MARKETING STRATEGY 105: THE ART OF CREATING AND COMMUNICATING THE VALUE OF YOUR BRAND.

Brand identity is the sum total of how your brand looks, feels and speaks to people. It is a way to communicate with the world, differentiate yourself from your competitors. A brand identity is what sells and not the product/service per se.

In today’s world, you don’t decide what your brand is, your customer does. People no longer buy products/services, they join brands. If you want your business to succeed, you have to build a brand that resonates with your target audience.

Building a brand takes time, effort and lots of consistency.

First, let’s clear up the biggest misconception about brand identity: Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name.

In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the stuff that feels intangible. 

In order to create a strong and effective brand identity, there are a few things that you need to do.

Complete your brand strategy

This is a process that most upcoming entrepreneurs ignore as it sets the tone of the business. Brand strategy includes your business core values, mission and vision statements, taglines, logo and a color palette, positioning in the market, brand stories. At this point, you want your target audience to have an image of who you are and what your business can offer them. This is the stage in which you paint an image in your prospective consumer.

Do a complete analysis of the current state of your brand identity.

Growth and change are fundamental aspects of any business. When a change occurs, by nature we are expected to adjust and re-position ourselves accordingly. The same should apply to brand identity. Before making any changes, you should first do a total analysis of your brand identity. How it is perceived both internally and externally. Find the weaknesses in your brand identity and root it out while you strengthen the core parts of it.

You can achieve this by asking for feedback from your employees as well as your customers. This exercise requires you to be very open minded as you might get to hear some unpleasant truths. This should be used as an opportunity to learn what’s working and what isn’t.

Identify your competitors.

‘If you aren’t a little different than your competitor, you are in trouble,’ Mark Sanborn.

Building a brand identity is all about standing out from your competitors. Customers being able to point out what makes you visible, relevant and unique. To get to this point, as a business owner or a marketer, you need to understand your competitors in order to avoid blending in. There are online tools that can help you understand the competitive landscape of your industry. Thus, it’s crucial to understand not just who your competition is but how your brand compares, in perception and presentation.  

Be more consumer centric.

Consumer centric is an approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer. Consumer centric businesses ensure that the customer is at the center of a business’s activities and goals. Building a brand that is associated with being consumer centric gives your brand identity a boost.

Finding new customers is already hard as it is and being focused on the customer’s needs, allows you to build trust and loyalty with them. After a while, a solid reputation starts to build as well.

Once you know which level you are at in building your brand identity, being able to communicate about it is equally important.

Effectively communicating value to your customers is critical for your business to achieve its objectives, whether that’s to sell products or services, convince a target investor to buy shares in your company, or recruit and retain the best employees. How you communicate the value of your company contributes to building the brand that stakeholders and consumers perceive.

Define your products and its benefits.

Articulate the benefits of your product/service to your consumers and tell then why they should choose you over your competitors. Be wary not to fall into the trap of first listing your features. The consumer in most cases is not into the features in as much as knowing which pain-point the product/service will be taking care of.

Develop a convincing USP

Your USP is what makes your business and its products/services different. It’s what you offer that no-one else does in your market – whether that’s higher quality, a lower price, a better customer experience or a new technological innovation. If you can’t develop a USP for your consumers, then you will have a hard time trying to sell.
A strong selling proposition, well communicated, will help customers quickly understand what your business offers and why they should choose you over the competition.

Master the art of storytelling

Storytelling is the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are improvised in order to better explain the core message. This is one of the most powerful ways to breath life into your brand. Storytelling enables marketers to develop a deeper connection with the audience. 

Know your target audience to tailor your content to their needs. Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell.

Speak the language of your customer.

‘Your products are great, but your competitor gives me what I’m looking for.’

These are words that most marketers and business owners dread. Getting to know your target audience takes some time and that’s why it is imperative that you come up with a buyer persona. A buyer persona helps you understand your customer and their needs.

A customer will only do business with you if they feel that you understand their needs and that you can meet them. Make them feel that they are in the right place and they shouldn’t need to have any concerns. Once you establish a rapport, the rest will follow automatically.

Conclusion.

Value can mean different things to different people and often it’s presenting it as a solution to a problem they are trying to solve. Being able to develop a brand identity that has value takes time and effort.

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