To begin establishing a brand, whether for your company or for yourself (yes, you are a brand too), you should have a full 360 degree grasp of three things:
- How branding works
- How other brands are successful and progressive
- How to apply your branding knowledge
We are constantly caught up in the “where do we even start?” rather than taking the time to fully comprehend branding in its entirety. To truly make an impact with your marketing and branding, you must gain knowledge through research, define your niche and identify your target audience, develop your own tactics, and then, only then, apply your findings.
Branding answers the questions, “what am I promoting and who am I creating advertisements for?”
Defining your audience is key to success; after all, no one product or one company exists that can appeal to all. That’s why the goal is to not only identify what you’re promoting, but who would be most interested in ‘X’ and for whom would ‘X’ be most beneficial for.
RESEARCH your intended audience. What makes them tick? What is their buying behavior? How can you appeal to them? After doing so, you will have a better idea as to how you can advertise to this particular niche.
From this, you can create specified language, design, and outlets geared toward your niche, or target audience. This will not only answer how you prefer your brand to be seen, but more importantly how your brand will be perceived in your niches eyes. This is called brand identity. How you wish for your brand to be remembered, and the extent to which your niche can recall your brand is called brand recognition. Establishing both identity and recognition is crucial in building a/your brand.
For more tips on creating your brand identity from the ground up, check out Hub Spot’s recommendations.
Not only should you define what branding means to you (because we can all read the Oxford Dictionary definition: the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design), you should also take note of other effective and prosperous brands.
Make a list of brands that you find interesting or appealing. Why do you think you feel this way about them? Next, pinpoint exactly what makes these brands successful; understand the tactics used, marketing strategies applied, and ideas implemented.
Once you have a good understanding of brands you admire and how they each work, begin thinking of ways that you can copy them, but copy and make better.
How can you apply other brand’s tactics, while still targeting your specific audience?
Lastly, answer what it will take for you or your brand to enter into this market.
You’ll want to research your niches industry; this doesn’t just mean your audience, but also, who else is out there targeting your chosen group? Be aware of your competitors and any limitations you may run across.
Apply Branding… and watch the magic happen.
Now you have a well-rounded idea of where to begin, and what research is necessary to start the process.
You are ready to build a brand.
After getting to know your audience and adapting your product or company to best suit your audience needs, the next stage is to apply all of this knowledge.
The first steps to apply your branding knowledge are:
- Spread the word through a clear, consistent messageà make yourself visible on all platforms that your niche operates on, and speak to your audience as though you know them personally
- Build your credibility and trustà begin establishing a relationship with your chosen niche, and be able to explain exactly what your brand’s purpose is to others (potential customers or not)
- Get involved in the industry for addition brand recognition and credibilityà this can mean any and everything from guest blogging to attending networking events or expos in your industry