Before we dive into the elements that make up a strong brand, let’s first recap what a brand actually is. It’s a big buzz word, but what does it mean?
What is a brand? In simple terms, your brand is what you mean to people, or what your business means to people. It’s not your logo or your colour palette, it’s more of an abstract thing. it’s the substance below the surface of all the visuals – without substance and meaning, your logo is just a pretty book cover.
Your brand is what your customer thinks of when he or she hears your business name. It’s an experience that’s not repeated by any other company they interact with, and is guided by a set of values that they understand and that resonate with them.
There are 7 basic attributes of a strong brand – when you get these right your brand will naturally flourish. You may currently be strong in many of these areas and need only to tweak a few in order to grow the number of loyal fans and customers you have!
“If you confuse, you’ll lose.” ~ Donald Miller That quote is a pretty blunt way to put it, but it’s true. It can be tempting to use flowery language to describe what your business does and what you stand for. In reality, people have perhaps already spent their daily quote of brainpower elsewhere that day – they don’t have the time to decipher your meaning.
It’s so important that they understand what you do quickly and with ease. As soon as they feel a little confused, or that they need to use some brainpower, they’re likely to leave your website, shop, Instagram profile etc.
Assess the way you talk about your business everywhere. Ask a friend or family member, or better still, a customer. How can you simplify things? Do you describe your business the same way everywhere? Make sure you use simple language that’s free of jargon.
Not everyone is your customer, so you do not need to appeal to everyone. You just need to be relevant to the right people and understand how you help them with your product or service.
Do you understand your customers’ situation and where in their life or day you come in for them? Make sure the messaging and content you share is relevant to them.
Sometimes it might feel like you’re repeating the same things over and over but I assure you, the repetition is necessary to help strengthen your brand.
You must have something that makes you or your business different to your competitors and makes sure you highlight it often. Maybe it’s the way you create or manufacture your product, maybe it’s how or where your materials are sourced from. Maybe it’s a personality trait and the way you show up on social media.
Your unique mix of brand values and the reasons you do what you do are also a differentiator. Point out or illustrate your differentiators often so that they stand out in your customers’ mind.
Make a list of the ways you and your business are different and start weaving them into your messaging and content.
When you’re truly passionate about your product or service it’s plain to see. I think this is the area that most small businesses have no trouble with. We’re all here because we’re passionate about what we do, right?
Making a success of your business is hard – you must have passion in order to move past the knock-backs and the things that go wrong and keep ongoing.
It’s important that your people believe that you’ll deliver on your brand’s promise. There are many ways you can increase your credibility, such as:
- Gathering reviews and testimonials, both experience-based and results-based
- Talk about your business journey, what makes you qualified to do what you do, and how did you get here?
- Collaborate with other businesses, when you support each other it shows that you believe in each other and so your customers will follow suit
- Show your process and the behind the scenes of you actually doing the work
The reason that social media is such a valuable marketing tool now is that it helps your business to be more visible. You can pop up in the news feeds of your followers on a daily basis, keeping you front and centre in their minds.
People are much more likely to buy what you’re selling after they’ve interacted with your brand multiple times. Having social media accounts and a mailing list so you can pop into the inboxes of your customers are both so valuable for visibility of your brand.
Visibility of you as a person also counts, showing the face or faces of the people behind the brand. People buy from people, they want to get to know you and hear about your story.
Last but definitely not least, we have consistency. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be consistent with everything you do. I’m not saying you cannot pivot or fine-tune things, you absolutely can and should as you get further along in your business journey, just build that consistency back up again. If you take nothing else away from this article, make ‘be consistent’ your mantra!
Be consistent in:
- How often you show up
- Where you show up
- How you talk about your business and products
- The content your share
- Your brand identity (logo, colour palette etc)
- Your brand photography