Many of you already believe in the power of brand development. You’ve seen the positive effects it has on reputations, conversions, and the overall bottom line.
Even if you don’t have direct experience in branding practices, it’s easy to look around and see products and companies benefiting from branding.
Some people view branding as an expensive marketing ploy only large corporations such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are capable of pulling off. It can seem as if branding is only for major players who can buy multi-million dollar Super Bowl ads and hire Matthew McConaughey or teams of Clydesdales to grab an audience’s attention.
It’s true many large corporations spend a lot of money on brand development and communication. And, there is a reason for this: it pays off. Good branding relays a promise that coincides with your customers’ and fans’ expectations. Branding goes beyond individual products and services to define the personality of a business and the enduring value (positive or negative) it provides.
Branding is organic in every business. You are already branding your company, whether you realize it or not. Every time you speak with a customer, or a person talks to another about you, your business is being branded. Any time a person reads your brochure, business card or website, or sees your logo or product packaging, your business is being branded. So, why not be intentional?
Branding is the reputation your business earns through its actions, intentionally or not. It is the impression your business makes when you connect with people and when they talk about you. It is a result of what people think and how they feel during their interactions with your business.
Branding is an outcome of the communication and experiences between your business and consumers. You can control only two aspects of this process: (1) the message you intend to send, and (2) the method you use to send it. Beyond that, branding happens in the eyes, ears, hearts and minds of your audience.
Your brand is formed through the emotions and expectations people develop around the value and/or experience you provide. Value can be about many different things, but it should always represent your best qualities. You may be the cheapest, the fastest, or the most luxurious. Or, you may not yet be sure what your best qualities are.
Brand development builds a reliable, trustworthy image that highlights your best abilities and attributes. The goal is to send a message that promises a positive experience with your company, one that can’t be found anywhere else. Your message is deliberately crafted to earn a reputation for being the best at what you do or providing the most desirable experience.
One way to do this is through language. Language can be intentionally chosen to evoke specific feelings in readers and listeners. A company can appeal to a target audience by adopting language that speaks directly to them through word choice, style, tone and voice. A slang word produces quite a different feel than the word “shall.” Formal tones and friendly voices each create a distinct impression.
Visual elements also communicate brand. Emotions can be gently tapped through colors, fonts, spacing and graphic style. Whether in print, packaging or online, design elements can be selected with the intent to engage people on an emotional or psychological level to evoke emotions such as security, nostalgia, happiness, and confidence.
As people interact with your business, they are looking to feel, see, hear and, ultimately, believe a message that says your business should be their first choice. Communication is a two-way avenue, and brand development writes the road signs that portray your intentions.
Every point of contact with consumers is an opportunity to put up a road sign conveying your brand’s message. Our services can put you in a position to succeed on your own, or we can manage all the digital and print communication aspects of brand development to create a positive, consistent message consumers recognize as genuine and specific to your company.
If you haven’t yet nailed down brand development on your own, or if your old branding strategies need an update, we are here to help. Brand development is not a mystery, and the process exists for all businesses, large, small, and in between. Outside Communications can work with you to pave the road ahead or rewrite your brand story.
Our work with you is intentional and collaborative. It includes research using hard data and statistics to help drive the creative process. Many considerations go into crafting a brand me ssage that is clear, authentic, memorable and consistent in all your marketing efforts. Elements from each of the following aspects join to form a voice and style that is unique to you:
We evaluate your company’s culture to determine what sets you above the rest. Are you the fastest? The most reliable? Do you offer a unique product or service, or do you offer it in a unique way? Are you the cost-effective option or the luxury choice? We highlight your best features to show why customers believe the promises your brand makes.
The price for a product or service must match its perceived value. Effective branding influences perception to positively affect its price point.
Your unique value proposition is the reason customers choose you over all the rest. It is how you best benefit them. Here lies the heart of your business.
Consumer research allows you to reach the people who want to hear from you when and how they want to hear from you.
We discover who your customers are, their likes and dislikes, and how and when they want to be reached. We learn why your current customers initially came to you, why they continue to do so, and how you may reward them. We combine what you know of your customers with digital data. This is an amazing process that often yields surprising results.
We research your competitors to draw out the reasons you can fulfill your customer’s needs best.
Staying current with design elements shows you are relevant and committed to being the best. Research shows that 62% of U.S. consumers judge a company based on the design quality of their marketing materials. Almost half (45%) say they’ve paid more for a well-designed service or product in the past year.
Market research is the cornerstone on which your brand identity should be built. Granted, we all have different budget capabilities and research can get costly. But many analytical resources take the guesswork out of the branding efforts that matter most, resulting in actions that build trust and loyalty. People come to rely on your brand, knowing it is always there with what they need, when they need it, wherever they are.
Because brand development is a strategic and creative effort to define a product or business, it is a process that is different for each of our clients. One company’s branding strategy may require only a few tweaks to reach its full potential, while a different company may need to build their brand from the ground up. Another company may already be successful in many areas but need to develop certain aspects in others.
The brand development process creates your appearance in a careful, targeted way. If branding is intentional from the beginning, it can drive your future much like a business plan does. It is a solid rock in the foundation that helps you understand your strengths and the challenges ahead.
Do you have questions about branding or digital marketing? Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, branding plays a big role in your success.
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