When talking about branding, many people are immediately thinking about a fancy logo, cute fonts and color palettes which can be summarized under the umbrella of visual elements. But actually, branding is way much more than that and a good designer must be able seeing beyond visuals. Or even if you are a newbie in this and you are just learning what branding is and how your business can benefit out of it, you have to understand every aspect and step of this process.
Branding is not just about having attractive visuals. Branding is about sharing your message and values with your target audience using creative methods that are having a significant impact and offer remarkable experiences.
Let me share my professional knowledge and show you how crucial it is to have a well-thought branding strategy and how can you revitalize yours using a useful freebie which I will be sharing with you later in this post.
Why is important to have a branding strategy?
To put it simply, branding is what makes people choose your business over others even if you are offering the same product or service at the same price as your competitors. This is what distinguishes you from others and makes you stand out from the crowd. Having a consistent branding shows to your customers that you are professional and deserve their trust.
An effective brand strategy needs to be cohesive and should follow your marketing strategy while openly expressing what you are doing and why. Your message needs to be “loud and clear” so you attract the exact audience you need and want as your customers.
Be consistent in your communication with your audience and integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
A brand strategy is a plan of action designed to help you achieve part of your business goals. If case you have a business without a brand strategy, I would dare to say that you are still struggling to identify a way to connect with your audience in a constant manner.
If you find yourself in this position, keep reading. I will guide you on how to create your own killed brand strategy.
How to create your own brand strategy?
When you are building up your brand strategy you need to brainstorm a little what are your objectives before diving into the visual part of the process. It can be confusing at the beginning and maybe even scary not knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. But guess what? There is no right or wrong way to do it! Each business is different, each story behind a powerful brand is different therefore you need to create your own brand strategy tailor-made for you and your biz.
Don’t be afraid to explore THE uniqueness that sets you apart from your competition and build your brand around it!
Begin by thinking about the main reason you started this business (please don’t be “to make money”, please, please, please). Now, think about other two side reasons. One of them can be $£€.
Well, congrats! You just identified your three goals, your three targets you want to achieve with this new project of yours.
Let me give you a practical example by telling you my reasons and goals for starting a blog. Hierarchy is by set by their importance:
- Have a virtual space whee I can use my creativity with no limits.
- Share my personal and professional experience and help others building their “get away” space.
- Monetize this blog so I can bring some extra cash for our dream family life.
I mentioned before that making money from your blog should not be the main reason you launched it. In the first year of blogging, you should focus on developing your blog, engage with your audience and create a stable community. I am not saying that you should not apply any monetizing methods from start. No, no. I actually encourage you to do this, but just don’t make it your primarily focus.
In order to help you draft your own branding strategy, I have put together the essential questions about your business that you should take into consideration. After you have all the answers, you should be able to follow this guideline and create your own action plan.
Before you start going into deep details of your branding project, you need first to have a clear vision and sharp definition of who you are and what do you offer. You need to think about what are you good at and others would pay for such services. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses and keeping in mind your customer, you have to find the best balance between the quality you offer and what he needs. Once this step is done, you have your niche product or service to center your energy on.
How would you describe your brand and what type of voice would you use?
Using simple, but powerful words, try to describe your brand in few sentences. Benefiting from the information collected so far, you should already have an idea of how would you introduce your brand to the world.
You have to define also the style of communication you want to use. Your brand’s voice needs to be integrated into your entire branding strategy. If your approach is very serious and professional, then you need an adequate description and voice. But if you are more casual but still (always!) professional, then you can add more colorful sparks to your brand presentation and communication.
Don’t be afraid to be bold! But remember, simple is better so try to be bold, but classy. Got it?
I am trying to address to you guys by using a smart, professional way, but still casual. I don’t want my blog to be perceived as a cold, non-personal business. This is a happy, safe and cozy nook where I am sharing my experience and thoughts. That the definition of a nook, right?
What added value do you offer to your customers?
Okay, you know what you want to offer as a product or service, but do you have a clear definition of the benefits you offer? Just put yourself in the user’s shoes and see what are their needs, how can you help them have an easier life and more time to focus on what is important for them. You have to find a common ground between your product or services and what your audience needs support with. In this way, you have a base to start from to develop your business in a smart and fruitful way.
Now you have to determine what is your sparkle, what can you bring extra compared to your competition? At the end, you will find dozens of similar products and services on the market, but what is important is how YOU create it, how YOU present it and want to be perceived. Each of us has something unique, so think about YOUR thing that can be incorporated into your offer.
When creating and communicating your product or service, make sure you highlight what sets you apart from your competition!
I will continue with my personal example and even though I don’t have a physical product yet nor a service, I do have something to offer to my mompreneurs community:
- Professional advice regarding how to market your blog & biz efficiently and successfully.
- Personal tips & tricks about how to have a mom balanced life and be able to pursue your ambitions while spending time with your family.
Maybe it doesn’t seem too much right now, but for the beginning I think it is more than sufficient. I don’t want to bite more than I can chew.
Who is your target audience?
After defining what are you the best at, what can you offer better than others, you should start focusing on your audience and establish who is your niche audience, who do you love working with and whom you can offer the best user experience. Avoid addressing to a certain category just because this is the current trend. If you actually have no experience in that domain and you cannot offer anything special on the table, you will be unsuccessful. Try to define what are you good at and who needs help with that.
Always have in your mind your audience when creating your products and services. Never the other way around!
My target reader is the stay-at-home mom who wants to be efficient and organized, the super busy woman who is trying to have a happy life without going back to the 09:00 – 17:00 job, the mompreneur who wants to engage her brain with something else than baby stuff while she is dealing all day with baby stuff and other family matters.
Where can your customers find you? Where can you find them?
Depending on what communication channels you plan to use, your branding strategy needs to be adapted accordingly. You cannot focus on digital communication if your target audience is more present in the offline environment. It would be a waste of time, energy and money. Therefore, think where you can find your potential customers and target those via the respective channels. I don’t suggest you start with all at once because you will lose your focus.
It is better to start with your top three and really dedicate all you have to master them. Later, you can introduce others to your agenda. Although, I strongly advise you to start with just ONE. Yes, you heard me. You will find it easier to manage, master and learn it’s secrets in order to help your blog grow.
Be an expert in one main social media channel. Maximum three if you are a bit advance. Start with others only if you are truly ready. Don’t rush things!
The main social media channel that I chose is classic Facebook. I have to admit, I am not as active as I should be. I have many projects going on and I try to focus on what is important at the moment. And for me, this is writing here. Once I am happy with the outcome, I will start building a social media strategy also.
Take your time and think about the questions above. It is very important that you are honest with yourself if you want to start successfully. When you covered everything, write down your answers on the free branding questionnaire I prepared for you below and start crafting your own branding strategy.