A strong brand communicates what your business does, while establishing trust, credibility, awareness and loyalty with consumers.
“Small business owners who think big, who think about growth, who think for scale … understand that branding is important and invest in their brands.” — Ramon Ray, entrepreneur/speaker/author/small business expert
What is a Brand?
A brand is the sum total of the experience your customers have with your business:
- Brand: How your business is perceived via your website, marketing materials, social media, etc.
- Branding: The process of developing a unique name, custom logo/design and advertising.
- Brand Identity: Unifies the visual elements, for consistency in appearance, use, scope, color, feel, etc.
How do You Build an Effective Brand Strategy?
A brand strategy is how you build, shape, share your business’ perception with consumers:
Phase 1: DISCOVERY
- Core identity: Evaluate your Vision (why your business exists), Mission (what your business does) and Values (the beliefs that guide your actions).
- Perception: Understand how your business connects with customers by evaluating brand reputation, awareness, equity, positioning and delivery.
- Market research: Pinpoint your target customers and your competitors to establish where your company is positioned in your industry.
Phase 2: IDENTITY
- Brand positioning: Articulate how you differ in the marketplace from your competitors.
- Unique selling proposition (USP): Define your USP – what your business stands for and offers.
- Brand identity assets: Clarify your brand’s identity (colors, typography, shapes, etc.); develop the creative elements that give it life (logo, website, packaging, brochures, etc.).
Phase 3: EXECUTION
- Brand style guide: Create a set of rules to publish/ present/promote content for your brand.
- Define the visual experience: Choose colors, imagery and fonts that reflect your brand.
- Be consistent: Consistent, strategic branding allows you to grow brand equity, enabling customers to interpret your brand as having higher value.
Brand identity is an effective way to gain a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Source: SmartBrief, reported by Ross Kimbarovsky (founder/CEO at crowdspring and Startup Foundry)