The saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is favoured among many entrepreneurs and songwriters alike, as the quote in itself is simple, yet true in many aspects of life.
Creating a brand is much like building a house, you need a plot to start your building which in this case is the idea. Then with some perseverance and shear will, you can begin to lay the foundation.
The time frame in which a brand can be developed from birth to release can vary depending on the consultant you’ve hired, but some experts say a successful brand can take approximately 5 years to establish within the market place. Essentially, there are steps you need to take in order to get your idea from dreams to reality, and phases that must be addressed before considering yourself a successful business man/woman.
When creating a brand, you need to go through various phases. These phases will be broken down here:
The development phase
This phase is the most important phase when starting out as this will be the basis for the next two phases which represent and market who you are and what your message is to the market place.
When developing your brand, you will need to take into account the research that needs to be made, competitor research, stakeholder research, brand platform formation, messaging, internal and external collateral development, all of which can take up to 2 years to put together.
Careful planning and patience is required when in the development phase because if you rush this then your foundation is already compromised, meaning you’ve failed before you have even started.
The internal review phase
Phase two of building a brand does not require as much time as the development phase but is still equally important. During this phase, you’ll want to display your brand internally, educate and excite your stakeholders, managers, and employees as these are the people that will be representing your brand on a day to day basis.
The importance here is to ensure that everyone within the company has an understanding of the brand and the message that it spreads. If this phase is compromised then it could lead to the brand message getting confused so you want everyone to start off on the same page before even addressing the public.
The release phase
Phase three is where you get to display your brand to the public through various marketing platforms, such as print and digital media marketing in order to get your message out there to your target market in a way that makes you memorable.
For instance, when I say: “Just do it” your automatic thought is Nike, another example: “I’m lovin’ it” your mind goes to McDonald’s. These are two examples where their marketing release was done in a way that displayed their message in a memorable way.
Now there are millions upon millions of articles that tell you how to build a brand and explain the time it takes to make your brand successful and if you’ve read them, you will know that they all mention the same things:
- Be consistent in your brand message
- Never underestimate the value of customer research
- Stick to your vision, mission, and values because creating a brand is one thing, building a successful brand is another
Here are some tips that can be implemented during the above mentioned phases:
Determine your brand’s target audience
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on. When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their specific needs.
Get specific and figure out detailed behaviours and lifestyles of your consumers. Solidify a picture of your consumers, then create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Outline the key qualities & benefits your brand offers
There will always be brands with bigger budgets and more resources to command their industry. You have to delve down deep and figure out what you offer, that no one else is offering.
It could be more authentic and transparent customer service, a better way to support productivity, or helping save money with a more affordable option.
Assuming you know exactly who your target audience is, give them a reason to choose your brand over another. Apple for example is obviously not just another computer company. One of their key qualities is clean design and a key benefit is ease of use.
The point to take away from this is that you must always remind customers about who you are and what exactly you offer that is unique and original to your brand.
Create a great brand logo & tagline
The most basic point of brand building is the creation of your company logo and tagline. This graphic will appear on everything that relates to your small business. It will become your calling card and the visual recognition of your promise.
Be willing to invest the time and money to create something exceptional. You’ll be putting the logo on everything, to reinforce visual identity of your brand.
Form your brand’s business voice
Your voice is dependent on your company mission, audience, and industry. It’s how you communicate with your customers and how they respond to you.
A business voice could be:
There are literally endless adjectives and possibilities that your brand can explore.
Let your brand personality shine
Customers aren’t looking for another cookie-cutter company who offers the same thing as everyone else. They are looking for an experience tailored to their needs, backed by genuine personal interaction.
Ask yourself or pick the brains of your employees:
- Is your brand quirky or conservative?
- Do you have a personable corporate image?
- Do you believe in quality over quantity?
- How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
- What does your business stand for or represent?
You can also extend these questions to your target market by asking them these questions in the form of questionnaires, surveys, etc.
Be your brand’s biggest advocate & fan
Once you have built a brand that works for your small business, you and your employees are the best advocates to market your brand. No one knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word.
When hiring employees, ensure that they align with the culture, the mission, vision, and values of your brand. Encourage employees to establish a personal brand that aligns with your company’s further strengthening reach.
When it comes to your customers, give them a voice by encouraging them to post reviews or share your content on both their social media platforms and yours.
The time it takes to build a brand can be rather long and time consuming. To avoid having any of your time wasted, let us assist you with the building of your brand. We will help you create an emotional connection between you and your clients by developing your brand strategy.