An often overlooked, yet crucial, piece of establishing a new business or expanding an existing one is brand development. Maybe it’s overlooked because it stands in the way of going to market and generating revenue. Or maybe it’s overlooked because many business professionals and entrepreneurs don’t completely grasp its importance.
Spoiler alert: your brand (not just brand name or company name) will be one of the most important things to define. And brand development will be a vital exercise as you ramp up your business.
If you’re starting any business, whether it be big or small, establishing your brand with the help of marketing processes will help you and your business thrive. To consult digital marketing specialists, visit Digital Spotlight.
What is Brand?
Brand is the overarching look, feel, and persona of your business. Just like what we wear and how we present ourselves provides a baseline idea of who we are, your brand and brand elements paint the same sort of picture for consumers.
Brand elements can include your colors, logo, fonts, copywriting tone, imagery, and even your brick-and-mortar presence.
Think about some of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the world: Apple and Samsung in tech; McDonald’s and Burger King in fast food; Lowe’s and Home Depot in hardware and home improvement.
Each of their brand elements was carefully chosen and meticulously crafted to work together to tell you something about the company, its products, and its target audience.
Establishing your brand is the end goal of brand development, so let’s explore what that process looks like.
Brand development should be an ongoing process if it’s done the right way. If that sounds torturous, it’s really not.
Part of establishing your brand and developing something that’s consumer-facing is continuously learning and iterating. Is your target audience changing over time? Are your brand values evolving? Is your industry changing? These are some key points to consider in the ongoing brand development process.
As you begin the brand development process, there are some key things you’ll need to define. Some of these you can probably define independently or in collaboration with other internal stakeholders. Others may require some market or industry knowledge or research.
Who Are You? What Do You Do?
This seems pretty straightforward, but it’s important to define it upfront. If you’re a landscaper, your strategy and audience are going to be different from that of an electronics store.
Really hone in on what you’re doing and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Those answers are important pieces for the rest of this puzzle.
What’s Your Target Audience?
Try to answer that without being overly broad. “Everyone within 15 miles” and “anyone who likes nice TVs” are audiences that are far too vague.
Keeping in mind your answers to the questions above, try to narrow down the type of consumer that will benefit from your product or services.
If you’re a landscaper, your audience isn’t everyone within 15 miles. Sure, you’ll accept business from anyone in that radius, but think about the consumers within 15 miles who are in the market for a landscaper.
Some attributes that may better define your audience could include:
- Older residents who are unable to care for their yard anymore
- Busier, more affluent residents who don’t have the time to do their own landscaping, but have the money to pay for someone to do it for them
- Residents new to town who are looking to complete some landscaping projects on their new property
Each of these attributes narrows your audience and makes your marketing more effective.
What are Your Brand’s Values?
This certainly doesn’t mean you need to take a stance on every social issue. That’s a very difficult thing to do, even for the most defined brands with the best and brightest managing their brand strategy.
However, consumers in 2022 have shown a propensity to support the brands and organizations that mirror their core values and beliefs.
Using the landscaping example again, sponsoring a little league team, volunteering to clean up the park, or donating your services to the senior center are all ways to show support for causes important to your audience without wading into polarizing social issues.
What Does Your Brand Look and Sound Like?
Your brand colors, fonts, logo, and your tone when you’re speaking or writing – these all help define your brand to your audience. When these elements are well thought out and work together in harmony, they can speak volumes for the quality of your brand and your work.
What’s the Ongoing Part of Brand Development?
While you may go through the brand development process and define your brand and audience, the next – and ongoing – step is to keep learning, listening, and evolving.
Pay attention to your consumers and how their needs change. Pay attention to developments in your industry.
Developing a strong brand identity and constantly learning & evolving is a vital piece for any business to be successful.