Did you know that 63% of global consumers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflect their own values and beliefs, and will avoid companies that don’t?
That’s a sizable amount of people.
2020 is just around the corner, and what better way to start off your new year (and new decade!) than with a solid idea as to how to strategically brand your business?
With more competition than ever online, it’s important that your business has the ability to stand out in a way that drives loyal fans and repeat buyers.
Sales funnels and basic products are simply not enough anymore.
Consumers want to feel proud about their purchases, and who they are buying from. Some of my favorite brand examples that align with this statement include LUSH and TOMS (for every $3 TOMS make, they give away $1) because they connect to something bigger than “just a product.”
Think about the brands YOU buy from. Have you made a connection to a brand because of their values, key messages or mission statements? Chances are, you have. Now, it’s time to create connections with your own audience in that same way.
All of that being said, you might have no idea where to start when it comes to turning your business into a brand. I’ve put together some key brand elements for you to think about for 2020 for your local business, and beyond.
First comes first: If you haven’t done this already, it’s important to nail down who you’re actually talking to and selling to.
Remember, if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to no one.
Stating that your target audience is 20-year-old women is very vague, and doesn’t give you enough detailed information to craft a brand, product, service, or even content strategy around. However, when you dial this down and dig into details by stating that your target audience is 20 to 40-year-old women who are interested in nutrition and meal planning, you now really have something to work with.
Get specific with this so that you can create a niche brand, product and service that can appeal to those you want to target.
Here are a few ways to determine your target audience:
- Look at your social media analytics
- Look at the demographic information in Google Analytics
- Survey current customers to find out more about them
- Engage in market research
Mission & Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements are important for brands for a variety of different reasons:
- They give purpose to a business; they give employees a point of reference for why they are doing what they are doing and align them
- They connect potential and current buyers more deeply to your brand, inspiring loyalty and deeper meaning.
Ask yourself this question: what is your sense of purpose and direction? Remember, consumers want to connect with businesses on a deep level. Why are you doing what you do? How does this connect to your product and services?
A mission statement should explain where you are right now, and what you are doing right now. It should essentially explain your main purpose as a brand/business and explains the “what”, “who” and “why.”
A vision statement should be aspirational; what is the long-term impact you are hoping to make? What does the future state of your business look like once you’ve achieved your mission statement? This is where you are hoping to be, rather than where you are right now as a business.
Think about these additional questions:
- What drove you to start this business? What did the beginning stages look like? What has it evolved into today?
- What does your business offer? Why? How does it help people?
- Where do you want your business to go? Why? How will this help people?
Take a look at Hubspots blog for optimal inspiration: 17 Truly Inspiring Company Vision and Mission Statement Examples.
A brand promise is a message that speaks to your target audience and tells them what to expect from our products or services. It is meant to inspire current and potential customers.
In order to create a brand that stands for something, a business needs this statement of purpose so that they can relate to their community on both an external and internal level. A brand promise is essentially what a buyer can expect to receive every single time they interact with products or services.
A brand promise is:
Some notable examples:
- NIKE: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete.
- STARBUCKS: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.
- COCA-COLA: To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, and inspire moments of optimism; to create value and make a difference.
What do you want to promise your customers and deliver on through your offerings?
Core Brand Values
Core values essentially define what is most important to your business, and they are another component of your brand that allows you to connect more deeply with your audience. These are important because they need to be values that are distilled throughout your entire business, and lived by on a daily basis by those who represent your organization.
Brand values can be sprinkled in copy, content and other marketing materials to portray a concise and unified message. When developing a website, it is great to have a handful of these to work off of, so that content creation can align with the values you have identified for your business.
Some notable examples:
- UBER: We do the right thing. Period.
- ADIDAS: Performance: Sport is the foundation for all we do and executional excellence is a core value of our Group.
- Facebook: Focus on impact.
Values also have the amazing potential to align your employees and set a standard for what your business operates like on a daily basis. Brand values can even be as simple as one word. Here are a few to get you thinking:
Brand Voice & Tone
If your business was a human being, what would they sound like? Would they be funny with a hint of sarcasm? Or serious with an edge? This is a key component of humanizing your brand, and being able to connect with your prospective customers on a human-to-human level.
Think about what you want your brand to sound like when speaking to others online, through email, or in whatever way you communicate. Remember, your audience is made up of other humans, not robots! It is essential to develop a certain voice and tone that your audience will come to recognize as “you.”
Brafton has a fabulous blog on this topic to get you started on developing your brand voice: 4 Brand Tone of Voice Examples to Use When Building Your Own
Brand Colors & Fonts
Brand colors and fonts are so important, especially when it comes to putting content on your blog and graphics on your social media platforms (for which I always use Canva)! Businesses look more credible and trustworthy when they are cohesive and consistent with the design elements that they use, and how they present content externally. Choosing brand colors and fonts will also help you establish your overall look and vibe, as well as distinguish you from competitors.
Studies have even found that a product’s color influences 60 to 80% of a customer’s purchasing decision; that’s a big deal! If your product is blue, think about incorporating this color on your website, and even on your social media graphics. Even if every second Instagram photo you have has a tinge of blue in it, this can be huge when it comes to brand awareness.
Another pro tip? Make sure all of your social media graphics either have your website or your logo placed on it (ideally, in the same spot on every graphic).
Here are some tips when picking colors:
- Have primary and secondary palettes
- Do research on color psychology; purple tends to be used with high-end products because of its association to royalty whereas green tends to be associated with health-related brands.
- Think about how these colors will mix and be used across all marketing platforms
Fonts have similar impact! If you’re a B2B interior design business, you most likely won’t want to be using Comic Sans as your font. Again, dig into some research to find out what sort of emotions and associations certain fonts might pinpoint to before deciding on one for your business.
Here’s where having colors and fonts will come in as extremely useful:
- Creating your website
- Creating social media graphics
- Creating your logo
- Creating e-newsletter templates
There are many more elements of “brand” that you can certainly dig deeper into, but I hope this checklist has given you an actionable place to start.
Once you have some of these above elements nailed down, you can dive into other things that make up a brand such as brand archetypes, content marketing and beyond!
Interested in learning more about branding? Get in touch with me!