Building a strong, stable and memorable brand is no easy task. It takes time, a well-planned strategy and a laser-like focus on the fundamentals in order to create a brand that consumers will come to know and trust. Below are three tips to keep in mind as you build and expand your brand.
Define your Brand and Stay on Target
The market is broad, and it’s easy to get lost in the sea of possibilities of what your brand can offer to various consumer bases. Attempting to be everything to everyone often means brands spread themselves too thin, and in the process weaken the brand message. Though it’s a challenge to narrow down your focus to a handful of key elements, identifying these targets early on and sticking to them will help you build a strong foundation for your brand to build on.
What does your company excel in? What are the unique qualities of your brand that make it competitive in your market? Whittle this list down to one or two key ideas and focus on creating brand messaging that drives this home to your customer base. The most effective brands distill their messaging into one instantly recognizable key concept that is translated into an effective brand message.
Successful brands everywhere incorporate essence in their messaging. Wal-Mart, for example, identifies the essence of their brand in the slogan “Save More. Live Better.” “Live Better” juxtaposes with the pragmatic differentiator they actually offer, “Save More.” Though “Save More” is what people are doing when they shop at Wal-Mart, people emotionally connect with the essence of “Live Better” in a way that is stronger, and more powerful. “Save More” is the functional benefit that leads to something emotionally compelling, “Live Better.” For StickerYou, our brand message is encapsulated in our slogan Make What Matters Stick, which underscores that we not only provide stickers for customers, we provide ways for them to highlight what matters in their lives in unique and compelling ways using our products.
Even as your company expands and new products are added to the roster, marketing strategies for new products and services should hit the same brand message.
Define and Refine Your Customer Base
Just as your products and offerings may develop and change over time, so too can your customer base. Continual definition and redefinition of your target audience is pivotal to the success of your business and the strength of your brand. Market research is an ongoing process and, with a myriad of sales tracking technologies to choose from, doesn’t have to be unaffordable.
What you discover when you pay attention to your customer base may surprise you. StickerYou was the first website worldwide to offer customers the ability to customize die-cut stickers and initially, we assumed our main customer base was children and cartoon/anime enthusiasts. However, we soon saw an influx of B2B clients ordering our products. We followed up that observation with more structured market research and went on to shift our focus from B2C to B2B clientele as that was where our most viable and profitable customer base existed.
Challenging our assumptions about our customer base and monitoring who was buying our products allowed us to effectively respond to this new demographic, and in the process strengthen our brand and business.
Monitor Customer Behavior
Once you’ve established who your customer base is, it’s important to monitor how they are engaging with your business and your product. In most industries target demographics often remain stable, while audience behavior moves more fluidly and is subject to change. Especially in today’s hypermediated world, it’s imperative to continually measure customer preferences and engagement in order to stay on top of what your target demographic desires, and how to most efficiently get them the services and information and products they need from you. Audiences move from media platform to media platform quickly, and even small disruptions in your online services or digital marketing strategies can result in a drop in consumer engagement and sales.
Use monitoring services such as Google Analytics to dive deep into the online consumer experience, discover how your customers are finding you, and where along the funnel you are gaining or losing them. The answers you discover may surprise you, but will be crucial in determining your marketing strategy moving forward.
One of the most efficient ways to find out what your customers think of your brand or how they engage with your business is also the most direct: just ask. You can use online feedback surveys, customer service helplines and, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, ask them in-store what they like or dislike about their shopping experience and if there’s anything that can be improved upon.
Building a strong brand means knowing your product and creating strong, targeted brand messaging and essence based on this knowledge that speaks to a specific customer base that behaves in ways that you are continually monitoring.
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