Building a brand can feel like going back to middle school. You want to be popular and you want people to like you. But at the same time the harder you try to connect with others, the more they shy away. So how do you transform your business into the popular kid in school without looking desperate?
Successful business owners view their brand as the persona of their business. This doesn’t mean you always have a spokesman front and center. In fact, appearing in all your promo materials can backfire. Instead, consider the set of personality traits you want customers to associate with your brand.
Do you want to be funny? Generous? Trustworthy? Limit this core set of traits to 3-4 to avoid diluting your brand image. Unlike being the popular kid in school, you can’t be everything to everyone when building your brand.
To understand how some companies have nailed their branding check out this branding done right article. Notice how some brands like KSwiss are not afraid to move away from the traditionally accepted path. So be creative and inventive with your strategy when it comes to branding.
Also, be wary of accidentally cultivating negative qualities. We tend to dislike people who are obnoxious, annoying, and boring, and the same goes for brands. You want people to build a relationship with your brand, and that starts with constructing an appealing brand personality. This might sound a bit contradictory to the previous paragraph where I highlight KSwiss, but its a fine line and you need to tread carefully.
Once you’ve decided on your brand’s core personality traits, the next task is to cultivate those traits through consistent messaging and goals.
Don’t Just Sell, Compel
Thinking back to middle school again, you might have noticed that the popular kids always seemed involved in an array of activities. They played sports. They joined clubs. They served on committees. They were always visible, interacting with large numbers of people. Likewise, your brand needs a tint of extraneous demeanor: pursuits that aren’t directly about moving the product.
One of the most prevalent ways to emotionally engage customers outside the sales floor is through philanthropy. Choose a local non-profit (or a few, depending on the size of your organization) whose mission aligns with those core personality traits you previously chose, and become an active patron. Sponsor events, help them with fundraising, and they’ll put your name all over their promotional materials.
Potential customers will view your brand as a community-contributor, and they’ll see the name of your business in positive emotional contexts.
Build Brand Loyalty
Creating brand loyalty is another key component of any brand building exercise. And different companies have different approaches to this.
Probably the best modern day example of brand loyalty is Apple. That loyalty has helped them sell millions of devices at a premium rate. They’re brand is built on amazing user experience and ease of use among other things. When you buy an Apple device you know that it just works.
Most supermarket chains and retail stores ensure brand loyalty with loyalty programs. There’s a reason why POS software like Vend have built in features for loyalty programs.
If you think about it there are hundreds of ways to go about this, so it’s up to you to find the best possible one for your business.
Tell Your Brand’s Story Through Different Media
Finally, remember that back in school different kids had different learning styles? Some were visual thinkers. Some were audio tuners. Some need hands-on applications to learn new ideas. Well, your customers are the same way. There will be different types of media that they prefer, and the savvy businessman thrives in that diversity.
You probably already have a professional website with clear information about your business, and it’s likely that you have an informational blog and social media presence. Maximize those platforms by investing in content that support the core personality traits that you’re developing for your brand.
Is your business about to host a fundraising event for your favorite non-profit? Hire a videographer to produce a 2-minute video highlighting the most engaging parts of the event. Did one of your staff members just attend a professional conference? Write an article about the exciting new industry developments he or she learned. If you’re building the next big app, be sure to establish firm connections with Apple and/or Android.
Afterwards, post all this great material on your website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and wherever else your brand has a presence!
Remember that cultivating a brand is a long-term process, and that building relationships with customers takes time. However, if you have consistent, intentional messaging about the core traits of your business, people will begin to associate those positive qualities with your brand. Over time, you can become the popular kid in your industry. Read more…