Branding is an important aspect of every business, regardless of its size, history or area of expertise. Your brand lets customers and clients know in the simplest terms who you are and what you do. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that you and your business clearly define what your brand is.
How one does that is less simple. In many ways, you, your business and your brand should exist as natural extensions of one another; everything you do as a business or as a part of that business should “fit” the brand. It is how potential clients and customers identify you as the right fit for them, and it is how you can target the specific customers and clients that you want.
But what does it really mean to “build your brand”? Here are some tips and strategies that anyone can use to establish a brand and start spreading their message.
1. Telling Your Story
Your brand should be built off of your specific story. You likely had a vision or a goal when you started your company; an idea of what you wanted it to be and who you wanted it to be for. So use that as a starting point.
The foundation of your brand is based on a few things:
The answers to those questions lay the groundwork for your story. Once you have that, you can begin to build layers on top of that, like you do what you do, and how your business is This story is your brand narrative, and developing this narrative in a clear, concise and simple way helps make your business relatable, and provides a connection between you and your customers or clients.
2. Presenting Yourself to the World
How you choose to tell your story is also a very important aspect of branding. There are countless ways to present yourself to the world, and any number of them can help your business grow. This is where you make the decision as to how you choose to spread your message to the public.
How you present yourself to the world, and thus how the world sees you comes down to a few things:
What format your content is presented
Who your target audience is
The platform through which you spread your message
Your content, which will be based around your story, can take many shapes and forms, whether it’s a blog post, an op-ed, a newspaper ad, or even a television appearance or quotes and comments from you in an article. The format and the platform of your content will likely be dictated by who your target audience is. Maintaining your brand in large part comes down to consistently and clearly presenting your content and your story to the right audiences, in a way that is most likely to resonate with them. Targeting specific trade publications and traditional media is an excellent way to ensure that your message is being heard by the right people.
3. Going Social
Social media and the various platforms it encompasses has grown to a point where it can no longer be ignored by your branding initiatives. Posting consistently on social media is a way to directly engage with a massive potential client base. It allows you to spread your message to a much wider audience, and keep people coming back. The potential audience on social media grows every day, and it can provide you and your business with the perfect platform to tell your story.
For some perspective:
Over 86% of people aged 18-29 use social media
Over 70% of people aged 30-49 use social media
Over 50% of people over the age of 50 use social media
What that means is, no matter your target audience, there is a strong chance they are on social media in some capacity, so you should be too.
Choosing the right social media platform for your business is important too. No two social media platforms are the same, and each one has its own special offerings, and its own faults.
4. Consistency is Key
The most important aspect of branding is consistency. People want to know what they are getting from you. Every side of your business, every action you take as a part of that business, should be in line with the brand. This requires a lot of discipline at times, but every brand is different.
It’s important that your message stays the same across all platforms, whether it’s your website, blog, or social media pages. Presenting yourself differently on different platforms will only serve to confuse your customers. Branding is about recognition; your brand has to be recognizable in everything you do, and changing or shifting your message makes this very difficult.
If your brand is authentic – if it is based on a true and thoughtful story about you and your business – consistency actually shouldn’t be very hard to maintain. This is why establishing your brand narrative is so important. It is truly the foundation of your brand, and every key branding strategy in some way or another hinges upon that narrative.