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Over the past few episodes, we've mentioned branding numerous times and so we wanted to delve into the basics with this episode.
We crammed a lot into this episode and we didn't even finish! There is so much to talk about branding, it's impossible to cover it in one episode. For the full post below, we've compiled some handy questions and resources to help you develop your brand.
- How you can develop your brand with a branding workshop
- Finding your purpose and writing your mission statement (many times)
- Doing some market research to understand your brand within your industry
- Identify your competitors and define your opportunities
- Understand your target audience and develop an audience profile to be able to connect with them
- How to creating your brand persona
- What questions you need to ask when telling your brand story on social media
Creating your brand strategy: how to develop your brand
A brand sells your products and services while you sleep, creating emotional connections between your business and target audience. Your customers ultimately buy from you based on the connection they’ve made with you.
Your brand is what your customers think of you without giving you much thought at all - it’s their first impression, it’s what others are saying, it’s their experiences with your brand.
Your business has its own brand, whether you have taken the time to create one or not. This is why it’s important to take the time to deep dive into all aspects of your business and craft a brand from the ground up.
This episode delves into the basics of developing your brand strategy, focusing on:
- Developing your brand further with a branding workshop
- Writing your mission statement
- Conducting market research
- Understanding your target audience and developing an audience profile
- Creating your brand persona
- Communicating your brand story on social media
There are many aspects of branding and it’s an extensive topic. These basics will give you what you need to help you understand your brand within your industry, learn how to communicate to your target audience and create the basis of your brand strategy.
It’s easy to get excited when starting a new venture, jumping right into focusing on the visual aspects of your brand such as logos, colours and a website. Many people underestimate the power of brand and brand storytelling and often times, we have a folks that walk through our doors needing to go back a few steps and run a brand workshop to help develop their brand.
A brand workshop is an intensive way to develop and create your brand, before you even get to designing what your brand looks like. It’ll help you determine your position within your industry, give you better understanding of your target audience and the people you are serving and help you to develop a brand persona in order to create the emotional connection with them.
It can be difficult to create an effective brand strategy for your own business, as it’s harder to take a objective stance and truly define the difference between yourself as a person and your brand. A branding workshop can ask the questions, give you homework to take away and eventually, create a brand that is a true reflection of your goals. It then drives everything that you do and how you communicate with the world.
Writing your mission statement & finding your purpose
A mission statement defines the purpose of your brand. It ultimately drives your brand and everything that you do.
We’ve all been told that in the beginning of creating a brand, we start with a mission statement, followed closely by vision and values. This can be one of the most difficult things to do without first clearly understanding who you are as a brand, your target audience and what problems you are solving for them, all voiced by your brand persona.
Let’s take a couple of steps back here: you already have a good understanding of your business or what it is that you want to sell which is a good base. Write down a draft mission statement, vision and values before taking the deep dive into your brand (or before a brand workshop) and revise it later.
Questions to ask:
Why does your business exist?
What does it do?
Who does it wish to serve?
How will you achieve your goals?
Conducting market research before embarking on visual branding of your business helps determine your position in the market as well as identifying the story that you want to tell.
You want to be able to understand who you are in relation to your industry and what opportunities you have available to you. At this stage, you’d generally have a good idea of your business and offerings which will be the starting point of your research. It’s unlikely that your business idea is extremely niche without any data that you could draw from. This will help you to define any potential issues you may face, but also the opportunities available to you.
Question to ask:
What is the current state of your industry?
Identify your your competitors and their products, service offerings and positioning. Take note of these, because it will help you to identify what they are doing, and how you can offer something even better than they do.
Questions to ask:
- Who are my competitors?
- What do they offer?
- What is their brand positioning and personality?
- Who is their target audience?
Understanding your target market
Ultimately, people buy from you - the person or persona of the brand - because they feel connected to you and as though you truly understand their needs. The best way to create this connection is to have a better understanding of who they actually are, what their values and interests are.
How to create a target profile
You can create a target audience profile using these insights:
- If you’re an existing business, your current customers can help create a target audience profile such as age, occupation, interests and pain points
- Your products and services can help you determine your target audience. This will be the key to etching out your demographics
- With this general idea, figure out their key concerns, what they value, their interests and what they currently value.
- Use Facebook Audience Insights to understand their interests (we delve into this in Episode 2)
Questions to ask:
- Who are the people we want to serve?
- What keeps them up at night (their pain points)?
- What do they value, what are their interests?
- How will your product/service give them a solution?
The real opportunity for feedback will be when you take your brand to market, because no amount of market research is going to help you truly understand how people connect with your brand until that time. You’ll be able to use this data to make adjustments to your understanding of your target audience.
Your brand persona
Creating a consistent message and tone to communicate with your audience will develop the continuity of your brand storytelling, and connect with your audience. This can be developed with the deep dive into the persona of your brand after you understand how to communicate with your audience.
This is why a brand workshop can be incredibly important, as an outside party can offer insights into your brand that you may not have thought of. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you and your brand are identical in the way you speak, the way you look and the way you interact. You’ll find that your products, services and unique selling proposition will determine your brand persona, meaning that you and your brand will be two entirely different entities.
Questions to ask:
- If the brand were a person, what would its personality be?
- What are the characteristics of the brand?
- If the brand were a person, how would it express its individuality?
Scott Thomas, the creative mind behind the Obama ‘08 campaign, has created Brand Deck - a deck of cards that helps you figure out your brand. You can find out more here: https://branding.cards/
Social media is an effective tool for increasing brand awareness.
To create a social media strategy for your brand, it’s important to make sure that your messaging is consistent across all platforms by:
- Understanding how people use various platforms and creating content to match this communication style
- Review what your competition is doing, what they’re currently posting and how they are engaging with their target audience
- Referring back to your brand persona and target audience personas. This will help keep your language and content consistent
It’s also helpful to set up clear goals for your social media strategy, so that you are able to track the effectiveness of your content, and can help shape future content. It’s also key at helping you understand your audience and further developing your audience profiles.
Questions to ask:
- What is the message I want to convey and the story I want to tell?
- Does this post give value to my target audience?
- Does this post match my brand voice and style?
- What is the goal of this post?
Where to from here?
We’ve talked about some very basic branding exercises that will help you to etch your brand, but there is much more to discuss! We’ve linked a few resources to help you on your way:
- The old favourite: Purple Cow by Seth Godin
- Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing by Bernadette Jiwa
- Brand Deck by Scott Thomas
If you've got questions, remember that we're only a click away.