How to design a brand strategy that works

Designing a brand strategy that stands out is very important for any brand but, knowing how to design a formidable strategy for your brand is even more important.

According to a study conducted by the University of Loyola, Maryland, researchers found that it takes about 90 seconds to form an impression about a product.

And between 62% to 90% of the decision is based solely on the brand color.

Despite this reality, branding is much more than first impressions. As a business entity, you have to take into account the many other factors that impacts consumer perception of your brand.

As a brand, while designing your brand image you need to understand your marketing needs clearly. You also need to consider how you want your company to be seen as well as how it is currently being perceived by your target audience.

That said, the following are 8 important steps to design a compelling brand that will attract the right audience…

Evaluate Your Core Values

It’s difficult to build a brand when you aren’t sure about who you are or what you stand for.

Before you attempt to revamp your logo or create a fabulous tagline, spend some time in self-reflection.

Ask your self questions like, why did I or why do I want to start this company in the first place? Is there a particular demographic I’d like to help? What are my long-term goals for the firm?

After that, write out a mission statement explaining what you do and why you’re doing it.

Anything else you do should always consider your purpose as a business and whether you’re fulfilling your mission. If something doesn’t fit, it must go.

Choose a Brand Message

Step back and think about the outside image of your brand. What message do you want to send to potential customers?

Your purpose might be a bit more complex than the focus you offer to your target audience. It’s fine to simplify things a bit.

Most brand messaging comes in short snippets, of a few catchy phrases. So, if you keep things too complicated, you’ll lose people’s attention.

Create a brief marketing message that you can summarize in a sentence or two.

Rethink Your Brand Name

Does your brand name tell users what you do? Some creative names can inspire, such as a gourmet hot dog restaurant called That’s My Dog or a grooming company called Zippity Do Dawg.

Think about the style of name that best represents your brand. A confectionery store might benefit from a fun name, while a financial institution would be better off with a brand name that sounds more formal.

Usually, your brand name appears on everything you do and often time the best way people spread word-of-mouth marketing about you.

Make sure the brand name you choose is something you want to live with for years to come and that it fully defines who you are, what you do and who you’ll be in the future.

Create a Logo that stands out

Your logo is another element of your marketing that appears almost everywhere as far as your brand is concerned. You’ll use your logo on your website, in emails to clients, on social media and your storefront.

Your logo needs to be scalable to various sizes, so that it can easily show on different screens whether it be on a billboard or scales down to size on a smartphone or laptop screen, as someone browses your website.

Think about the places your logo might appear, and make sure it translates well to different mediums.

You can gain attention with a vehicle wrap featuring your gorgeous logo and a phone number. You might also add the logo to boxes you ship to your online clients.

There are so many different places you’ll utilize a logo, so focus on creating an outstanding logo for your brand and ensure you have a logo that is usable for multiple purposes.

Find a Voice

People care about how consistent your message is. To create a brand that stands out, you need to choose a tone for your brand and stick to it.

If your customers encounter you on social media, they should get the same vibe as if they come into one of your stores.

You want to create a brand that is friendly and reliable. Make it in such a way that when people think of your brand, they should think of fun, helpful, smart or customer-oriented brand.

Find a word that defines what you stand for and show that personality in all you do.

A handful of companies have come up with a persona to represent their brand. So, Sassy Susie might be the lens through which a marketer responds to customers on social media.

You can also come up with any persona that suits the image you would like to portray and stick with that.

Start with thinking about the values you espouse as a brand and then combine them into the attitude your brand gives.

Create a Style Guide

It’s vital you maintain the highest standards possible for design if you want to create a brand that stands out.

A brand style guide ensures everyone who works on your website, an ad, online marketing, in-person marketing or any other aspect of your business follows the same general outlook.

Your style guide should include your brand color palette, the fonts you use, details on images and so much more.

The style guide is also where you’d include your preferred tone of voice (ToV) and details on your business persona.

If you want your business to be referred to in a particular way, include the details in your guide.

You might have dozens of people working on your marketing materials over the years, however, if you have a robust set of rules laid out, everything will match your preferences and you’ll have a consistent look that stays with people.

Tap Into Social Awareness

Some of the most successful brands on the planet embrace a cause their customers care about.

TOMS Shoes is an excellent example of a brand that has found a purpose and allowed their customers to get involved. Whenever someone buys a pair of shoes from them, they know the company will donate to people in need.

There are many brands using this model or that give back a portion of their proceeds.

Decide what you’re passionate about and if your target audience shares your cause, you might decide to sponsor the cause as a marketing strategy.

Always be authentic in whatever you do. People see through anyone just trying to make a buck without really caring about the cause they’re pushing.

You can also become known as the brand that gives your employees paid time to volunteer for the cause. You can also donate within your local community.

Bring in customers who have great ideas for further helping and talk them up on your social media pages. Once you embrace a need, do everything in your power to make a difference in the world.

Bring in Brand Ambassadors

Now that you have a good idea of what your brand stands for and the difference you want to make in the world, it’s time to draw in some brand spokespeople.

While getting your brand ambassadors, be sure you choose people with the same vision you have. Look for influencers with a similar target audience and similar attitudes to yours.

Think about how to utilize your influencers to get the word out about who you are and what you do.

Do you want them to use your product and share that? Perhaps you want them involved in your cause, such as going out and volunteering on your behalf and getting you some valuable media exposure.

There isn’t a wrong way to work with brand ambassadors. Just remember that they’ll be the face of your company. Make sure they are trained and represent you in the best way possible.

Look Ahead

When branding for marketing purposes, you must look ahead to where you’ll be in a year, five years and even 10 years from now.

The company you’re building will grow and morph over time. Your company culture will change as new people come and go…

Think about the underlying purpose behind your business and always keep your eye on your mission.

If you stay focused, your brand will become known for positive things, and your external image will be beneficial for your company.

There you have it. What is the most important struggle you encountered as a small business brand? Let’s hear you.

This post was written by Lexie Lu.

Lexie is a Web Designer and IoT enthusiast. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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