Today more than ever, the companies and organizations that are paying close attention to their brand and the experience it creates in the marketplace are the ones who are winning wallet share, market share, and customer share.
Whether you are a newly formed startup with a billion-dollar idea, or an established company looking for a competitive advantage, putting resources behind smart branding ensures you move the pendulum from reactive to proactive while staying effective and efficient for long-term sustainable success.
To ensure you’re thinking about your brand in the correct light, start with these five essential elements and strategies.
Understand Your Core Audience
No brand can survive without understanding and acknowledging its core audience. Spending time in your customer’s shoes will allow you to enhance all aspects of your brand and turn your visitors into advocates.
The need for niching down on your core audience becomes imperative here because as a brand, you cannot be everything to everyone. Focus on your core audience and service them to the best of your ability. As they say, “the riches are in the niches”: Sticky note this saying onto your computer because as you grow and start attracting potential customers to your business, bright shiny new objects can steer you from your focus and your data can become overwhelming. You will want to stay focused on the messages that truly resonate with your audience.
Define Your Positioning
By understanding your audience, your brand’s unique strengths as well as the competitive landscape in which you operate, you can begin to see the position your brand holds within your industry. Your position is the line in the sand in which your brand lives its core values in and out on a day-to-day basis. It’s the problem you are solving for your audience.
Like your thumb print, every brand has a unique position. The goal is to find the position you hold and live it everyday within every audience interaction and touchpoint.
Articulate Your Story Through Messaging
Your brand story is a culmination of taking your core audiences insights and mixing it with your brand DNA (your core values, positioning, and voice). This allows you to create a brand narrative of features and benefits that can connect with your audience on an emotional level while being able to address their wants and needs.
The best brands look at their story as a way to be the hero and take their audience with them on a journey.
Package It Based On Data
Your brand’s visual identity should be based on the data collected including your audience, your competitors, as well as the position your brand is holding within your industry.
Senior designers understand great designs emotionally resonates with an audience and encapsulate what the company stands for.
Strategy of Consistency
The biggest brand killer is inconsistency. Every brand touchpoint is an opportunity to build trust with your audience, therefore, it is critical to maintain a consistent brand voice in all messaging. This approach should be a non-negotiable within your organization.
Guest Post by Steven Picanza
Steven Picanza is an award-winning brand strategist, CMO and educator with a core purpose centered around connecting people, products, and organizations with their core audience. He runs a brand + marketing consultancy with his wife while also being a strategic advisor to brands, agencies, and start-ups.
Over the course of his career, which has gone from professional musician, to agency owner, to start-up founder, Steven has worked with such brands as The Art of Shaving, MGM Resorts, Lacoste, IDG Media, and Madame Tussauds, to name a few.
Steven also holds an Executive Board member position with The San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild, a non-profit organization he helped found in 2009.