Amazon’s Jeff Bezos once said that, ‘A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well.’ Entrepreneurs understand by now that strong branding is important. Businesses should seek to consistently improve and evolve their brand strategies. To strengthen your branding in 2020, consider adopting the following ideas.
1. Focus On Your Brand Story
A brand story is a narrative that includes the feelings and facts that your brand creates. A brand story should provoke an emotional reaction, aligning your values with those of your audience. Your brand is influenced by everything about your business, including your marketing, history, quality, product details, product cost, and, most importantly, your persona. Ultimately, your brand story should represent what your business stands for and who you truly are.
To create a compelling brand story, you should focus on showing your audience your story, as opposed to telling them. Your brand story should focus on the ‘why’ behind your company; telling your consumers why your business does the things it does. Ask yourself what your mission is, what inspired you to start your company, and what your contribution to society is.
2. Improve Your Company Culture
Your company culture determines your individuality and ties in with your branding. Branding is about who you are, and your company culture will tell your employees and consumers a lot about your persona. To improve your company culture, there are several things you can do:
- Set clear goals and values: When creating a strong company culture, it’s important to set clear goals and values. Having clearly defined goals helps your entire company understand what you are seeking to accomplish together.
- Create a social aspect: Create a social aspect to your company with regular social events, allowing your team to bond outside of their working day.
- Maintain flexibility: A flexible culture can help to encourage creativity and ensure that your employees feel valued. Flexible hours and remote working opportunities are helpful to offer flexibility.
3. Humanize Your Brand
The modern consumer values a ‘human’ brand, preferring authentic companies over faceless corporations. So how can you humanize your brand?
- About Us Page: Your audience will take a look at your ‘about us’ page if they are looking to learn more about you. Ensure that you create a compelling page that humanizes your brand as much as possible. Use videos, make it fun, and allow your employees to share their likes and dislikes.
- A Sneak Peek Behind The Scenes: Use photos and videos to give your audience a sneak peek behind the scenes. Whether it’s a few funny pictures from a social event, or your staff working hard, it’s helpful to give ‘a face’ to your branding logo.
- Use Humour: To humanize your brand, humor is a great tool; everyone likes to laugh, and there’s no harm in using a few memes in between your product-related posts!
4. Branded Merchandise
Plain and simple, get some beautifully branded merchandise made for your company, and start reaping the benefits. There are many benefits to take advantage of, including:
- Boost exposure: Branded merchandise is a great way of getting your logo out there and seen. Whether it’s branded badges, pens, keyrings, or custom air fresheners, merchandise is a fantastic way to keep on reminding people of your brand.
- Improve sales: Any extra exposure can lead to an increase in sales and help you to grow your audience.
Don’t forget about your packaging too. Custom boxes won’t just show your customers who you are and create a cohesive look to your branding, but they might even do some advertising for you when other people see them.
5. Plenty Of Competitor Research
To improve your branding, it’s useful to complete plenty of competitor research. Of course, you’re not looking to copy your competitors’ moves, but it’s important to understand their branding successes and failures. One of your main goals should be to differentiate yourself from your competitors; there needs to be a compelling reason that customers are inspired to choose you instead.
6. A Detailed Buyer Persona
To strengthen your branding, you should seek to improve your buyer persona by digging deep and expanding on the details. The more detailed your buyer persona is, the easier it will be to shape your branding around your audience’s wants and needs. On a basic level, your buyer persona is a description of your ideal consumer. The foundations should focus on demographics such as income, education level, gender, age, and location. To delve deeper, you’ll also want to focus on areas such as goals, motivations, and influencers.
You can create a detailed buyer persona using thorough research, interviews, and surveys. A starting point could be your contacts database; this is a great place to discover trends and observe how people use your content. You can also use simple web forms on your site.
7. A Unique Brand Voice
Creating a unique brand voice can help your company to retain individuality, be remembered, and communicate with your audience on their level. Your brand voice will be shaped by your industry, mission, and target consumers. Whether it’s conversational, funny, professional or authoritative, ensure that your brand voice is consistent across all of your different channels.
8. Use Philanthropy
According to a Mashable UK survey, ‘90% of Americans say they are more likely to trust and feel loyal to companies that back social causes.’ What’s more, ‘88% want to hear more about Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.’
In 2020, many companies are getting involved with charity work or backing social justice campaigns. These actions are helping to strengthen their branding and culture. There are various examples, including the following brands:
- Toms Shoes: For every pair of shoes sold, Toms Shoes donates a pair to those in need. What’s more, when you purchase a pair of glasses from TOMS, you’ll be helping someone who needs surgery to save their eyesight. As if that weren’t enough, the company is also involved with clean water initiatives worldwide!
- Uncommon Goods: At Uncommon Goods, you’ll find products made from recycled materials or sustainable methods. The company offers a program called ‘better to give’. With the program, you get to make a $1 donation to a charity of your choice for every purchase.
9. A Branding SWOT Analysis
To improve your branding, it can be useful to complete a branding SWOT analysis. With a branding SWOT analysis, you can understand your current position and plan your future goals. You can use SWOT in the following way:
Strengths: Define your branding’s best characteristics, particularly those things that set you apart from the competition.
Weaknesses: What are the things about your business that are holding you back? Identifying things can help you to improve these aspects of your branding.
Opportunities: You should look out for any market scenarios that could present your company with a positive branding opportunity.
Threats: Is there anything about the industry or environment that is likely to cause a problem for your branding?
10. Provide Valuable & Creative Content
If you want to build a strong brand, you’ve got to provide creative and valuable content, positioning yourself as a thought leader. Content should be educational, possibly fun (if this aligns with your tone of voice), and above all, it should cater to your audience’s values. To help you create better content, there are several tools you can try:
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator: Struggling to find content ideas? With Portent’s Content Idea Generator, you can get excellent and inspired, fast!
- Answer The Public: With this free SEO tool, businesses can discover which kind of niche questions their audiences are searching for, and use these to create killer content.
Focus On Brand Awareness
There’s no use building a fantastic brand if enough people aren’t aware that your brand exists. So how exactly can you boost your brand awareness?
- Use Influencers: Oberlo recently reported that, ‘Brand awareness is one of the top three influencer marketing objectives for 86 percent of marketers.’ They added that ‘Eighty percent of consumers have carried out a purchase after having seen it recommended by an influencer.’ Working with nano-influencers is a fantastic way to improve your brand awareness. These influencers have smaller audiences than micro-influencers, however nano-audiences are highly engaged and loyal. To find the right influencers for your brand, try platforms like BuzzSumo or Klear.
- Video Content: If you want to improve your brand awareness, it’s essential to make video content a big part of your strategy. According to WordStream, ‘51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.’ Video marketing is one of the best ways to show your brand story to the world.
- Guest Blogging: Guest blogging for publications is a simple and effective way to improve your brand awareness. Writing in quality publications can help to boost your authority, gain backlinks, improve your SEO, and drive traffic to your site.
Small Biz Genius claimed that, ‘89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.’ When you are seeking to strengthen your brand, you should keep on returning to your audience. Ensure that you always build your branding with your audience in mind.