Connecting Your Business with a Market
Getting started with your own business is probably the easiest part of launching a business. Just about anyone can file a DBA online or file their own LLC, go open a bank account, and launch their own website. It really is not that hard. It is just a matter of doing. However, as the old saying goes “everyone can come up with an idea, but the execution is the only thing that matters” which will always ring true to every entrepreneur. That being said, determining what your brand is, is not, and where you want it to go is probably one of the most challenging pieces of actually getting a business together and visible to your target market.
In essence, branding your business is not so much about making some cute and creative, but more so defining what already exists. That probably sounds a little confusing, however, I have listed out a few tips below to help you discover the personality of your brand and how to connect it with the world.
Why Brand Identity Matters
Businesses, as you may know, are made up of multiple functioning parts both internally and externally. Internally you have sales, marketing, product development, UX/UI design, etc. Externally, you have customers. Those customers all have an individual and unique buyer profile. Not every customer is exactly the same, however, they do overlap with what they want from your product or service. You then have your business goals, which is how you will operate internally to provide said products or services. How you provide your products or services is ultimately what makes you unique and stand out from your competitors.
How your business provides its products or services is what we call visual marketing, or setting the tone of the brand. This is how your brand catches they eye of and communicates with your ideal target market. You will find in hindsight that your visual marketing also sets the tone of how you will operate internally. If you produce visuals that say you will over the best customer service within minutes, well then internally you have to have systems and teams in place to actually carry out that message.
As you may start to see, determining what this message is going to be can become rather daunting, stressful to the point of where you start feeling lost. But no worry! If you truly have a unique way of offering your product or service, and it truly is a quality product or service, then your customers will start to tell you what your brand means to them. The trick is to collect this information, find the overlapping parts, and then develop your brand identity from there. Luckily, if your business continues to grow then so will your customer feedback which will allow your business to continuously grow to not only fill demand but create more demand.
Building a Customer Profile
Chances are your business has more than a single customer profile. As an example, a fashion brand is going to have two basic customer profiles. One profile is going to be buying products for themselves while the other profile is going to be buying products as gifts. Think women buying shoes for themselves and then women buy shoes for their husbands. From each of those foundations, you can begin to create multiple profiles based on age, sex, location, online activity, and much more. After you have created multiple profiles you can then create content that targets that specific profile, and of course, amp it up with paid media.
To build these profiles you can use a multitude of tools and communications to get the answers you need to questions like:
- What is the average age of my customers? Specifically, what is the average age of my customers at specific price points (both by item and cart total)?
- The same questions then apply to gender, interests, location, and of course budget.
- Why do my customers choose me over competitors? Price, location, value, quality?
- From there, what is the biggest benefit to my customer with my product or services?
- Does my product or service help solve a problem?
Over time you will also begin to create a map of your buyer’s journey, which consists of:
- Brand awareness
- Brand consideration
- Client acquisition
Once you have created a base for your profiles and also mapped out the journey, you will be able to quickly utilize your visual marketing to attract and acquire target customers.
Tools that can help you create these profiles include, but are most definitely not limited to:
Creating Brand Values
Brand values basically boil down to a visual offering of your brand’s personality. Again, who your brand is, what your brand offers, and what your brand believes in. The majority of companies have a list of 5 to 10 values that are summed out to show what they are about. A great example is the following from Uber.
We build globally, we live locally. We harness the power and scale of our global operations to deeply connect with the cities, communities, drivers and riders that we serve, every day.
We are customer obsessed. We work tirelessly to earn our customers’ trust and business by solving their problems, maximizing their earnings or lowering their costs. We surprise and delight them. We make short-term sacrifices for a lifetime of loyalty.
We celebrate differences. We stand apart from the average. We ensure people of diverse backgrounds feel welcome. We encourage different opinions and approaches to be heard, and then we come together and build.
We do the right thing. Period.
We act like owners. We seek out problems and we solve them. We help each other and those who matter to us. We have a bias for action and accountability. We finish what we start and we build Uber to last. And when we make mistakes, we’ll own up to them.
We persevere. We believe in the power of grit. We don’t seek the easy path. We look for the toughest challenges and we push. Our collective resilience is our secret weapon.
We value ideas over hierarchy. We believe that the best ideas can come from anywhere, both inside and outside our company. Our job is to seek out those ideas, to shape and improve them through candid debate, and to take them from concept to action.
We make big bold bets. Sometimes we fail, but failure makes us smarter. We get back up, we make the next bet, and we go!
Bring It All Together
Once you have created this brand picture, it is then time to start creating the visual marketing material to go along with it. Utilize your brand values to create the tone, or voice, of your brand. Then, create a color palette, fonts, graphics, and even images that represent each value and target customer profiles. A great example of this, again, is Uber.
After all of this has been tied together and compiled, it is then time to start putting it all to work. You can do this by creating a press page on your website, utilizing the new brand kit within your social media strategy, utilize the buyer profiles to improve your paid media campaigns, and the list goes on.
Ultimately, creating branding that matters and is relatable to your customers rather than yourself is going to be that extra bit of work that truly pays off and helps your brand grow to where you want to go.