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You’ve finally come up with it, the idea that’s going to let you work from home and earn money on your own time. You’ve developed a product or service that you know there is a demand for that only you can meet.
Branding: What It Is and What It Does
In the world of business, branding is one of those words that gets thrown around so much that not everyone is always clear on just what we mean when we talk about branding.
And it’s understandable why “Branding” remains such a nebulous concept.
We can be talking about branding when discussing your website, your product itself, your advertising campaign, or your logo; they all tie into what your brand stands for, which can mean different things to different people.
What matters is that you are putting out a coherent brand message through a comprehensive brand strategy. So, let’s take a look at…
5 Ways to Develop Your Brand Strategy
1. What is Your Purpose as a Business?
For a long time, brands were defined first and foremost by the promise they made to their customers.
Be it the fastest delivery time, the longest-lasting product, or the most up-to-date sci-fi news, a brand is often defined in its customers’ eyes by not just what it promises, but what its very purpose is for existing.
All the above-mentioned “promises” are a dime a dozen when you get right down to it.
According to Allen Adamson, “Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose.”
What is your very reason for turning on your computer in the morning and getting to work? Answer that for yourself and your employees so that they know why you are there and what is expected from them.
This ensures a consistent brand message.
2. Who is Your Audience?
Understanding who your target and existing audience will help you to both guide your brand strategy and refine your brand message.
In fact, we’ve covered three ways to conduct an in-depth analysis of your audience and when you boil it down it’s rather quite simple.
Listen to your audience, either by reading the comments and email feedback you get or by soliciting their opinions via a survey.
Look into what other sites they are visiting and see what you offer that is different, better, and/or inferior and start making the necessary improvements.
And lastly, create a steady stream of content aimed at your audience and measure which pieces perform the best.
By nailing down the topics and issues your audience cares about the most, you can develop your brand strategy to its optimal state.
3. Consistency in Message
When you’re just starting out as a home business, it’s relatively easy to make sure your brand message is the same or similar across every channel, from your website to social media.
But as your company grows and you start to employ other people, one of the first things that can be jeopardized is the consistency of your brand message.
By bringing in other people, you’re also bringing in their perception of what your brand stands for, especially if you don’t provide them with the proper guidelines.
Create a guide establishing your brand voice (your message) and tone (the way you deliver it, from templates for Tweets to sample blog posts.)
4. Tell Your Story
Now, this part you’re likely familiar with. After all, it can seem like every successful business has a story.
It can seem like every successful business has a rags-to-riches story that’s inspiring and engaging for the audience. However, a company’s brand narrative is something that is developed and refined for as long as that company exists.
When telling your brand narrative, decide just how much you want to make yourself the star of the story.
Think about it; are you a Colonel Sanders or Steve Jobs, or is your brand story better represented by a mascot or commercial featuring actors?
Either way, you’re going to want your brand story to reflect just what’s special about you and your purpose as a company so make sure it’s unique and has a hook that customers can easily relate to.
5. Reinforce Customer Loyalty
Behind any great brand is the same thing: the customers that have stayed loyal to a company and what it stands for years and will continue to do so as long as no matter how much you change and grow as a business, you always stay true to your brand strategy, starting with your purpose and extending to your audience, message, and narrative.
Get creative when it comes to this step because, in 2017, customers can spot a fake a mile away.
If you’re insincere or in it only for the money, that’s going to come across to customers and you won’t attract the loyal types of customers that are the backbone of any successful enterprise.
So continually develop your brand strategy and voice to hone your message and how you present it. Once you have a working plan in order, then you’re ready to start tackling the big stuff!