What is Brand Development?
Developing your brand is a huge part of building your content marketing strategy, especially if your company is just getting started or you're having trouble turning website traffic into qualified leads.
While getting started on your company blog and developing your social presence online using different social media platforms, you'll likely be told by your marketing department (or an outsourced marketing agency, if you're using one) that you need to 'develop your brand' before your marketing plan is truly complete.
During project discovery, whether or not you have a specific 'brand' already will be a part of the conversation. While many businesses do take this step right from the beginning, just as often we find that our clients aren't quite sure who exactly they're hoping to attract, and so they're not sure what sort of voice to utilize.
Brand development—creating a consistent and compelling voice, style, and overall presence that you utilize throughout all your marketing efforts—can be the difference between success and falling short of your goals.
How can you develop a company brand that creates a positive association with your business in the minds of your potential clients or customers?
We have a few tips.
Build Your Buyer Personas First.
You're going to hear this from me over and over again—building your Buyer Personas should be one of the first steps you take! Even if you're an existing organization looking to make changes to your marketing efforts, building your Buyer Personas will still be at the top of your to-do list.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal clients or customer, with basic information about them taken from real clients or customers you've worked with.
I like to use the example of Betty.
Betty is a busy mom searching for HVAC repair. She has a full-time job, kids in school, and volunteer commitments that make her schedule somewhat complicated. Betty responds well to a business that emphasizes quick and thorough repair that is scheduled around her calendar.
Betty does most of her research online, but also values recommendations from her friends. While comparison shopping and evaluating her options, she responds well to a friendly yet matter-of-fact tone because it matches her own mindset. She's searching for qualified work at reasonable rates and would like to know the cost upfront, but she's willing to pay a bit more for the convenience of working with a company that schedules everything around her busy lifestyle.
The "Betty" buyer persona is just an example, but you can see the detail included in building Betty into a three-dimensional representation of the type of customer you want to work with and, therefore, should be talking to. Once you have two or three Buyer Personas that work for your own business, you'll be able to reference them while building your online 'voice' and presence.
To learn more about the creation of Buyer Personas and to find information that will help you get started on building your own, you can view our FREE Slideshare Presentation right here.
Define Your Product or Service
We're not really talking about the individual products you sell or specific services available to clients. We're talking more about the way you sell those products or services.
I talked about this a bit in my blog on developing a marketing strategy. It's not enough to know the answer to what you're selling, you also need to define how and why.
Storytelling is an important aspect of Inbound Marketing, because the whole point is to create compelling marketing that draws your customers to you, rather than you having to chase after them.
Define your product or service to ensure it matches what your Buyer Personas are searching for. If there's a mismatch, then odds are you need to revisit just who is buying your product/service and why.
Translate Your Voice Into Design
It's not enough to slap a few details about your product on a website and call it a day. Brand development includes design as well as 'voice.'
People are inherently visual creatures, and the right logo and website design can change the way you're perceived by your potential customers before they ever read a word of your content.
Work with your design team to ensure that your 'brand' is represented by your website design. A B2C company with a playful, casual image, such as a coffee shop or small boutique, may find that a more casual, colorful website design is a smashing success at attracting new customers. A law firm or healthcare organization, on the other hand, may have more success utilizing cooler colors and a more streamlined design that create a calming effect and a sense of professional authority.
Maintaining consistently updated, compelling, and visually interesting design is essential for supporting your company's 'brand.'
It doesn't matter what you're saying if your design is so off-putting that no one sticks around to find out.
Document and Protect Your Process
Every single step of the process you use to develop your brand should be documented.
Create and maintain a Project Management document. This way, you'll be able to track not just successes but also potential missteps. It will also give you a reference point if you bring new people on board, so they'll know what Buyer Personas they're speaking to and what 'voice' you're using.
We recommend storing project management and development documentation remotely, using services like Dropbox. This gives your team access to the documents without the possibility of loss if anyone's individual machine goes down.
Bring Everyone on Board From the Start
The key to successful brand development is consistency.
If one employee is casual and friendly in their marketing materials while another is cool and businesslike, clients will feel unsettled by the different 'voices' you're using and your storytelling efforts simply won't be successful.
Make sure your team is on board with your brand from the start, so that everyone is prepared to maintain a consistent style and voice without interruption. Even if you have a single marketing employee responsible for your content, you may end up moving that employee onto a different project later on. Make sure every employee will be able to maintain your voice as-needed.
Searching for Inbound Marketing Services in Greenville, SC?
At Waypost Marketing, we've got plenty of experience with brand development, and we've worked with everything from small businesses just getting off the ground to large companies and professional industries subject to advertising regulations.
Build a brand that is compelling and consistent by utilizing Waypost Marketing. We're a full-service Inbound Marketing agency based in Greenville, SC and we're dedicated to telling your story. Reach us by phone at (864) 288-6162 or contact us online at any time to get started!