Brand development is not a new business concept. Surprisingly, I still speak to many business owners/executives that don’t fully understand its importance.They have read about some big branding campaigns by a mammoth company like Coca-Cola, and can’t make the connection to the relevance for their business.
They also see the huge dollar investment that was made, and know that they are not in a position to spend that type of capital.
Brand development initiatives do not have to be multi-million dollar investments, nor do they have to be on the grand scale that you would find with a company such as Coca-Cola.
Understanding the basic principles of brand development can give you a better position to evaluate your brand and your marketing plans.
Here are the 3 key elements to a brand development strategy:
1. Who are you?
This seems like it would be an easy assignment, but for some companies, this is a hurdle they don’t even want to think about. Companies evolve over time and who your company is today may not be who it was at its inception, or who it may be in the near future.
Companies evolve to improve efficiency, to increase their relevance with their target market, or to zero in on a totally new type of customer. Although it is essential for the longevity of a company for this evolution to take place, it is equally as critical that the brand reflects these changes.
The first step in developing a brand is to clearly define your brand and what is stands for. After all, how can you communicate the value of your brand if you don’t have a solid understanding to base it on?
2. Who needs to know?
This is another way of asking “Who is your target market?”. I prefer to ask “Who needs to know your brand’s message?”.
When I ask companies about their target market, I get far too many broad, all encompassing nets thrown out. “Everyone” is not an acceptable response to the question.
Create a “perfect customer” profile. When developing a brand, it should be crafted to speak to this perfect customer.
Write down every relevant element of this customer's persona. Age, sex, ethnicity, education, are all common attributes, but each industry will have a few additional criteria that may come into play.
Don’t leave out any detail in your initial assessment. You can always refine it down later. Also, keep in mind that you are only profiling one perfect customer. It is ok and normal to have more than one customer profile, just be sure that you have separate profiles for each customer persona.
Each different persona may be attracted to your brand for different reasons, and may be seeking different benefits from your offering. Knowing your different customer profiles will allow you to craft messages that speak directly to them, and will enable you to showcase the relevant valuable aspects of your offering to different customer personas.
3. Why should they care?
Well, now that you know who you are, and who your perfect customer is, it’s time to figure out the last piece to the puzzle; what’s in it for them?
Take a look at your different customer personas. What motivates these people to buy? Write down every purchase motivator you can think of for each persona. These motivators should be at the core of every message to that group of potential customers.
Some motivators are more powerful than others. Finding the most powerful motivators to focus on is paramount. The best way to find them is to use real data.
Make a list of some of your best existing customers that match each persona. Create a survey for each group and let your existing client base lead you to what actually made them select you over your competition.
Now that you have these 3 key elements outlined, it is time to make a plan to tell your perfect customers who you are and why they should care. Partner with a marketing company that will take the time to learn about your brand and help you implement a plan that uses the correct tools to speak to your market.
Because you’re not Coca-Cola, and probably don’t have a multi-million dollar ad budget, take a look at our free e-book on inbound marketing. It is an effective way to build credibility and opportunity within your target market.