“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”
— Steve Forbes, Editor In Chief Forbes Magazine.
By now, most businesses recognise the value of having good branding: Not only does it allow you to get the values and aims of your company across to the masses, but, when done right, it can build loyalty towards your business and generate greater profits for your company.
What’s not to love?
However, we understand that knowing you should have strong branding is different to knowing how to create strong branding.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways that you can perfect the way that you present your company to the world, to help you communicate with your ideal customer.
How to perfect your branding
1. Identify your target market through market research
How can you know how to talk to your customers, if you don’t know who your customers are?
Market research allows your business to overcome any marketing challenges that it may face, through learning about your potential customers. It can cover everything from location, occupation and potential spending habits to where they’re already shopping for a solution like yours.
In doing this type of research, you can define your “ideal” customer.
We’d recommend then creating a customer profile, where you list the qualities of an imaginary customer that fits within your “ideal” range. Humanising this market through creating the profile will help you to understand how to best communicate with them.
2. Conduct a branding competition analysis
The truth is, when it comes to branding, there’s probably someone out there who is already talking to your ideal customer. And, they have probably already built some brand equity.
So, utilise that fact to your advantage through conducting a competition analysis.
Are they on social media? If so, which platforms? Do they use the visual or written form to convey their messages? Is their written voice colloquial or formal?
These are the sorts of questions that you should be asking whilst conducting a competition analysis.
That way, you can assess what seems to be working, what doesn’t, and how you can differentiate your brand.
3.Explore your value proposition
Your value proposition is potentially the most important aspect of your brand. As Steve Harvey notes, “your promotional methods are just a megaphone for something underneath – your brand proposition.”
So, make sure that you ask yourself the question, “what is it that my company is giving to my ideal customer/user?”
Conducting user research here can be extremely helpful, in order to assess what your customer’s pain points are and how they’re currently trying to solve their problem. That way, you can more easily identify exactly what you can bring to the table as a company.
Once you have spent time figuring out what your value proposition is, condense it down into a sentence. This isn’t your tagline, but it can certainly be used on branding material to show clearly and concisely how you serve your customers.
For example, whilst Slack’s tagline is “Be less busy”, their value proposition is that it is the “hub for your team and your work”.
4. Assess your company values
Your company is more than just your product or your service.
What is it that you truly care about promoting through your brand and within your business?
For example, here at Snap Out, we place importance on collaboration and communication, sustainability and accessibility, curiosity and the mantra that “client knows best”. These are the core values that shape everything we do. We also aim to work with clients and businesses that share some or all of these values.
By understanding your own company values, you can begin to weave these into your marketing materials, to attract “your people”.
5. Brand perception research
As we’ve spoken about before, brand perception research is a great way to learn how to effectively communicate with your audience.
“Unlike a lot of other types of research, brand perception does not focus on the product or the service itself, nor on the user needs as such, but on exactly how that user views a product, service and company.
It looks at the brand as a whole: A company’s “Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors.”
So, brand perception research focuses on the image that you are portraying to your customers and potential customers. That includes things like visual design and written voice, for example, and then assessing the effect that they have.” (Source)
To find out more about conducting brand perception research, read our blog post on the topic.
If you put there 5 steps into action, you’re going to learn more about your customers or users than you thought possible. In fact, you might know them better than you know yourself!
As you’ve hopefully learned, understanding who you’re talking to is the key to being able to communicate effectively with them, making research absolutely pivotal.