Business owners often use the terms brand and logo interchangeably. While a logo is an essential part of your brand, it is not enough to stand out. Brand building is a multi-layered process, requiring lots of analyzing, testing, and updating. In this article, we cover a few actionable tips on building brand identity in 2021.
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Perform a Detailed Target Market Research
Do not build your brand on guesswork. Your brand presence needs to evoke positive emotions and be optimized for its target audiences. That is why every decision you make during the process should be data-driven.
Conduct Detailed Audience Research
Familiarize yourself with their values, desires, needs, and pain points. Keep your finger on their pulse. By understanding their general statements towards the industry, you will easily shape a brand that matches their mindsets.
Collect customers’ demographic data, such as customer age, gender, location, education, company title, and income. Pay attention to their psychographic data, such as hobbies, interests, frustrations, etc.
Analyze your Competitors
Analyzing your industry rivals helps you create your brand’s visual identity and determine its personality. The goal is to identify which design and content resonate with your target audience.
On the other hand, only by getting to know your competitors can you create a brand that stands out. By setting your unique set of values, tone of voice, and visual design, you will make your brand memorable and authentic.
Establish your Visuals
When thinking about popular brands, such as Starbucks or FedEx, the first thing that comes to mind is their logos.
Establishing your visual presence is also the most exciting part of the brand-building process.
Your logo design appears on everything related to your company, from a website and social networks to product packaging. As such, it becomes your identity card and the promise of brand quality and trustworthiness.
When choosing the colors, design, fonts, and shapes for your logo, keep in mind what emotions they evoke in customers. If you have no graphic design experience, you can always hire professionals to help you.
Once your logo is all set up, build a brand style guide. It ensures the consistent use of your logo. It should include the following:
- Logo size and placement
- Color palette
- Typography and fonts
- Web elements
Choose a Language your Brand will Use
The tone of voice describes how your brand interacts with its target customers. It has a massive influence on your brand image and impacts how people perceive your company.
Brand tone of voice has multiple aspects, such as the words you choose and the content you deliver.
It can depend on a wide range of factors, such as your target audiences, the goal you want to achieve, and the marketing channels you use.
Your company needs a consistent tone of voice for multiple reasons, including:
- Building connection with customers.
- Gaining customer trust.
- Increasing business revenue.
- Creating a memorable brand presence.
The choice of your tone of voice relies on your buyer personas. Namely, the goal is to perform detailed audience analysis and determine how your customers interact with similar brands. Analyze their jargon, use of emoticons, etc.
Build Message Architecture
For starters, consider your brand stakeholders. Determine who you are and who you are not. Focus on how you want people to perceive you. For example, you may want your fashion brand to be trusted, serve women over 30, and have a global reach.
Define your Tone of Voice
Analyze the content and messaging you have published so far. Ask yourself how you sound right now. How does your current tone of voice stand compared to what you want to sound like?
When defining your tone of voice, try to describe your brand’s traits first. For example, is it a high-end business serving exclusive clients or an affordable business targeting wider audiences?
In the first case, you want your tone of voice to be professional, formal, respectful, and data-driven. For more laid-back brands, the goal is to appear funny, casual, and enthusiastic to attract younger audiences.
Give the brand tone of voice a chart. Consider how its different traits and emotions overlap or oppose. The goal is to refine brand voice by choosing the right words.
Most importantly, include your brand tone of voice in your brand style guide. It needs to remain consistent across all marketing channels you use, both online and offline.
Establish a Recognizable Online Brand
The internet improves customer experiences in multiple ways. They can find local businesses faster and purchase from global brands in just a few clicks. Above all, they can compare products and pricing and connect with brands across multiple channels.
Not to mention that, amid the Coronavirus pandemic, customers are getting more tech-savvy than ever.
Therefore, when we say that digital presence can make or break your company’s success, we are not exaggerating at all.
Start by building a solid website. It is your company’s ID.
Before you start thinking of the website’s visual design and content, consider your domain name. The domain name needs to align with your brand name. It is the first thing users come across when visiting your website.
Keep your domain name simple, authentic, and recognizable. Above all, make sure it is easy to remember. Avoid using numbers or punctuation symbols that may confuse users and compromise brand memorability.
If your domain name has been already taken, consider shifting from .com to another TLD. For example, many bloggers and solopreneurs use the .me TLD when choosing a personal domain name. It humanizes their brand presence and builds trust with audiences. Many businesses, such as Safer.me or Remotify.me, use this ccTLD to create a brand call to action.
As per your website design, keep it in line with brand visuals and messaging. Ensure it is simple and user-friendly. Use simple fonts, leave a lot of white space, and include high-quality visuals. To boost brand credibility, have a blog section and a detailed “About Me/Us” page. Publish customer reviews and testimonials, too.
The Brand-Building Mistakes to Avoid
Here are a few common mistakes businesses make when building brand identity.
Do not Send Audiences Mixed Messages
As mentioned above, the goal is to build a recognizable and memorable brand.
Make sure your content always reflects your brand values, attitudes, and goals.
Know what you want to say and use your tone of voice and visuals to say it.
Once you build your brand style guidelines, ensure all your teams, from content developers and social media strategists to customer service, stick to them.
Never Copy your Competitors
Is there a business in your niche that rocks branding and marketing? You may be tempted to copy them.
In the crowded business landscape, make sure your brand stands out. Put a twist on your branding and make your business different from everything and everyone in your industry.
Only that way will you be able to stand out, grab audience attention, and inspire them to purchase from you.
Do not Lose Brand Consistency
Many businesses, especially ones that have been investing in print advertising for years, fail to align traditional marketing with their online counterpart.
Consistency is crucial to boosting brand awareness and memorability.
Your print materials may look a bit different than your website or social media presence. However, your logo, colors, fonts, themes, and messaging need to remain consistent.
That is why building a thorough brand style guide is essential for your brand-building efforts.
Monitor your Brand and Update its Identity
Similar to other aspects of your marketing, data analysis is vital to brand building. It may be hard to know what you are doing right or wrong without setting clear goals, choosing metrics, and continuously tracking your key performance indicators.
Start by using website analytics tools to understand how people interact with your brand. For example, if your blog article generates a lot of traffic, but people do not scroll through it, like it, or share it, it is time to consider your language and visuals.
Also, keep track of customer feedback.
For example, conduct customer surveys to measure their engagement and brand sentiment. NPS surveys are a great way to determine how likely customers are to recommend your brand to their friends.
You can also monitor social media discussions. To stay on top of all brand and hashtag mentions, invest in a social media listening solution, such as Hootsuite. When someone mentions the keyword you are tracking, the tool will automatically notify you.
Once you collect customer feedback, do not ignore it. Use it to keep improving your brand identity and adapting it to customer needs. Once you align your brand presence with audience values and expectations, you will become more than just a name and a logo to them.
Branding is one of the most vital steps to take when starting a new business or revamping the existing one. It increases brand awareness, builds trust with target audiences, and maximizes brand stickiness and authenticity in the hypercompetitive business landscape.