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Brand is everything.
Brand is what your customers think of you.
Brand is the personality of your business that customers can relate to.
Business is no longer just about selling the product to the customers. It’s about being able to relate to them and create bonds that go beyond finalizing a transaction.
In this article, I will highlight things you need to pay attention to in order to create a successful and strong brand!
1. Be trustworthy!
The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer indicated that people’s trust levels towards businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and media hit its lowest since 2009. In 16 out of 27 countries, which were measured in the study have shown decreases in trust, with the majority of countries having less than 50% of trusting populations.
Edelman’s 2016 Trust Barometer has shown some improvement in all areas, but the issue still exists. How can your business avoid falling into the pit of not being trustworthy?
Your business’s profile and occupation define what your customers will expect from you. For example, if you’re an independent coffee roaster, people would probably really appreciate you being passionate about the subject matter. That can be expressed by the most basic things like knowing your beans, but also by more sophisticated, like trying out new methods of brewing and constantly improving your techniques.
Customers are not stupid. They will recognize a passionate person from someone who’s just in it for the money or because a certain business field is currently trendy. Make sure to clearly display your dedication as well as your vision, values, and mission!
Big corporations like McDonald’s or Facebook can stir up a lot of controversies. The recent and ongoing scandal around the US Presidential Elections, in which Facebook had been accused of allowing the Russians to meddle with targeted ads is certainly not good PR and definitely, a factor that might decrease the amount of trust people give the biggest social media network.
When it comes to small businesses transparency, successful brand creation is not burdened with such high-level risks. However, no matter what is the size of your company, when customers feel that you are hiding something from them or playing unfair, they will think twice before doing business with you. Remember that your business is worth as much as your customers think of it. You should treat it as a glowing red warning sign and a call to change, if they don’t think highly of your practices.
Creation of a successful and trustworthy brand largely depends on the two factors described above. Delivering what you’ve promised, staying true to your customers and being passionate is what really matters. Today’s business is not only about selling products. While this is obviously crucial, creating meaningful relationships with your customers is where it’s at. Every time a person visits your shop, contacts you via email or sees your post on social media, they want to feel like talking to a friend.
2. Successful brand creation depends on using various communication channels
You are a passionate person who owns a transparent business. That’s amazing! But what’s the use of all your care and passion if people simply don’t know about you? You need to let them know that you are out there and that you are fantastic!
Use social media
Nowadays, a business without social media is not likely to survive. Everyone is either on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or LinkedIn (usually on all of them at once!). These are therefore your best shots at getting out there and letting your potential customers know that you offer something special.
Reply to the comments your customers leave! Not only can it solve any issues they might have, but most importantly, it makes people feel like there’s an actual physical person behind the business!
Social media channels are also amazing tools for creating your brand identity. There are no limits as to what you can post (as long as it’s in good taste of course!). You can make it very personal, by turning your feed into a kind of a business diary or share helpful and valuable content – there are literally no limits! What’s amazing about social media is that you can use each network for different things. I am going to briefly outline the best use for the three most important platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
With its enormous user base, Facebook is an amazing tool for establishing your business’s online presence.
With a focus on the visual side, Instagram is a perfect tool for businesses in industries such as food, design or art. People simply like looking at pretty pictures! What is more, hashtags really matter on Instagram and using them correctly can boost your exposure.
Because of its 140 characters per post limit, Twitter is a perfect platform for sharing quick updates, notes or insights. Similarly to Instagram, hashtags can make a huge difference!
Other tools that are worth considering when it comes to social media are Facebook Messenger bot and Facebook Ads for your PPC campaign.
Use email marketing
There are almost three billion email users and the number is still rising. It would be silly not to tap into this enormous resource of potential customers! Although email marketing has its drawbacks (like a 20% message opening threshold), it can still be an incredibly effective online marketing strategy.
As a strategy based on lead generation, email marketing can be used for sending out newsletters or personalized messages with latest deals, offers or discount vouchers.
Utilize the potential of Facebook groups
Facebook groups can be really focused and specific in their themes. You will definitely be able to find one that encompasses your niche or location (or both!).
Use them to get yourself out there, find new customers and establish yourself as an expert in discussions!
3. Reflect the character of your business with design and communication style
A consulting firm would not go for flashy in-your-face website design. They’d rather use toned colors that would give out their sophistication. A hip restaurant would not use formal language in their website descriptions and social media posts. They’d communicate using slang, jokes and informal expressions.
