The brand is something beyond the physical. It goes beyond your products, beyond your services, beyond your team, and more. It’s the impression that it gives, it’s how people think of your business, and it’s how much worth and weight its name carries. But that doesn’t mean that it’s some arcane magic that no-one can understand. In fact, it’s easy enough to find the building blocks of a great brand. Here, we’re going to look at what they are.
The brand story
Your brand story isn’t about how you climbed up a mountain to discover the sacred texts that led you to develop your business strategy. It’s not an origin story, nor is it a personal story. It can be informed by those, but a great brand story is about why the business is here to deliver what it delivers. It’s about the need for the business, the obstacle or desire that your customer base has, and how you’ve come to position yourself in the best place to fix it. It’s a statement of not how the company exists, but why it exists, and the motivations that are going to lead its growth in future. It’s a combination of your unique value proposition and a bit of emotional storytelling that goes beyond practicality alone.
Never let anyone tell you that brand visuals don’t matter. The designs we choose and use, the logo, the style that carries across the website, across marketing materials, and elsewhere sets the scene and mood for the business. Truly professional designs make a big difference. If a business looks amateurish, it will be treated as such. Working with companies that provide graphic design as a service can help you nail down a brand visual bible that can help you define your look. From there, you should consistently stick to that look. You can evolve and change it as time goes on, but this should always be informed by changes that are happening in the business, as well. You don’t want a mish-mash of different visual styles confusing your messaging.
The brand is also your customers and those who connect and communicate with your team on a regular basis. This is shown in how effective word-of-mouth is. Nothing sells a business better than a happier customer. The internet has made it easier to interact and integrate your customers and fans into your brand, especially thanks to social media marketing. Getting their feedback, publicly responding to their issues, and even using them as a source of user-generated content can create a community around your business. That positive social proof of your company’s success is a very convincing kind of evidence, indeed.
The expertise, the education, and the experience that help deliver your products and services are just as much a part of your brand. Any business can market as being the experts in such and such, but it’s becoming a lot easier to prove it, as of late, as well. That’s one of the big benefits of running a business blog for your brand. You can write informative, educational content about the principles your business runs on, the services you provide, and offer advice and answer common questions that are relevant to your customers and what you do. Besides showing off your experience and insight, it’s also great for improving your search engine marketing, so it’s a win all around. Content marketing is the present and future of branding, so don’t neglect it.
Your experience isn’t the only one that matters. Your customers’ experience of the business is what shapes their personal interpretation of the brand, as well. You can talk about how helpful you are and how much your team cares about your customers, but your user experience has to mirror that. For instance, you have to make sure you have adequate customer support channels on the website. You have to ensure the navigation of your site is also clean and simple, so customers can easily find what they’re looking and what you’re purporting to provide. Naturally, good customer experience is dictated by how you treat the staff that’s supporting them, as well. If you don’t invest in your team, they won’t invest in your customers.
Managing your brand over time isn’t easy. You have to think carefully about the kind of business you want to be and make sure that you make choices that sustain that brand over time. Betraying the brand is betraying the customer’s expectations and trust, which is rarely an effective business strategy.