Brand building is the process of generating awareness and developing a distinctive identity in the minds of consumers. It’s an essential strategy to differentiate your brand from the competition and establish a significant market presence. At its core, brand building enhances its value and paves the way for its future growth.
Fortuitously, brand building is not an intricate science. Rather, it hinges upon the effective execution of several fundamental practices and strategies. So, let’s delve into these tactics, breaking them down into simple, actionable steps that can catalyze your brand building journey:
Crafting a Compelling Brand Story
Most people make decisions based on emotion, not on what’s rational is one pillar of brand building. Even though your product must deliver what it promises, that is a different aspect. For now, you must build your story so your target audience knows you deliver what you promise, even before trying your product.
For this reason, take a balanced approach to your marketing and brand positioning. For instance, if you usually hit hard and heavy with calls to action, try a feel-good story instead. Your brand story must revolve around making a difference or uplifting a group of people.
Your brand story could:
- Reconnect someone with a loved one
- Save someone’s money and allow them to do something nice for a loved one
- Protect someone from hunger or some other vulnerability
For instance, take the example of Dove. Dove builds its brand story around beautiful and fragile yet independent women who can choose. Dove markets itself to be a beauty brand that caters to the needs of every single woman out there.
This all-inclusive approach of bringing women together is a strong brand story that positions Dove as a brand that caters to all women regardless of their region or ethnicity. You can build a similar brand story that promises an emotional connection to your consumer.
The following brands are masters of this sort of subtle advertising.
1. Dove: Dove, a personal care brand, uses storytelling to connect with its audience on an emotional level. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, launched in 2004, features real women of all sizes, ages, and ethnicities instead of using professional models. The campaign shares individual stories of women who have faced societal beauty standards and pressures, highlighting their journey to self-acceptance and body positivity. This approach creates a relatable and inspiring narrative, allowing Dove to stand out in the beauty industry and truly connect with its audience.
2. Luca: Luca is a brand that leverages storytelling effectively to create an immersive experience for its audience. The brand uses striking visual storytelling in its product descriptions and social media posts to share the craft and care that go into creating its jewelry pieces. By discussing the inspiration behind each piece and the artisans who make them, Luca creates a narrative that resonates with customers who value craftsmanship, sustainability, and individuality.
3. Nike: Nike’s storytelling prowess is well known. It creates emotional, aspirational stories that tie into its brand ethos of perseverance, ambition, and victory. One notable example is the “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, which shares the story of athletes who have overcome significant hurdles to achieve their dreams. By aligning these inspirational stories with its brand, Nike positions itself as more than just an athletic wear company—it becomes a motivator and supporter of dreams and ambitions.
4. Ivory Ella: Ivory Ella is an apparel brand that uses storytelling to emphasize its commitment to animal conservation, specifically elephants. The brand shares stories about its partnerships with various animal conservation organizations and how purchasing its products contributes to these efforts. These narratives humanize the brand, appealing to customers who care about animal welfare and environmental conservation.
5. MudLOVE: MudLOVE, a pottery and custom bracelet brand, uses storytelling to highlight its social mission. Each product sold provides one week of clean water to someone in need, and the brand shares stories about the communities it has impacted. This creates a powerful narrative that allows customers to feel that their purchase is making a real difference, enhancing the product’s value proposition.
6. Warby Parker: Warby Parker, an eyewear brand, uses storytelling to differentiate itself in the crowded market. It shares the story of why the company was founded—providing affordable, stylish eyewear while giving back. For every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. This narrative of social responsibility, coupled with customer stories and partnerships with celebrities, creates a compelling story that not only sells glasses but also aligns with the values of its target audience.
The Power of Visual Identity
They say seeing is believing, and they could not be more accurate. People connect with visuals like anything; brands are not really “saying” anything, so their visual identity speaks for them. This is why visual identity is crucial to brand building.
Visual identity complements your brand identity but is exclusive in itself. Your brand’s visual identity includes graphics, color palettes, design, and more. Creative designers and dedicated teams are to create an appealing visual identity for their clients.
Once finalized, this visual identity goes far and beyond through your ad, business cards, logos, campaigns, business communications, and more.
You don’t need to cram your entire brand identity into your visuals. There need to be important elements that can be symbolized through colors and graphics. But it would be best to have a sound identity for it to manifest through your visual identity. More importantly, your identity must resonate with the sentiments of your target audience.
This is something your graphic designer can better understand. There are key principles of design that form the foundation of your successful brand building.
