9 Questions You Must Ask While BUILDING Your BRAND


Marketing Dog In Bee CostumeCreating “brand buzz” is essential to stand out in today's market. Is there "brand buzz" surrounding YOUR company? There should be.
So how — and where — do you begin to build your brand?

First, let’s step back and define "brand" in the most relative terms:

A brand is who you are, who you want to be, and who/what people perceive you to be. Your brand is directly related to the TRUST and CONFIDENCE people have in your product or service.

Taking it one step further, brands are established, built, maintained and destroyed — based on the way people think and feel about them. To effectively brand a product or service requires the graphic designer and marketer to influence the way people think (reason using analytical data) and feel (connect with their emotions) about your company and what you offer them. Influencing the way people think and feel takes time and is extremely difficult to measure.

So what things should you consider while building or refining your company’s brand? Here are 9 basic "branding" questions to get you started . . .

1. What is our mission? This may be the most important part of brand building. Your mission should represent who your company is, what you stand for (and what you don't), and what your vision is for the future. Once you establish a mission, you'll be able to effectively build your brand around your specific company philosophies.

2. What are the attractions and the benefits of our products/services? To show the importance of this question, let’s take a look at Apple. They know their products inside and out; they have confidence in the products they make; and they offer high-quality technical services and support. Can you say the same about YOUR business? It’s vital to know about your products and services, but you also need to take the time to determine how your products and services can attract and benefit your customers.

3. Who is our audience? It’s important to know whom your products and services are geared toward. If you're targeting C-suite clients, don’t use trendy slang in your newsletters. Know your audience. Speak their language (but avoid cumbersome jargon). Show your prospects that you understand their needs and their culture and that you have precisely what they're looking for to make their job easier.

4. What is our voice? Once you've defined your audience, you need to refine your voice. If you're a children’s toy company targeting stay-at-home moms, don’t write stilted, formal marketing content that sounds like it belongs in a boardroom. Write like a parent talking to a good friend, sharing playful, kid-friendly ideas. Decide if your company's voice should be fun, serious, bubbly, trendy, off-the-cuff, straightforward, anecdotal, etc. Take the time to analyze your audience to know what they'll relate to best.

5. What qualities do we want people to associate with our company? This is taking #4 a step further. Once you establish your voice, you'll have already answered the first half of this question. But do you want to be known for exceptional customer service? Perhaps being a strong supporter of eco-friendly products and methods? You can’t be known for it all at least not right away. Find qualities or values your business is passionate about and PROVE IT!

6. Are we unique? Remember, this is building YOUR personal brand. Don't try to fit into someone else’s brand mold. It's one thing to admire parts of other companies and adopt qualities and pieces of theirs that you want to become. But don't try to be exactly like another company. The point is to STAND OUT among your competitors.

7. Are we present in the all the right places? Part of building brand is adopting some brand awareness strategies. 2014 is the year social media and content marketing are going to take over. Don’t ignore any opportunity to familiarize your audience with your brand. Start by deciding which social channels, blogging platforms, and other digital tools are right for your business AND how to effectively utilize these channels to build brand.

8. Are we appropriately dressed? I don’t mean this in a literal sense. I don’t need to know if you wear boxers or briefs or if you prefer cat-patterned socks to plain-white Hanes. I’m referring to your company logos, colors, and graphics. Take the time to do your research. Color can provide emotional responses. Certain words can trigger different reactions. And a particular graphic can be more effective than another. Most importantly, be consistent with ALL of your visual branding. There's a reason why we see a red bull's-eye and instantly associate it with Target! Check out this post for an overview of 15 businesses to admire for consistent, stellar branding.

9. What is our slogan? This one can be tricky and time consuming, but try not to force it. Having a strong, memorable, and concise tagline will provide consumers with an instant feel for the essence of your brand. Most importantly, it will help them remember you. Does this tagline sound familiar: "They're Grrrrreat!” (Now THERE'S a memorable tagline!)

Since brand equity is difficult to measure, many marketers don’t like to spend their time on it. They’d rather just market and sell stuff and measure their sales volume. But building a brand is critical for the success and growth of any business.

Remember, branding has a very specific purpose:

By influencing the way people think and feel about your products and services, you can create “likeability.” {Tweet this!}

People like to buy from companies and people they like. So get started building a likeable brand for yourself TODAY. It's really a simple concept and a critical step toward BOOSTING sales, excelling in lead generation, and setting your business up for SUCCESS.

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