Developing a good brand strategy can help your business achieve strong mindshare and market position

e27.co/megha-parikh

Craft a brand strategy that resonates with the target audience, creating something that will stand the test of time

Apple. Nike. Starbucks. Levi’s.

You know these names right? Of course, they are global brands — giants in their own industries.

But, what sets apart these brands from the rest of the herd? What makes them special? Why do customers buy their products with blind faith while thinking twice and do space-mission like research before buying any other brands?

The difference is due to the power of branding.

All these brands have their products priced at a premium range compared to non-descript brands that sell almost similar quality products. It is the power of branding that helps them sell their products for a premium.

So, how does an average business become a brand? Most importantly, how can a just launched small business reach the status of super brands without breaking its bank balance.

Also read: Branding basics: What game designers can teach startups about building a brand

We tell you how in a step-by-step manner.

Develop a brand strategy

A brand strategy is like the roadmap for the future. It takes into account the competitive advantage of your business and how it is going to use it to establish its presence in the market.

A brand strategy will have a brand mission — a three to five sentence phrase which explains who the business is, what it strives to do, and how it intends to do. An ideal business mission statement will have the customer at its centre driving all efforts towards customer satisfaction.

The brand mission should target your target audience. It should be a reflection of their preferences, lifestyle, spending habits, and so on. Also, competition and what they do should also be considered while drawing up the brand strategy.

Draw inspiration from these striking mission statements have global brands have created for themselves:

  • Coca-Cola: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions. To create values and make a difference.
  • Ebay: Provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.
  • Facebook: Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
  • Ford: We go further to make our cars better, our employees happier and our planet a better place to be.

Now let’s figure out a brand mission for an online business. Let’s assume it is in the digital medium, something like a website to find movers near me that help people the best and affordable moving companies in near vicinity.

For such a company, you can create a brand mission which includes elements like customer service, easy price comparison, verified listings, and so on.

In the example above, it could be something like: Our mission is to take out your guesswork and physical effort in relocating to a new place.

Create recognisable brand assets

A logo, a website, social media profiles — these can be rightly called brand assets of your business. These are visual and virtual tokens with which customers identify your brand against competition and other players in the industry.

Logo

A logo is a pint-sized text or a tiny image, but it is how your business is going to be known. How to create a logo for your business?

To begin with, decide on the brand name. It should be short, concise, meaningful, easy to remember and something that is original.

Remember, your logo design speaks volumes about your business and its mission. So it is better to hire a designer or use an online marketing graphics designer tool who can pick the right font, color, positioning, etc., to forge a business logo that your business will come to be recognized as.

Also read: Branding basics: Logo design tips for startups

Remember that logos are not permanent. They change with time. Even brands like Apple have revised their logo from time to time. Here is how it changed over the years:

However, the underlying design elements remain the same. They have a theme or concept which does not change easily, just like the brand strategy. The logo might change, but the business, its strategy, and customers remain the same.

Website

A website is no longer just an online portal. In today’s context, it is literally a lead magnet which leads to the sales funnel. Engineering a website that not only looks great but also works great is a necessity for a small business.

Social media presence

Facebook. Twitter. Google+. LinkedIn. There are still more social media platforms that a business can use to maximise its engagement and reach. But to ensure branding consistency it is ideal you pick one or two platforms and focus on them with acute focus to build a social media presence.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a new age concept that has taken form like wildfire. Brands like RedBull rely heavily on influencer marketing to create brand awareness.

In influencer marketing, noted celebrities and subject matter experts who are referred to as influencers talk, write, and publish content including text, images and videos. These influencers have a massive social following, which converts into publicity for brands.

It is estimated that influencer marketing returns a ROI of US$6.50 for every single dollar spent. So that explains why a small business must take influencer marketing seriously.

Final thoughts

Most small business owners are intimidated by the thought of branding. They read and see mega brands pouring millions worth of funding and resources into brand building and assume that their business cannot afford it. The truth is far from that.

Also read: randing basics: Why I spent US$1.5 million on our domain

Branding can be done in a cost-effective manner. Especially for small businesses, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from in today’s digitally connected world.

Begin with devising a good brand strategy, a logo, search engine friendly website, and progress to establishing social presence using social media. Craft a brand strategy that resonates with the target audience. Bear in mind to create something that will stand the test of time. Also, try a hand at influencer marketing to add more momentum to building brand presence.

Have any more thoughts on brand building for small businesses? Let us know in comments.

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