These elements are:
1. Line: Lines are fundamental to design as they create shapes, guide the eye, and evoke different emotions. They can be straight or curved, thick or thin, solid or broken. In brand building, how lines are used in your brand’s design can significantly affect how your brand is perceived.
For instance, horizontal lines can convey calmness and stability, vertical lines can denote strength and professionalism, while diagonal lines suggest dynamism and progress.
2. Color: Color is one of the most critical elements in brand building because it can evoke different emotions and associations. Each color has its psychological impact. For example, red symbolizes passion and energy, blue suggests trust and dependability, and green represents nature and growth. By carefully choosing your brand’s colors, you can control the message you’re sending to your audience.
Maintaining consistency in your color scheme across all your brand touchpoints is crucial to building recognition and association.
3. Shape: Shapes are powerful in communicating messages and evoking emotional responses. Circles often represent unity and wholeness, squares symbolize stability and balance, and triangles might convey a sense of conflict or direction. Abstract shapes can also create unique and recognizable logos or design elements.
Like color, consistently using shapes in your brand’s visual elements can strengthen your brand identity.
4. Texture: Texture refers to the perceived surface quality of a design. It can add depth, interest, and emphasis to a design. A smooth texture might convey a sense of professionalism and cleanliness, while a rough texture could suggest something more organic or rustic. In digital design, texture can be implied visually through patterns, gradients, or photographic elements.
It’s a subtle design element, but texture can enhance your brand’s overall feel and personality when used correctly.
5. Frame: The frame is the space in which your design exists. It can focus attention, organize information, and provide context. A well-composed frame intentionally leads the viewer’s eye through the design, highlighting the most important elements.
The use of white space (or negative space) is a key aspect of framing, providing visual breathing room and helping to create a balanced, professional look.
6. Type: Type, or typography, refers to the style, arrangement, and appearance of text. It plays a critical role in brand building as it can significantly impact the readability and personality of your brand. Different typefaces carry different connotations – a traditional serif font might suggest sophistication and reliability, while a modern sans-serif font could imply simplicity and forward-thinking.
Furthermore, how text is arranged (line spacing, letter spacing, text alignment) can influence your message’s perception.
Consistent use of type across your brand materials helps to reinforce your brand identity and ensure your message is communicated effectively.
Each of these elements comes together in set balance and style to bring forth a visual identity that signifies your brand in the best manner. Each piece has different principles, which we cannot discuss in detail in this blog.
A consistent brand story depicted through visuals assets supports a strong brand identity. Maintaining consistency might seem like a simple thing, but it isn’t. Once you’re out in the competitive world and you see something else working perfectly for your competitor, it is easy to waver and try to copy their visual identity.
Building Brand Loyalty and Advocacy
Amazon, which offers a wide range of products and cheap two-day shipping, is a brand to look up to. Amazon profited wildly during the COVID-19 crisis.
Simplifying your offering may not be enough of an edge here. You must focus on stellar customer service if you can’t out-compete Amazon, Walmart, and other giants, out-nice them.
Get your name out there. According to Food Business Network, over 65% of customers have tried new brands since the COVID-19 crisis. The reason? Their go-to solutions were out of stock. So do what you need to do to get your name out there. Get noticed.
Now is a great time to try content marketing to enhance your business growth if you haven’t done so already. People crave connection. This is one way to stand out against the giants like Amazon and Walmart.
You can create valuable content that fuses your passion, product, and mission with your awareness and sensitivity. It would be best to look at the Best Buy’s consumer tips for an example of how this is done at the bottom of this article**.
You can attract and engage your target audience through blog posts, quality content on social media channels, guest posts, videos, photos, and podcasts. Please keep it simple, and engaging, and restrict to a shorter engagement time to prevent attention deficits.
Lastly, it is recommended that you move away from a siloed marketing approach. Instead, the way forward is a broad, holistic approach allowing you to cover much ground simultaneously. For example, consider social media marketing, YouTube video sponsorship, and social influencer solutions.
Differentiating Your Brand in a Crowded Market
Put yourself in your loyal customers’ shoes. Then answer the following questions.
Why should your customer seek you out? What makes you special in 2023? Now think of your competition. How can you become an intuitive choice? How can you move closer to being the obvious solution?
Consider these four factors when considering branding strategies:
- What differentiates your brand? This element refers to the unique aspects of your brand that set you apart from your competitors. It could be anything from the quality of your products, innovative features, customer service, company values, or brand story. Whatever it is, it must resonate with your audience and make your brand stand out in the market. Identifying your unique selling proposition (USP) is crucial in developing a successful brand strategy.
