Brand development is one of those things that most people don’t do enough work on. We’ve talked about branding before and why it’s so important, but as you venture out to build your own brand or you are looking to change things up a bit with a rebrand, consider these five things you need to know about brand development.
Brand Development Tip #1: You need a good foundation to make a splash
Sometimes it happens where you all of a sudden have a company. An idea you had took off, or maybe you were providing services on the side before you realized you were ready to step away from your day job to take the full entrepreneurship plunge. Regardless, you need a brand. Many business owners, in the rush to get a brand developed yesterday, don’t fully walk through the process. Instead they treat it like a hurdles race and jump over things that they think might slow them down.
The concern with this is that, while you may get to the finish line faster, you haven’t done the foundational work that will set your business and brand up for success in the long run. When it comes to branding, the “fake it till you make it” strategy isn’t really a good idea. Your brand is an important part of building awareness among your target audience. Some of the foundational aspects you shouldn’t skip over include:
- Value proposition
- Brand messaging
- Brand voice
- Audience segmentation
Brand Development Tip #2: Branding is so much more than developing a logo
Continuing the discussion of the foundations of brand development, remember that branding is much more than just a logo design. Your brand represents how you want your audience to see you. More importantly, it’s how your audience actually sees you.
You need to figure out who you are as a brand – your brand character/personality and this will help you to connect with your audience in the best way.
Brand Development Tip #3: It’s all about your audience
While you need to relate to and believe in your own brand, you also have to consider who your target audience is and what they will respond most to. For example, if your target audience is young and fun, would they want to deal with a stuffy, mature brand? Probably not. They won’t be able to relate to it very well.
To ensure you are on the right track, map out your customer journey and the audience experience with the brand. This means looking at each potential touch point they might have with your brand. For example, consider interactions such as those on your social media channels and website, with your sales team, at retail locations, etc.
Brand Development Tip #4: Consistency will help you gain awareness
Communicating as your brand should be consistent across channels when it comes to working within your brand parameters. This will ensure your target audience gets to know who you are and they will start to recall the brand more frequently. Ultimately, you want your target audience to recognize aspects of your brand without having to see your name even. Some great examples of this are Coca-Cola’s white font, Instagram’s logo, Twitter’s logo, and Starbucks’ logo. While you may not hit that kind of notoriety, having your target audience recognize your colours and different aspects of your brand is a great first step. For example, when it comes to SongBird, most people recognize us because of the Purple and Teal in our logo.
You can also do the same thing with the types of content you put out there as well. Your timing, tone, and language should be consistent on a daily basis. Your target audience will get used to hearing from you.
To help you with your brand consistency, create a brand guide that includes things like colours, fonts, language, tone, feel, etc.
Brand Development Tip #5: It’s not permanent
After your initial brand development, if you have taken the time to do it right, you should let your brand breathe. Give your audience time to interact with it and respond to it. If, after a certain period of time, you feel it’s just not working, rebranding isn’t unheard of. Businesses do it all the time. Just don’t make it an annual habit because then your audience won’t have a chance to get to know who you are. You will spend so much time rebranding and rebuilding audience trust and awareness that you won’t reap the benefits of a well-executed brand development strategy.
If you really feel like your brand isn’t working, before jumping into rebranding mode, it’s important to really figure out why it isn’t working. Once you can answer this question in detail – with feedback from key customers – then you can begin the brand development exercise again. The worst thing you can do is just make changes for the sake of making changes rather than basing it on data and sound reasoning.
As your business strategy, target audience, and focus develops over time, you will find that your brand will also need to evolve. Sometimes a brand refresh is necessary without going through the full brand development process for a rebrand of the business.
Brand development has a lot of parts to it if you do it right. If you’re stuck, be sure to give us a call and we’ll work with you to set you up for growth and success in your business.