How is it that companies like Apple can come out with literally anything (TVs, phones, watches, etc.) and people come out in droves to buy them?
Is it their product? Maybe. But more likely, it’s branding, branding, and more branding.
With all of our projects at Figmints, we always recommend branding as an essential starting point. Want a new website? An engaging testimonial video? A new digital marketing strategy? We love it—but the success of these projects are inextricably contingent on a top-notch brand as well.
Still not convinced? There are more than 27 million companies in the US alone (and that US Census figure is not even up-to-date). This doesn’t include the self-employed or internationally-based companies also competing with you on US soil.
LET’S START WITH THE BASICS: WHAT IS A BRAND?
Before you can appreciate great branding, it’s essential to understand what branding means in today’s day and age.
A brand is NOT your product. Not any longer, at least. Shocking, I know.
A brand is also not your logo, your website, or even your name.
Your brand is simply what people perceive about your company. A brand is the emotion, the gut feeling—that subjective (yet secretly crafted & oh so purposeful) sentiment that dictates consumer behavior.
Don’t believe me? Think about the most iconic brand on the planet. Let’s go back to Apple again.
What’s their brand? You’d assume their brand is computers and tech equipment—but it’s not. Apple’s brand is rather well designed & easy-to-use products.
To build an enduring brand of similar success, it’s essential to control your content while keeping four things in mind: consistency, clarity, details, and deployment.
In the digital age, your brand inevitably exists on multiple platforms. It is crucial that every bit of material you share, through any information outlet, demonstrates your one-of-a-kind value proposition.
Your website, your blog, your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your Pinterest account, your YouTube account, your Instagram (phew, so much social media!) must all display a cohesive, seemingly singular brand.
This does not mean, of course, that each channel should have identical content in the name of consistency.
Nonetheless, be aware that the content needs to have the same look and feel–the same voice, if you will. This can be hard to pinpoint, and even harder to achieve, but it’s crucial.
Given that your brand exists in so many spaces, it is also important to maintain clarity in your content. The Who/What/Where/When/How of your business must all come together in a clear voice. Moreover, it’s important that this voice be strong and decisive.
At Figmints, we spend the beginning of our projects tirelessly reviewing client questionnaires. This helps us to conceive the distinct, creative brand story. With a creative story, clarity is possible–even easy. Don’t underestimate the difficulty, yet importance, of a clear voice.
Nailing down your creative story is great, but it’s also important to know the details of your business–and not just from operations or day-to-day perspective.
It is important to know who you’re targeting. In inbound marketing jargon, this is achieved by creating something called personas. Knowing the details of your business means knowing the demographics, job level, typical day, and most importantly, pain points of your existing groups of consumers.
Once you nail personas down, you immediately know how you fit among other companies. Think about it this way, every business out there is competing for business. It’s a lot like a job candidacy – customers have something that they need to do, their job to be done (JTBD). This job could be anything and isn’t always obvious.
For example, if you’re a coffee shop owner, some people might hire you to provide a space to work on their laptop for a few hours, while other personas might just want a means to wake up on the way to work. This has two big repercussions:
- Your competition isn’t just coffee shops in the area- it’s anybody that can accomplish that ‘job’ for them an AM pick-me-up or a place to work. Maybe it’s the new smoothie shop down the road?
- Positively or otherwise, people are going to associate your brand with how you solve the JTBD. If you don’t want to be known for being the ‘quick AM fix’ shop, you need to actively position against that.
Targeting is the final–and, I believe, most valuable–step to a successful brand. It is one thing to create a great logo, typeface, and color palette for your company and another to make sure these new branding components reach the people you want–your personas.
With new analytics and powerful digital marketing platforms like Hubspot, it’s possible to reach exactly who you want when you want. A personalized digital marketing strategy is the only way to definitively know (yes, some snazzy stats exist!) that you’re successfully expanding & growing your brand.
Overall, just remember that a successful brand is entirely reliant on content.
Without content, your brand, quite literally, wouldn’t exist. We provide our clients with a thorough Style Guide including fonts, color, and graphic elements, all to ensure that content is visually on point. With a clear visual message and an even clearer creative story, it can seem simple (even easy!) to grow your brand. So, as a starting point, it’s important to make sure you have those fundamentals! You can learn more about our distinct branding process here.
Make sure your content is consistent, clear, targeted, and reaching the right people, through the right channels, and you’ll be on the right track.
Never underestimate the direct role of a great brand in growing your business. Be sure to check out our eBook on ways you can start generating better content right now.