- Who is your target market? Understanding your target market is key to creating a brand that connects with your intended audience. This involves determining your ideal customers and understanding their needs, preferences, and buying behaviors. It includes age, gender, location, income, lifestyle, and interests. All these details will help you tailor your branding and marketing strategies to appeal to your specific audience.
- What is your frame of reference? Your frame of reference refers to the context within which your brand is perceived. This can be defined by the market segment you operate in, the product categories you offer, or the key competitors you are compared with. Knowing your frame of reference helps you understand how your brand is positioned in the market and provides insights into how to differentiate your offerings.
- What is your proof? Finally, the proof is the evidence supporting your claims about your brand. It’s important to deliver on your promises consistently to establish trust with your customers. Proof can take many forms, such as testimonials from satisfied customers, certifications or awards, case studies, or data showing the effectiveness of your products or services. This evidence reinforces your brand’s credibility and persuades potential customers of the value you provide.
The first two points of the marketing strategies are rather simple, so we’ll touch on them briefly.
First, what is your unique selling proposition? Next, make sure you’ve spent time considering who your target market is.
Your frame of reference is what your customers and potential clients think of your brand. It’s how they view you.
The human brain operates on association. So when customers come across your logo and other branding elements for the first time, they’ll naturally try to associate you with other similar companies they’re familiar with.
You may not want those associations. So it would help if you always strived to create your frame of reference consciously, on purpose.
Your competitive frame of reference should set you apart. That is to say, it should reduce the number of brands you’re competing with.
This usually requires that you narrow your focus or specialize. If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll dilute your brand. Your frame of reference will assist you in creating buyer personas and reaching out to the ideal customers.
Once you narrow your scope, work hard to establish credibility. Create case studies. Publish white papers. Do whatever you can to show your potential customers that you’re reliable.
Here are some questions you should consider:
- Why are you the best?
- What do you do better than your competitors?
- What is your top competitor’s biggest weakness, and how do you avoid this pitfall?
- Why are you the only brand that can satisfy your target market?
Answering these questions will point you in the right direction. Once you have the answers, create assets that pose these questions and lay out the solutions clearly and concisely.
Finally, when it comes to brand positioning, focus on what you can control. For instance, you may have been forced to streamline your product offering. But you can control how, when, and where you advertise. Likewise, employees may spend more time at home than at work, but you can control how often you brainstorm new product ideas.
Focusing on what you can control will help you manage your stress. That, over time, can pay big dividends.
Brand Building on a Budget
Cash is king, and this is more true than ever. As you look for ways to market, try to cut costs in other areas.
You’ll want to operate as lean as possible as you build your brand. To do this, consider putting off purchases.
Leasing is a better option. If you have leased equipment, you’re only using it when necessary. This reduces operational costs and will help you in more robust brand building.
Next, reduce company travel by allowing employees to telecommute from home. Finally, if your office lease is up for renewal, see if you can renegotiate a better rate. Fewer renters are seeking commercial space than usual. This works in your favor.
Now is the time if you’ve never dipped your toes into digital marketing. Many forms of digital marketing can be cheaper than print marketing or media buys. With so many people online, it’s a great time to transition.
Next, compile a list of the software you use regularly. These days, many premium software solutions have moved to costly monthly or annual billing models. These subscriptions add up.
There is an open-source version of your favorite software out there. It would help if you put time into learning how to use them, but they can save you money.
At the same time, experiment with new, lower-cost business models. Again, many restaurants have to do this to survive.
Many have begun creating and selling meal kits that consumers prepare at home. Others have transitioned completely to a delivery/takeout model.
Customer Centric Approach
If you’re familiar with the story of Sam Walton, you might know that a big part of his driving force was customer experience. Walton’s entire business model was to give the people what they wanted. As a result, he started his first Wal-Mart store with few supporters.
The concept seemed silly to the big stores of the day. A store sold this, that, or the other. Stores didn’t sell everything. But Walton, who grew up in the rural U.S., devised a different strategy—and a sure-fire path to success.
Walton’s frustration with small-town American shopping drove him to start the first Walmart store. Walton, and thousands of rural Americans like him, had to go to two, three, or even four stores in a day to get all the goods they needed. It was an annoyance.
This is, over time, essentially what Sam Walton did when he established and grew the Walmart empire. He started as a frustrated customer.
