Your brand is defined by how consumers or businesses perceive your organization. It will develop regardless of the effort you put toward it; kind of like that fort your kids are building in the living room. It’s important to proactively build your brand (and that fort) so that it is solid and stable.
To do so, you need a solid foundation created by four cornerstones:
Core difference is why your business is different from everyone else who says they do exactly what you do. It’s vital that you identify and promote your core difference. If you’re in marketing or small business, this can help you narrow your key offerings as well. When you develop your core difference and make it a focus and foundation of your business, customers can identify you by that difference and identify why they keep returning to you.
Your ideal customer is the perfect match for what you can provide and whom you would like to work with. If you already have a brand (you do), identify who recognizes and uses your brand. Now ask yourself, are these people my ideal customer? If they aren’t, what can you do to ensure that your brand is reaching your ideal customer? This might identify places for brand improvement or redesign, or it could identify that you need to be promoting your brand via different channels.
Visual appearance is the arena that you normally consider your brand. Your logo, your advertisements, your website, are all reflective of your brand. They should be consistent, and along with being consistent with one another, they should be consistent with the image that your company projects in its people and it’s physical appearance. Try walking into your lobby, or have a friend do it. How are they greeted? What is their first assumption about your organization? You need to ensure that these things are all in alignment for your brand to be successful.
You might think that your company is totally original or targeting a market unlike anyone else, and it might be! Regardless, you have competitors, and you are being compared to them. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing for their customers, what they are doing in the community, and what kind of work they are producing. It’s not important to always “Keep up with the Jones’,” but instead, know where you stand in comparison. Do what you do, and do it well.
If you build on these four cornerstones, you will have a solid foundation for your brand to grow.
Kala is a specialist in digital marketing and the Community Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. She loves nothing more than picking up a newspaper and tuning into the local stations. She’s worked with clients spanning a variety of industries and knows that people are the heart of a successful business. Currently enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute to receive a certificate of integrated design, she believes in continuous learning. She loves to travel and try new foods, and documents her travels in her blog. You can shoot her an email to say “hello!” (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow her on Twitter.