Firstly, what IS a branding?
Similar to you and I, brands have identities that tell people what their businesses are about. Brands refer to the personality and the visual appearance of the business (e.g. logos and designs).
Today, we're going to cover what you should consider when developing your brand identity.
There are three areas to consider when branding your business:
Let's break it down below.
When branding your business, it's important to examine the other competitors in the market. The goal of examining the market is to see what other competitors are saying and what you can say differently to stand out.
Conduct your research on your competitors':
Social media channels
Ask yourself these questions when researching other competitors:
What are they saying on their communication platforms?
What are they championing as their unique selling points?
What are the personalities you are sensing from your competitors?
What products/services do they offer?
What does their pricing look like?
Once you're done with your research, identify 2 (or 4, depicted below) brand messages that are trending amongst your competitors and draw a competitor map with the brand messages you've identified. Plot down your competitors based on how they have positioned themselves in the market. Take a look at the example below:
Once you've plotted down the competitors on your map, identify the gaps in the market. These gaps are your new opportunities that could set your business apart and be different. To decide on where in the market you should position yourself, you'll need to reflect on what your organization can deliver, and what your audience's needs and wants are- we will touch on these below.
Your audience's needs and wants will play a key role in informing how you should angle your brand. What are they looking for when they are looking for your type of product or service? How can we create a brand that resonates with them?
There are a few ways to go about it:
Social listening - If you have the budget for it, there are plenty of paid social listening tools that you can purchase to observe how and what people are talking about online, in relation to your brand topic. If you don't have the budget for it, you can do this manually by typing in related queries on Facebook, Reddit, Google etc. Read reviews on your competitors' brand products/services. What are people loving? What are people disliking?
Conduct surveys - Depending on your budget, this survey can be done with 1,000+ participants using a third-party partner, or you can conduct a survey with your own network/current clientele. The latter is a budget-friendly option, however, keep in mind that it will be slightly biased/skewed.
Conduct interviews - If you have existing clients, get on a call with them and get their opinion on what they think your differentiator is, why they decided to choose your business and how they would describe your business.
The most crucial part of your brand is why your business exists and what your organization can actually offer. For example, if you are branding yourself as the most sustainable organization in your industry but do not implement any sustainable practices in your process, that would be false advertising.
Your brand's 'why'
Building your brand based on the 'why' behind your organization is the driver to success. What is your brand's why? Ask yourself, why does my business exist? Think outside of monetary reasons, think of the emotional reason why it exists. What problem are you solving in the world? In society?
Using your brand's why (also known as brand purpose) to drive your business actions is more likely to help you gain brand loyalty and market share. In a 2018 American study done by Porter Novelli and Cone, they discovered:
63% of consumers would choose purpose-based brands over other brands.
80% of consumers say when they buy a product from a purpose-driven company, they feel they are doing some part in making a positive impact.
66% of Americans would switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a purpose-driven company.
To learn more about brand purpose, read about it on my brand page.
What your organization can actually offer
List out all the features of your organization that make it great. This includes what your brand can offer that others can't. Here are some thought starters:
What ingredients are your products made of?
What does your production process look like?
How would you describe the customer experience that you deliver?
What do you help your clients do to ensure a successful outcome?
After researching and examining all the three areas mentioned above, it's time to put it all together and determine your brand message. Need help with that? Contact me here.
I would like to caution you that if you are conducting all the above research by yourself, there will most likely be a biased aspect to the brand that may hinder the strategy outcome. From the knowledge bias you already have of your competitors' brands, to the interviews you conduct with existing customers, it can be challenging to create a strong brand.
This is why hiring a brand strategist can play a key role in providing an objective perspective and solution to your brand.
Once you've developed the first part of your brand identity, you can move on to the brand visuals. Check out how you can create a logo here.
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