Then he became an entrepreneur and offered customers a simple proposition: do all your shopping with us under one roof. One trip. One parking spot. Less headache.
It would be best to put yourself in the headspace of your target customer to this degree. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to update your customer profiles so you can align your brand archetype with them.
Moreover, it would be best if you reevaluated these profiles regularly. This will help you understand what your customers need now.
Detailed customer profiles can help you understand:
- Customer wants, and needs are not always the same
- Customer motivations
- Customer sense of self, or self-image
- Customer beliefs and values
Maintaining Harmony Between Marketing and Brand
The goal is to find balance, not to sacrifice one for the other. Put another way, don’t sacrifice long-term brand awareness for short-term sales growth. Instead, striking a balance between the two will allow you to fuel long-term overall growth by acquiring new market share.
It can be tempting to focus on short-term campaigns—particularly right now, as the pressure is on to get sales any way we can. Besides, short-term movements offer a clear-cut picture of the return on investment. Moreover, these sales quickly get new customers into the sales funnel.
Suppose you’re acquiring new customers using promotions such as discounts, free samples, contests, or other means. In that case, you may neglect a critical segment of your business: your existing customer base.
Of course, we’re not suggesting you forgo sales and promotions completely. But it’s a good idea to reach out to your established customer base while seeking new customers.
There are several ways to do this that are low-cost:
- Start a blog
- Start a YouTube Channel
- Spruce up your social media profiles, particularly Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
- Maintain a consistent presence across all relevant social media platforms
- Hold webinars
It’s easier said than done in times like these but don’t lose sight of your long-term awakened brand-building goals.
It’s important to be flexible. Flexibility in business—and branding—is a practice. It’s like meditation in that you do it intentionally over time. It’s not a one-and-done.
Developing business flexibility will allow you to:
- Be open to new ideas from your staff, investors, or even yourself
- Think up innovative product offerings that don’t put your cash flow at much risk
- Offer flexible work hours and options, keeping your staff happy and improving your public image
- Make you more open to new hires you wouldn’t consider otherwise, which can increase your organizational resiliency
Indeed, practicing flexibility is one of the most important swerves you can make. But unfortunately, many business owners tend to, by instinct, take the opposite approach.
They become rigid and risk-averse. Unfortunately, the side effect of this conservative stance is that they miss out on opportunities that can pay off in big ways.
The analogy is, of course, that being more flexible can expose you to more risk. But simply being in the business right now is risky, right?
So if you’re not ready to embrace full flexibility, try making one small change a week. These changes will add up, and you may notice enhanced efficiency, idea generation, or sales. Just don’t make changes willy-nilly..
This post has given you many ideas on positioning your brand and the tenets of brand building. In our next post in this series, we’ll explore more specific and consistent branding process techniques, emphasizing case studies and real-world examples.
If you need a sound brand identity system that speaks for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact SpellBrand. We have a customer-centric approach with a design team that can build the perfect brand for you. Contact us now to learn more.
Best Buy, a well-known electronics retailer, often provides consumer tips to help customers make informed purchasing decisions and optimize their use of electronics. Here’s an expanded explanation of some common types of consumer tips they may offer:
1. Product Reviews and Comparisons: Best Buy provides detailed reviews and comparisons of various products, such as televisions, laptops, or smartphones. These reviews often include information about the product’s features, usability, and price, giving customers a well-rounded understanding.
2. Tech Tips: To help customers get the most out of their purchases, Best Buy offers tips on how to use or set up certain products. For example, they might guide how to connect a smart TV to your home Wi-Fi or tips on optimizing your laptop’s battery life.
3. Buying Guides: Best Buy provides comprehensive buying guides for various product categories. These guides can help customers decide what features are important when purchasing a new product, whether a new camera or a refrigerator.
4. Maintenance Tips: To help customers prolong the life of their electronics, Best Buy offers maintenance tips. These might include how to clean your laptop screen properly when to replace certain parts of your appliances, or how to prevent your devices from overheating.
5. Safety Tips: Ensuring the safe use of electronics is essential, so Best Buy provides safety tips for customers. These can range from safely installing a new television to tips for protecting online privacy when using smart devices.
6. Latest Tech Trends: To keep customers informed, Best Buy shares the latest trends in technology. This could be information about upcoming product releases, emerging tech like virtual reality or AI, or recent advancements in popular product categories.
These consumer tips help position Best Buy as a trusted advisor in electronics, building customer loyalty and driving repeat business.