Let’s take a quick look at a well-known company: Amazon. Why is Amazon so successful? Obviously, Amazon has been an established brand since the mid-90s that originally started as an online bookstore. Since then, the company has broadened its horizons by dipping into countless industries from selling digital and physical products in an online marketplace to serving as a music and podcast platform for every genre to producing movies and television shows in its own streaming service, and beyond. With the abundance of success, Amazon has not slowed down its branding efforts - anyone would recognize the Amazon logo over other online marketplaces like Alibaba, Rakuten, and eBay.
Whether your business is just starting out or you’re well established in your industry, a strong brand is a key component to escalating your success. Here’s how to stay ahead of your competition when it comes to branding your business.
Step 1: Determine your target audience
Identify your industry’s target audience by determining who you want to sell your product or service to. Your target audience could be consumers, clients, businesses, or even other industries. The key is to meet your customers’ needs - you can do this by showing them that you have exactly what they are looking for. If your business is selling books, your marketing efforts should be towards readers!
Step 2: Research your competition
Conducting an analysis of your direct competitors can provide a lot of great insight into how to improve your business. A great way to look into the competition is from their customers’ perspective; read reviews and pick out what customers rave about and what customers wish was better or different. If possible, use your competition’s product or service as a consumer and find what they do best and worst. Use this information to understand how you can improve your business, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and better serve your customers by staying ahead of the competition.
Step 3: Create a value proposition
What makes your product or service unique? Now that you’ve identified your target audience and researched the competition, it’s time to determine what makes you valuable. Promise your customers that you have something that they cannot live without and that your business’s number one priority is to bring value to their lives. Your value proposition should highlight exactly what benefits you will deliver to your customers and how you plan to do it.
Step 4: Set your brand guidelines
This step may be the most fun - and is definitely the most creative! Determining your brand guidelines is basically defining how people will recognize your company. Do a little research into tone and voice, visual elements (logos and shapes), and color psychology so you can decide on a consistent identifier for your brand. Refer back to the Amazon example - it’s likely that you can recognize the yellow smile-arrow logo without a second glance, but imagine how much longer it would take to identify a red Amazon logo. It’s also important to make sure your tone matches what you offer - if your company is offering high-tech security systems, you may want to avoid casual or relaxed verbiage.
Step 5: Market!
Now that you’ve determined your target audience, it’s time to market to them! Advertise the value that your business offers and how you can benefit the lives of your customers. Show your audience that your business stands out far ahead of the competition by using your brand as proof, and always stay genuine by staying true to your brand.
Now that you’ve built a brand that your customers will love, your business is ready for the abundance of success to come. Be sure to utilize your brand in all marketing efforts including your website or app, social media posts, and print and digital content. Remember, a strong brand can make or break a business in the long run.
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