Creating and establishing the right brand image for your business is akin to cultivating the right reputation as an individual since your brand is how you are identified in the market. Your brand image is how your target audience perceives you. So, it’s important to create a comprehensive branding plan before entering a market because incomplete or inconsistent branding might be worse than no branding at all. A few important factors to consider when you are creating a branding plan are your core values, business goals, target audience, the image you want to project, and how to communicate your brand.
Basic Branding Tips For Establishing The Right Image
A few things that can help you lay the foundation of your brand are:
1. Brand Development Objectives
It’s important to understand that branding is not simply an element of your marketing strategy, which might vary from product to product, service to service, and according to changing market conditions. Your brand image will color every marketing strategy and effort, so your branding should reconcile with your business objectives, not your marketing goals. Understanding whether you want to project your business (and your brand) as a disruptor, a market leader, a novelty, a conventional/traditional business is important. Identify clear branding objectives and make sure they are in harmony with your business objectives, your product line, services, and your target audience.
2. Appeal To Your Target Audience
When you are establishing a brand image, you have to think of all your target audiences, i.e., not just your potential customers. Your brand image should convey the right values and success potential to your investors, the right appeal and trustworthiness to your target audience, and a sense of pride to your partners and team. For all target audiences, your brand image should convey the same messages, i.e., who you are, what your business is, what your competitive edge is, and what you can do for different stakeholders in your brand.
3. Focus on Conveying A Consistent Brand Image
Your brand image is more than just your company logo, tag line, a message, or the whole “vibe” your business gives off; it’s your reputation as well. Coca-cola is associated with happiness, and good experience, Caterpillar projects ruggedness and dependability, and Amazon is famous for its customer service. These companies have a wide range of products and services, but they focus on conveying the same brand image with all of them.
4. Develop A Strategy For Conveying Your Brand Image
Establishing a brand image involves conveying your branding message (which concisely conveys what your brand is) to the relevant stakeholders. You can convey your brand image to your potential customers by associating it with your best-selling products/services. That includes imbuing your product/service marketing content with your brand values. Subtle messages like “Company X always strives for the comfort of their customers” or “our services adhere to our values of integrity, transparency, and competency,” etc. You can also run a marketing campaign where the core objective is brand awareness and interaction. Your website, social media pages, even your employees and customers are representatives of your brand image so make sure they all convey the same message. This requires your brand message to be clear and understandable.
5. Be Creative But Resonate With Your Target Audience
When you are developing your brand, don’t become alienated from your target audience simply to stand out from the competition. Try to stay relatable by finding the overlap between your business values and your target audiences’ expectations. If you are in a fast-food retail business, you can’t convey a dreary, black-in-white brand image just because all of your competitors have cheery and colorful websites. It will help you stand out, but you won’t convey the brand image your potential customers might be expecting from a business like yours.
Unlike your marketing tactics and approach that might vary based on what you are marketing, your brand image will most likely remain the same, probably for the lifetime of your business. So try looking at the big picture when you are planning your branding. Don’t create a brand that will help you sell for a year. Develop a brand image that will stay with your customers for decades.