Your logo, communication style, and website design have all a great impact on a successful brand creation. They need to reflect your business. Some say that a website is like an online business card – nothing truer than that! But same goes for your communication channels. A customer visiting your website, your social networks or opening an email from you, needs to feel like they are talking to someone they know.
There’s nothing worse than a business design that’s all over the place. Your logo doesn’t fit the colors on the website, your language of communication is different every week, the graphics on your newsletters are like Rembrandt one day and van Gogh on another. Customers don’t like that. They like thought out and consistent businesses.
The easiest way to show consistency is to look at thematic Instagram accounts. Have a look here. What you see is a collection of photographs done in the same fashion. Each of them is unique and tells a different story, but when looked at in bulk, they are extremely pleasing to the eye. In short, the Symmetry Breakfast Instagram is extremely consistent – it’s something you need to strive for to ensure a successful brand creation!
4. Follow the trends
It doesn’t mean you should jump on bandwagons of what’s currently popular. If that was the case, then everyone would just set up tech startups! What I mean by following the trends is making sure that you’re on top of the most effective strategies to get your brand out there.
Nowadays, the video content is the next biggest thing. Videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined, they increase your organic traffic from search engines by 157% and attract twice or thrice more monthly visitors to your website.
Another huge thing, which has only just emerged is the live video. It’s an amazing way to get really personal with your customers. One of the most popular live video format is the Q&A – it allows your customers to really get to know your business and most importantly, the people behind it!
Staying on top of what’s going on is crucial for a successful brand creation. You can’t use out-of-date methods – they may no longer be effective, which means your competition will gain. Also, as I’ve shown by the above stats, new technologies can get you more exposure and conversions.
5. Target your presence
Another part of a successful brand creation is making sure you know where to go to find customers.
Truly successful businesses favor setting down for a niche instead of pleasing everyone. That means they have to carefully pick the places to advertise and promote themselves.
This refers to online marketing – picking the right Facebook groups, using the right hashtags and keywords. It is also applicable for the real-time on-the-ground marketing – attending networking meetings, thematic fairs, etc.
You are simply not able to be everywhere. And that’s fine. Not everyone will need your products or services. That’s why you need to recognize the places where your potential customers might be and target them!
6. Make sure people can find you
What’s all the successful brand creation for, if people cannot locate you? This refers to both the online and physical world. How to ensure that your business is findable?
Pick a right name
Easier said than done!
Try not to go for a weird sounding name – make sure it’s easy to remember. In this case, short names are generally better. This is not to say that long business names are bad, but as a matter of fact, they might be harder to memorize.
Coming up with a name for your business can be a long and tough process, but it is absolutely vital for a successful brand creation!
A good method to come up with a name for your business is to list all the things that describe your business and narrow it down leaving only the most essential words and phrases – they might be the perfect building blocks of your business’s name!
Make sure that your “Contact Us” section contains all the necessary information
So often I’ve stumbled across a business whose contact section contained nothing but a form to fill in with a message and the email address.
A good “Contact Us” section needs to contain the actual contact information! That means email address, telephone number, address and opening times (if you have an office). Social media links would also be nice.
7. Understand Google and SEO
If you don’t exist on Google, you hardly exist online. Being on the first page of Google results is desirable, top five or seven results are great, but the second page is something you should avoid.
How to influence your SERPs? Improve your SEO!
- Research keywords
- Build links
- Optimize your website, cut short the loading ties
- Post valuable content
- Prepare a mobile version of your website
Keeping your SEO in tip-top shape may be a laborious and time-consuming task, but believe me – it pays off! Keep in mind that allowing your customers to find your business is the first step towards a successful brand creation!
Automate some processes so that you can focus on what’s important
When people post on social media, they usually do one post per day on one network. Businesses need to do at least several posts on several platforms! Doing that manually will be a torturous process. There are however tools, like Buffer, for scheduling your social media posts.
Same goes for email marketing – you can set groups of recipients and send your newsletters in bulks on scheduled times.
Messenger bot is another thing that can save you time on reaching out to your potential and existing customers.
The point is to cut the time spent on doing repetitive things and focus on what’s important – creating great content, finding new groups of potential customers, developing new ideas and of course – creating a successful brand!
Successful brand creation depends on a lot of factors. From more abstract concepts like the language of communication and transparency to purely technical things like automated social media posting, brand creation is definitely not a one-dimensional process. It has a lot of benefits though, the most important being obtaining a loyal customer base.
Brand should not be taken for granted. As I’ve shown in this article, brand creation is a long and multi-faced process that will ultimately define the character of your company. Customers will, however, appreciate that – in today’s world, being a faceless business will not take you far!
So, roll up your sleeves and get to work!