After reading Brand Advertising and New Age Marketing by Ayo Alex Alao, and trying out the many branding strategies written in there, we couldn’t help but run here to share! We admit that there are some really great branding books out there that would give you your money’s worth, but not many capture the necessities that small businesses starting out, need to carve a space for themselves in the digital market, and with a comprehensive guide on personal and corporate branding.
Branding, according to the author is ‘owning’ a perception in the mind of a person. Simply put, it is the art of being Top of Mind. Your brand identity, on the other hand, comprises a set of creative elements that feed into the branding process. These elements include your logo, graphics, social accounts, website, broadcast messages, etc.
What do you have resident in the mind of people when your brand is mentioned? Is your brand at the ‘top’ of their minds when they suddenly need a product or service you offer? What brand comes to mind when you think of online shopping in Nigeria or globally? Definitely Jumia, Konga, Alibaba or Amazon. That is because these companies have branded themselves well over the years s much that they are now top of your mind. Well isn’t that what you also want to achieve with your business, which is why you’re reading this article at the moment?
Enough of the talks, let’s now put you through tested ways to brand your business properly and do so perfectly from the scratch! But first, you must remember that a brand without an online presence is like a plane that cannot fly. It’s not going to get anywhere. It won’t leave the ground, to begin with. Of course, as we mentioned here, offline branding marketing helps a lot, but if you must succeed in the business world today, you need a diversified array of digital branding tools and services to cement your real-world presence.
Things To Note:
1. Strive to be memorable, think outside the box.
2. Be consistent, put your business in people’s faces, however, all the time.
3. Build and maintain relationships with your audience, don’t just sell.
4. Do not be too ‘sale-sy’, sell without selling, i.e sell without being irritating and too persistent.
Knowing and defining who you are and what you do is the first step in creating a successful brand. How well do you understand and communicate this;
- Brand Purpose: That involves letting people know what you do and why you are doing it.
- Unique Selling Point (USP): What stands the brand out from other brands in the market?
- Target Audience: Who are your offerings for? When, how and why do they need your offer?
- Solution: What problem are you solving for your audience?
- Brand Identity: This includes core values and brand elements, style and voice.
What A Brand Entails
There are six primary characteristics that ought to align properly when it comes to branding. The bid to sync these characteristics is what births other components we would discuss shortly. We like to view this alignment as a structure that keeps the brand consistent in communicating a unified message.
- Visual Facet – this is the visual manifestation of the brand, in elements like logos, colours, graphics and brand image itself
- Brand Personality – this the personality perceived by consumers. Could be through the brand voice, or brand mannerisms.
- Brand Values – the brand’s principles and values
- Brand Relationships – brand communication with the audience, whether on or offline.
- Customer Self Image – the way a customer perceives him or herself in relation to your brand offerings
- Customer Reflection – perception about consumers who use your brand
The key to a successful brand is making your customers believe that your brand is made solely for them as individuals, and the way you engage and communicate with them would influence that belief. They must also believe that your brand is second to none and that if they aren’t getting your offerings they are losing out on a lot. This is easily achievable through corporate introspection, consultancy and expertise from agencies set up for the very purpose of helping your brand grow and putting out a favourable brand image for your business (Keep reading to learn more).
How To Brand Effectively
1. Get A Logo
Your brand logo should be the sole image a customer associates first and foremost with your brand. Think Nike and you see the huge check sign. Think Apple and your mind instantly conjures the apple fruit. Think Facebook and the letter ‘F’ pops into your mind. The same way your logo should someone thinks of your brand. One more thing; your logo should match your business personality, industry, target audience, and portray your values as well. You do not necessarily have to get a flashy logo. If it’s tied to your brand you can make it as memorable as possible, so that it leaves an impression.
Start by taking a look at the logos of brands in your industry. Do not forget about colour psychology and picking the right colours that can make you stand out and set the mood. Remember to be consistent with this colour scheme across all your branding materials.
2. Get A Website
Simply put, your website is your online house or office. If a potential customer needs to know more about your brand, they first go to google to key in your brand name. What they find, or don’t find, would determine how serious you are and whether or not they want to do business with you. This goes without saying. A website has become more essential for businesses who want to remain relevant in the digital space. Your business’s first interaction with potential customers is more likely to first take place on the internet. And not having an online presence just pushes you off the list of options to be considered. To achieve this online presence and maximise it to the fullest, it is crucial to hire the best creative agency to build it.
This website is sleek and easy to navigate. For us, it gets an A+! Designed by Jetheights.
Effective websites are simple and easy to navigate. Strive to maintain brand consistency with a limited colour scheme that matches or complements your logo. Ensure your brand name and message is visible enough. Keep your pages concise. Take out any irrelevant and unnecessary message.
Lastly, make sure your website is responsive and working perfectly. Test every link, button, image, form and video. Errors make you look like an amateur.
