Because brands set expectations, customers tend to choose a safer option, or one that they are familiar with. Many people are more comfortable dealing with a known brand rather than to take a chance on a new or yet to be proven product or service.
… brand building is critical for any business person and should begin at the very start of any company.
Ultimately, brand building is one of the most important aspects in business marketing, since it assists with winning customers as well as keeping them over time, which is the hallmark of any successful company.
- The Brand-Owners; and
- The Brand Audience (yes, the consumers).
But there is a 3rd party, which acts as a bridge between the 2 above parties. The Brand-Builders; those who offer professional services in helping build brands, encompassing Brand Strategists, Brand Communicators, Brand Marketers, Designers, Ethnographers, among others.
And I thought it’d be interesting to peek inside their minds and delve into their thinking. See their craft and how they work their magic into building compelling brands.
Here’s a look at formulating a Brand Strategy, as seen through the eyes of Houston-based Adhere Creative. I chose to post it as they take a very similar approach to mine, asking clients – in brutal honesty – a few very basic questions that gets the conversation started on helping clients develop a Brand Strategy.
The 3 key elements to a brand development strategy:
1. Who are you?
This seems like it would be an easy assignment, but for some companies, this is a hurdle they don’t even want to think about. Companies evolve over time and who your company is today may not be who it was at its inception, or who it may be in the near future.
Companies evolve to improve efficiency, to increase their relevance with their target market, or to zero in on a totally new type of customer. Although it is essential for the longevity of a company for this evolution to take place, it is equally as critical that the brand reflects these changes.
The first step in developing a brand is to clearly define your brand and what is stands for. After all, how can you communicate the value of your brand if you don’t have a solid understanding to base it on?
2. Who needs to know?
This is another way of asking “Who is your target market?”. I prefer to ask “Who needs to know your brand’s message?”.
When I ask companies about their target market, I get far too many broad, all encompassing nets thrown out. “Everyone” is not an acceptable response to the question.
Create a “perfect customer” profile. When developing a brand, it should be crafted to speak to this perfect customer.
Write down every relevant element of this customer’s persona. Age, sex, ethnicity, education, are all common attributes, but each industry will have a few additional criteria that may come into play.
Don’t leave out any detail in your initial assessment. You can always refine it down later. Also, keep in mind that you are only profiling one perfect customer. It is ok and normal to have more than one customer profile, just be sure that you have separate profiles for each customer persona.
Each different persona may be attracted to your brand for different reasons, and may be seeking different benefits from your offering. Knowing your different customer profiles will allow you to craft messages that speak directly to them, and will enable you to showcase the relevant valuable aspects of your offering to different customer personas.
3. Why should they care?
Well, now that you know who you are, and who your perfect customer is, it’s time to figure out the last piece to the puzzle; what’s in it for them?
Take a look at your different customer personas. What motivates these people to buy? Write down every purchase motivator you can think of for each persona. These motivators should be at the core of every message to that group of potential customers.
Some motivators are more powerful than others. Finding the most powerful motivators to focus on is paramount. The best way to find them is to use real data.
Make a list of some of your best existing customers that match each persona. Create a survey for each group and let your existing client base lead you to what actually made them select you over your competition.