As a business owner, you’ve probably been told to invest in many things to help your business grow. After a while, it may even feel like everywhere you go, someone is trying to sell you something that you may or may not need–never mind whether you can afford it. From operations consulting to financial advising to paid advertising, digital marketing, and more, it’s hard to know what’s worth investing in and what’s just another “nice-to-have.”
The thing about brand development is that it’s not a trend or a gimmick. It’s not a short-term strategy or a quick fix. It’s not something that works some of the time. It’s a practice that’s been around for quite some time, and It’s the one thing that, when done right from the start, helps all your other marketing and advertising efforts stick.
Think brand development isn’t that important or that there are more important things to invest in to help your business grow? Think again. Developing a meaningful and memorable brand for your business could be the most important thing to invest in if you want to stand out from your competition.
What Is Brand Development and Why Is It So Important?
Developing a brand is essentially building a foundation for what your business will mean to the world now and in the future. It requires analyzing your target audience to determine what type of brand they are attracted to–and would potentially be loyal to for years to come.
Without a solid brand identity and presence online, you risk being overlooked by potential customers or partners, leading to missed opportunities for growth. Brand development should be an essential part of your strategy if you want to stand out in a crowded online marketplace.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Strong Brand Identity?
Establishing a solid brand can do more for your business than you imagine. Having a strong brand enables your business to:
Stand Out From Competitors
Building a strong brand means highlighting what makes your business unique and why your target audience should choose you out of all the companies like yours. Even the most minor details could differentiate your brand from another, just enough for a potential customer to choose you over the competition.
Build Brand Recognition
Choosing relevant and identifiable brand colors, an appropriate logo, and compelling messaging for your brand can help to attract your target audience. When your brand shows up in a consistent way across all digital and traditional media platforms, it becomes more and more recognizable to potential customers.
Establish Trust and Loyalty
Beyond simply attracting customers, having a strong brand helps establish trust and ultimately builds loyalty, turning new customers into long-term customers and advocates for your brand. A recent study found that “59% of American consumers say that once they’re loyal to a brand, they’re loyal to it for life.” (1)
Attract Quality Talent
People enjoy working for businesses that reflect their values and passions. If your business is growing and wants to attract top talent, having a well-established brand can make your business more attractive to potential candidates. The more you display your brand values and mission, the more likely you are to attract talent that fits your brand culture.
How to Develop Your Unique Brand Identity
Now that you understand the importance of brand development let’s explore how to build a brand from scratch. There are many ways to develop a brand identity for your business, depending on whom you ask and your specific goals. However, the process of creating your brand identity typically involves the following:
Identify your brand’s purpose, mission, vision, and values.
Answer the following questions: Why does your brand exist? How do you help customers? What are your values and beliefs? Start piecing together your brand story.
Research your target audience and develop buyer personas.
Who can benefit from what your business offers? What do they do for a living? How old are they? How much money do they make? Are they single or married? Get as in-depth as possible to help narrow down your target audience.
Perform a competitor analysis.
Understanding how your offerings and positioning in your market compare to others is essential. Look at others in your space and note what they are doing well vs. where they could do better. And compare your business to theirs in as many ways as possible.
Identify your brand personality.
Is your brand formal or casual? Are you sophisticated or laid back? Funny or serious? Do you want your brand to be seen as competent and trustworthy or personable and approachable? Think about your target audience when defining this aspect of your brand.
Define a recognizable voice and tone to use in all messaging.
It’s important that your brand voice matches your personality and that it’s consistent across all platforms. By defining your brand voice early on, you can avoid creating mixed messaging as your brand grows and evolves.
Develop your core brand messaging (taglines, headlines, keywords, etc.).
Create unique and noticeable messaging to help people associate specific words or phrases with your brand. Build a library of messaging to pull from for future projects.
- Develop a unique logo and color palette.
A well-designed logo and matching color palette help your brand stand out to prospective customers. Be sure to choose a color palette that matches your industry, offering(s), and brand personality, and have a logo to represent your brand clearly.
Branding Mistakes to Avoid
The steps above provide a general roadmap for building a solid brand, but the work involved is not for the faint of heart. There are a few big mistakes that many brands make when starting. Here are some mistakes to avoid when building your brand.
Trying to Appeal to Everyone
One mistake many brands make is to try to be everything to everyone. While it may feel like you’re missing out on potential customers by narrowing down your target audience, it’s better to be more specific than broad with your branding. The more specific you can be with your messaging and offerings, the better.
Trying to DIY Everything
Sure, you might dabble in design and know how to write grammatically correct sentences, but there’s something to be said for having a professional handle your brand development. An experienced 3rd party can look at your business from a different point of view and can often provide valuable insights. Hiring a professional to help you develop your brand will make the process go more quickly and smoothly.
Creating Content Without Brand Guidelines
It can be tempting to start creating content without brand guidelines, but you may regret it later. You can avoid inconsistent messaging by clearly identifying your brand voice and tone before communicating with potential customers. If customers feel your brand is inconsistent, they may lose trust in your competence and take their business elsewhere.
Ready to Invest in Brand Development for Your Business?
If following the steps above and avoiding common branding mistakes feels overwhelming, we recommend working with a brand development agency to guide you through the process. At Pivot Creative, we develop ideas, strategies, and campaigns with your goals, visions, and business needs in mind. Interested in increasing exposure for your brand and disrupting the marketplace in original ways? Get in touch today!