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9 Important Things to Know About the Branding Process

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With the US economy booming, we’re seeing more companies than ever opening up their doors. A recent Small Business Association report estimates the exact number of new startup openings at over 600,000 companies per year!

A number that’s equally as impressive (albeit, not in a positive way) is the amount of those companies that will fail. According to Startup Genome, 90% of startups shut down.

So then, what separates startup winners from startup losers?

Frankly, many factors, most of which we won’t have the time to discuss in a single post. One of the biggest factors though that we will discuss is a company’s ability to build a brand.

The branding process is integral to differentiating yourself in today’s crowded marketplace. Below, we share 9 tips related to branding that you can use to successfully define and communicate what your company is.

1. You Must Know Your Customer Avatar

Who your customer is should be at the center of your branding process. After all, everything that your company does is for them.

Imagine your primary customer being 70-year-old, conservative women and building a brand that communicates in a playful tone that uses gifs and slang. Do you see the disconnect there?

You need to do extensive research on who your customer is, what they like, what they dislike and use all of your observations to inform every branding decision that you make. If you don’t do that, you’re going to end up spending a lot of money and time developing a brand that your consumers won’t feel any affinity for.

2. Strong Brands Have Strong Missions

A strong brand needs to have a mission that’s more meaningful than, “…sell as much stuff to as many people as possible.” Your brand needs to have a mission that resonates with consumers and your employees. It needs to have a mission that makes people gravitate towards it as opposed to its competitors.

As you concoct your brand’s mission think about your customers, your team and your community. What can your brand focus on doing that can benefit all three of those parties?

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3. Corporate Culture Helps You Attract the Right Kind of People

What does your company value culturally? Are you a big proponent of work/life balance? Are you inclusivity evangelists?

Having a clearly defined corporate culture is important when it comes to attracting and vetting the right members for your team. Those team members will then exude your culture in your products and services which will help you to attract the right kinds of customers.

4. Competitive Research Let’s You See What’s Working (and What’s Not)

Success leaves clues. If you want your business to follow in the footsteps of industry giants that you admire, understand what they’re doing right and the mistakes that they’re making that you can capitalize on.

A great way to conduct competitive research is to go through your competition’s sales funnel to see first-hand the experience that they provide. You can also look at online reviews to see what people like and dislike about your competition.

5. Branding Should Lean on What Makes You Different

After you’ve defined your culture, your customer, your mission and understand what others are doing, you’re in a great place to start listing out what makes you different. Remember, brands are what differentiate one company from another. If you create your brand that’s similar to other brands in your niche, why would anybody choose to do business with you?

Do everything that you can to define your unique selling points and lean on those elements as you work to refine your image.

6. People Will Judge Your Brand by Its Collateral

Collateral are elements that you present to consumers. Key elements in the branding sphere are your logo and tagline.

When you go to get these pieces of collateral designed, it’s important that you work with professionals and use all of the insight that you know about your brand to ensure that who you are is reflected.

9 out of 10 people will discern your brand identity through elements like your logo and tag-line. When they see those things, are they going get who you are like they get Nike’s “swoosh” and “Just Do It.” combination, or are they going to be confused?

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7. Your Voice Matters

Words matter when it comes to the branding process. That’s true no matter if you’re talking about a website’s copy or how a customer service representative responds to a customer’s question.

Define how it is that your company communicates. Do you talk to people in an authoritative manner? Are you sophisticated? Playful?

Once you nail down your voice (which should be predicated on what your target customer would most appreciate), make sure that all communications going forward embody your voice’s unique sensibilities.

8. Great Bands Can Be Communicated in a Few Seconds

An elevator pitch is when you tell somebody about your business during a 10-second elevator ride. Do you know your brand well enough to be able to concisely communicate it in 10-seconds or less?

If you can’t do that, you need to spend more time refining who you are.

9. Your Brand Needs to Shine Through Everything That You Do

Once you’ve arrived at the end of the branding process and fully appreciate who you are as a company, make sure that your brand shines through everything from your product packaging to how you decorate your office’s rec-room.

Only through constant exposure to your brand will it begin to stick with consumers and employees.

Our Final Thoughts on the Branding Process

The branding process is a step that’s overlooked by so many companies that are focused solely on making sales. Those companies will either see their operations fail or at best, will never achieve their full potential.

We trust that we’ve impressed upon you the importance of branding and how to go about building a brand. If we have, stop reading and start refining your company’s identity now. If we haven’t, read more of the stellar branding and business-building content on our blog for more inspiration!