilst still making vast sums of money online, is quite fascinating.
#4 - Be brave and stick at it
Price and promotion can have a dramatic effect on your brand equity if not managed correctly.
You need to strike a balance.
Lower the cost, you’re lowering the brand value (in some cases).
Yes, discount codes and coupons generate more revenue. But at what cost to brand value?
Is this discount label going to be permanently attached to your brand from launch day? Are you discounting your beliefs too?
It’s a constant trade-off.
What you need to do above all else is BE BRAVE with your decisions.
What you’ll find is that once you’ve established a consistent brand story, your company is going to grow. Your brand exposure swill undoubtedly increase.
Above all else, you must maintain a positive brand outlook to the outside world. Dp not let the internal bureaucracy and politics seep into your consumer facing side of your brand.
You need to fight for your brand's core beliefs. Fight for your brands happily ever after.
Yes, there will be challenges along the way. Yes, there will be hurdles.
But, because of your burning desire to deliver on your brand's core beliefs (to find your happily ever after), your quest will be achievable.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But they’re not. You are.
If you look around you at all the power brands, it’s their core belief that’s stood the test of time.
The only reason the brands of yesteryear are no longer with us is due to the clouded judgment of executives who didn’t maintain the belief of the brand's core values during the challenging times.
Obviously, this is not inclusive of all failed brands and companies. But, you get the point.
Please don’t let the politics take away from your core beliefs. Stay true to your core.
Because this is what connects 7.53billion people.
#5 - Less is more with logos
If you are at the early stages of building your brand, then I totally understand that plastering it on literally everything feels like the right thing to do to get your brand out there.
The reality is that when someone stumbles across your brand, they are drowned in logo soup.
Instead, you must generate intrigue with your brand.
I understand that there are certain on and offline touch-points that require a logo in silo.
Social icons, favicons and YouTube lower third watermarks.
But, less is definitely more with logo placements in 2018/19. This also goes for the sizing of your logo in situ.
I’ve worked with designers for years, and if anyone who’s reading this has any design experience under their belt, then they will know that marketers and business owners all want their logos to be larger. In every instance. The same with the CTA buttons. Bigger = better in their heads
Without going into too much detail on the design principles behind this, the opposite is true on the receiving end with these applications.
Once again, customers are being shouted at.
I touch upon this in my blog post below. Click the link to learn more.
This is not what we’re trying to achieve here. We need to work smarter.
The way to be smarter is to be more creative with your logos and brand asset placements.
You can create a logo system of branded assets that can be used across different channels and platforms.
This approach would allow you to pour more meaning into each component, allowing you to tell a wider and more detailed story through your creative assets.
Customers find this so much more refreshing than being shouted at.
The aim should be to provide your audience with some well-earned brand tranquility once they’ve arrived at your site or store.
As mentioned previously.
Be more human.
Bonus - Consider why you’re in business in the first place
I find it fascinating to ask entrepreneurs upon first meet:
“What was it that inspired you to get into business in the first place?”
The reason I ask is simple. I’m trying to work out if their passion or belief in their product or service is still evident
Or, did the commercial aspects of their business sidetrack their wider brand ambitions?
Some can recount immediately, going into great detail.
Others take their time in answering the question. You see the hard drives in their head spooling up, ready to go back in time to those magical first days of entrepreneurship. Their eyes light up.
Quite a few never had a vision in the first place. Purely commercial ventures.
I now want to ask the same questions to you.
If you’ve forgotten what you're happily ever after is (or you’ve parked it but forgotten where), you need to go back and retrieve this principle.
Go bring it back front and centre.
If it's been lost, never to return, then we need to find you a new one. Sharpish!
To build a successful brand, you need to be passionate.
If there is no passion behind the brand, or you’re faking its core belief, then your customer is going to smell it a mile off.
It must be authentic.
If you manage to locate it, fantastic!
Not all is lost.
That just proves how powerful your original beliefs were/are.
It is also worth taking note of who’s inspired you along the way. This could literally be anyone.
Family, friends, work colleagues, teachers, company owners, visionaries or celebrity heroes.
Then ask yourself this.
“What is it about them that resonates with me so much?”
If you can learn to understand the characteristics behind these important connections, then you will have a better understanding of the interactions you have with the people you meet.
A better understanding of your future relationships.
- Michael Porter
Brand Asset Tools
Logos by Squarespace - free logo maker
Fiver - freelance services marketplace
Promo - make beautiful videos in minutes
Envato - make beautiful videos in minutes
Website & Email Services
Squarespace - all-in-one website platform
Webflow - design, build, and launch responsive websites visually
Wordpress - free CMS
Wix - all-in-one website platform
Mailchimp - Email Solution (GDPR friendly)
Hotjar - see how your visitors are really using your website
Tinypng - make website faster with small images
Evernote - best note taking app
Slack - WhatsApp for business
iWork - documents, spreadsheets and presentations (Mac)
Office - documents, spreadsheets and presentations (Windows)
Dropbox - file sharing solution
iCloud - file sharing solution
Wetransfer - file sharing solution
Teachable - create and sell online courses
Hubspot - full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM
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