3. Send A Clear Brand Message
Your brand messaging is the information about your brand or services you are trying to push out and how you push it out. Your brand message should not only reflect what your company does but also address your customers’ immediate needs or desires, and it should sound the same across all your platforms, but with respect to the content style of each platform. Thus, your brand message should directly answer the questions; What do you do? What do you stand for? How do you matter?
The brand voice should also align with your company and the kind of services you offer. Selling make up items? Keep your tone playful, trendy and fashionable. Selling to c-suite executives? Tone things down and be professional. Also remember to use a positive tone. It shouldn’t always be about the problems. Let your audience learn from you.
4. Leverage Social Media
You must be wherever your customers are to create a successful brand. Whether its Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Tik Tok. Then, tailor every post you make on your pages to suit them. Like said earlier, you must consider how each platform is used and allow your brand sync into the flow. Tit Tok content tends to be fun, lively. Instagram posts are image-driven and designed to drive likes, shares and comments. Twitter is more of a real-time app people use to react to trending, news or development. Facebook is the king of content. It has little bit of everything you can use to your advantage.
Before you make any posts, plan them accurately, do a proper research on the kind pf content your audience are looking for, questions they need answers too, and then create a content plan that works. Schedule out posts for specific times and dates, do not forget to engage your audience when they like, comment, share and also respond to messages as soon as possible. Also track your progress. Tools like Hootsuite and Google Analytics will help you streamline all your platforms, track engagement, and show you which pages are driving customer action and which ones are falling behind. If you intend to sell on social media, Shopify is a great tool to link potential customers straight to your website’s shopping cart.
5. Advertise Online
Online adverts shouldn’t be limited to your Whatsapp status, Instagram feed, or Facebok feed. With a lot of avenues at your disposal, you can leverage on the power of the web to market your products. Some of the most popular ways are google ads, search engine ads, display ads, retargeted ads, social media ds, mobile feeds and desktop feeds.
Search engine ads allows your website appear at the top of the page on search engines like Google so whenever customers search for the kind products or services you offer, they immediately see you first. Display ads on the other hand, are clickable banners you see on webpages you visit across the internet. Social media ads are ads you find on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, popularly called “sponsored” content. Another way you can do this is by hiring an influencer to post about your products.
Mobile and desktop feed ads appear as “suggested content” on users’ mobile and desktop feeds. They do not scream ‘advert’ like the other kinds of advertising. They have a more natural feel, and fit directly into a feed and simply blend in. Finally, Retargeted ads are those ads that pop up on your apps, webpages and blogs you read immediately after you searched for that very product or service online. You just autimatiovally start seeing the product everywhere. These ads target customers who have already expressed interest in your business or services, either by Googling it, visiting your website or simply liking your page.
6. Use Content Marketing Agressively
Having a website, a social presence and beautiful designs aren’t enough to stand you out or get you to the millions of potential customers out there. It’s also not enough to do periodic advert. You would need to back up those marketing efforts with something as solid as Content Marketing. These days, it’s not enough to simply advertise your product. To create a loyal and returning customer base, you must engage them.That’s where content marketing comes in. Think of it as the human side of your brand. While digital marketing emphasizes sales, your content marketing would emphasize on giving you engagement through blog posts, photos, videos, etc.
If you haven’t started blogging, start now! Doing so would help stimulate interest in your brand and get customers excited about your products and message, and also help you build strong customer relationships.
7. Explore E-mail Marketing
You probably think this isn’t for you just because you think your audience arem’t the type to check their e-mail every now and then. You’re wrong! It doesn’t matter what you sell, if you are online and you have an online following, creating a robust targeted email lists with “leads” who are likely to be converted into web visitors and subscribers would boost your brand growth in no time.
E-mails are an easy way to reach out to customers, most especially those who don’t use social media. You can create a newsletter sign up landing page to gather these leads. Do not forget to use a lead magnet in form of something your audience would find useful. Also, target your emails to specific customer segments. By segments, we mean you should segment your audience in such a way that you can meet them at whatever point they are with your brand. For instance, you can tag new subscribers as ‘new’ and tailor the mails to be sent to them differently from those to be sent to the those who are already used to getting regular mails from you. Include photos, videos and useful information that would sell your offers and also actively engage customers in your brand’s lifestyle.
SEO (search engine optimization) allows your pages to rank higher in search engines such as Google. Because search is one of the main ways in which people discover content online, so, ranking higher in search engines can lead to an increase in traffic to your website. Plus your brand offerings would easily be found by those that actually need them. If you want to leverage on SEO, begin by designing your website with that in mind. SEMTool is one really helpful tool that can help you optimize your website for SEO.
Also, do not forget to include a good number of active links through your content, linking to both to your own internal pages and external ones too. This would help your site appear higher up in search results.
Other things to consider when branding your business include; influencer marketing, video marketing, and media buying. These steps are a must if you intend to build a successful brand online and get your business to the right audience.
DID YOU FIND THIS HELPFUL? If yes, share with someone that might need to see this!