As a business coach and mentor, I’ve worked with a variety of different businesses over the years. And, whilst each understood the importance of having a clear, defined brand few could actually build up this solid, stable reputation. Your brand is what you portray to your audience – it’s one of your most valuable assets, and failure to dedicate time and effort to build up your brand could have a detrimental effect on the success of your business.
In today’s article, I’ll be sharing my top tips to tell your brand’s story to ensure you don’t fall trap to some of the most common mistakes. Having a strong brand will see you ultimately reap a variety of benefits that you won’t want to miss out on! We all know a recognisable and well-known brand is far more likely to be chosen by a customer than one unknown. Check out my need-to-know tips below…
What is a strong brand?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as just slapping your logo and company name here, there and everywhere! You need to do more to stand out from the crowd, especially in 2021 as millions (if not billions) of organisations are competing to make a name for themselves. You have to be consistent in communication and experience, across all channels – from your packaging to social media. The truth is, building a brand takes months, if not years! So, what actually is a brand identity from a business coach and mentor’s perspective?
A brand identity encompasses your values, how you communicate your product and what you want people to feel when they interact with your brand. In essence, it’s the personality of your business and highlights to customers what they can expect from you; as Jeff Bezos puts it: “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Some examples of a strong brand include Coca Cola, Burt’s Bees, Air B’n’B, Prada – this list is endless! These brand are instantly recognisable, and even if you aren’t familiar with the brand it’s likely you will have come across the name or logo at some point, which should you need to purchase a product these companies produce in the future, may influence your decision.
Top tips to tell your brand story from a business coach and mentor
#1 Find your why
Every successful business has a purpose, a mission they keep sight of that motivates them to continue pushing and moving forward. But, it can be difficult to define why, especially when you are first launching a new start-up venture. So, ask yourself these four questions, dig deep and challenge yourself to answer each fully:
- Why do you exist?
- What differentiates you?
- What problem do you solve?
- Why should people care?
You need to discover your USP; customers are far more likely to purchase from a brand that has a story behind it as they’ll support your background and mission. The answer to these questions will form the foundation of your brand; they’ll be the building blocks that you will base your tone of voice, advertisements, choice of channels etc. upon.
Use the Golden Circle method from Simon Sinek: WHAT, HOW, WHY.
- What – the products or services you offer to your customers.
- How – the things that differentiate you from the competition.
- Why – the reason you are passionate and why you exist.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have.
The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek
#2 Research your marketplace and competitors
It’s important you dedicate time to researching the competitors within your marketplace – the big names and those more on your own current level. However, you should never look to imitate what another company is doing; instead, focus and be aware of what is working for them and what is not.
This is perhaps one of the most crucial elements when looking to build your brand and should therefore not be undervalued. We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out from what’s out there already. Answer these questions to provide yourself with an in-depth analysis of 2-4 other companies, allowing you to then set a benchmark – defining your brand positioning.
#3 Define your buyer persona
It’s impossible to be everything to everyone – trying to please everyone may actually damage your branding. Keep in mind who you are actually trying to reach and tailor your brand and mission accordingly; the key is to get specific.
One of the best ways to build a well-rounded picture is to create a buyer persona. You may have more than one, but as a business coach and mentor, I know this is a highly effective method that will ensure you are focusing your branding efforts correctly. This should include:
- Demographics (age, location etc.)
- Lifestyle/work (job title, education levels etc.)
- Personality profile (competitive, spontaneous, people-oriented?)
- Goals (what motivates them?)
- Challenges (what challenges do they face and how does that make them feel – crucially, how can you help?)
- Information sources/influences (what channels do they use to find information?)
- Objections (what would they dislike about you/your competitors?)
- Brand affinities
#4 Create a brand manifesto
Your manifesto will become your bible. It will detail your company’s beliefs/mission statement along with outlining what it is exactly you want your audience to feel when they think of your brand. Within this manifesto, you should also provide clear instruction regarding your unique brand voice, the key qualities and benefits of your product and how you portray this (specific fonts, logo, colours etc.) so that any new employees will be able to continue this messaging.
One brand that follows their manifesto to a T is Red Bull – they don’t advertise their drink, but they advertise the feeling it provides you. They focus on extreme sports, and cleverly use the tagline “red bull gives you wings” in a way that does not immediately spring to mind. But, we have come to associate these extreme high-energy sports with the drink and want to buy the product for just a taste of the same adrenaline.
#5 Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business
The process of building a brand never stops, it’s relentless. Your brand should be visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear. Consistent branding ensures that your organisation becomes recognisable, if you chose to change this with every element of your business then a customer would struggle to understand the story behind your business.
Whether it be in your office, on your business cards, packaging, website or social media – or even a personal interaction, each should be focused on your brand. Ensure, therefore, that your manifesto is clear and concise so that any individual involved with your business understands what it is you are trying to achieve through your messaging.
#6 Gain feedback and monitor your messaging
Similarly to other aspects of marketing, measuring your brand’s awareness rates and understanding how it is performing can be a struggle. Without tracking, how can you understand what is working and what is not?
Use Google Analytics, surveys, comments and social media discussions etc. to monitor and build up a sense of how people are viewing your brand. How they interact with you will provide you with a vital understanding of how people are responding; this will provide you with the opportunity to implement any changes as required, whether it be to correct a mistake or to improve the overall brand identity.
But, remember no one knows your brand better than you, so stay true to your authentic story rather than trying to do what you think may appeal – in the long-term, this will be far more difficult to stay true to.
*TOP TIP: Don’t be afraid to spread your brand messaging personally, you are your biggest advocate after all.
Creating a memorable, strong brand identity requires consistency across all platforms. However, it is not enough to just use a logo or name, your brand should be all-encompassing so that when a customer recognises this they immediately associate a specific feeling or thought with you. Whilst it does take a significant amount of time and effort to create a brand, it can have significant benefits for your business – from improving customer retention and satisfaction to boosting your credibility and edging ahead of the competition.
Are you looking to implement new strategies and build a strong brand to take your business to the next level? I have over 30 years of experience, working with a variety of different companies to successfully create a reputable, successful company. Get in contact with me now at email@example.com or complete this contact form, and I’ll be happy to discuss how I can work with you to transform your organisation.