Building a strong brand identity doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s a continuous process that’s never truly finished.
Even the world’s most recognizable brands must continually work to reinforce their brand, maintain positive brand perception in the minds of consumers, and foster brand loyalty.
For small businesses, building a brand may seem like an insurmountable challenge. Particularly in today’s competitive landscape in which dozens of other businesses are competing for the same slice of market share.
The good news is there are many ways to connect with your audience in the digital world. Meaning there’s ample opportunity for brands to cultivate strong relationships with consumers.
Brands that do it right benefit from positive customer sentiment, a healthy lead pipeline, and loyal customers who become brand advocates.
These essential brand-building tips will help you create brand awareness and cultivate brand loyalty.
Table of Contents
- 1 Develop a Strong Brand Identity
- 2 Target the Right Audience
- 3 Listen to (and Engage with) Your Audience
- 4 Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice
- 5 Conduct Competitive Analysis – And Do It Bigger & Better
- 6 Leverage Social Media Share & Follow Buttons to Grow Your Audience and Expand Your Reach
- 7 Deliver on (Better Yet, Exceed) Expectations
- 8 Use Customer Testimonials to Your Advantage
Develop a Strong Brand Identity
First and foremost, developing a strong brand identity serves as your foundation for building brand recognition and awareness over time.
Think about the most iconic brands in the world: Coca-Cola, for example, is recognized immediately for its bold red and white logo and signature Coca-Cola font. Your brand isn’t all about the visuals, but the visuals are vitally important.
Choose colors that evoke desired emotions in your audience. Coca-Cola’s signature red evokes confidence. While a brand dedicated to charitable work might choose a comforting shade of blue that evokes trust.
Your brand identity should be recognizable and consistent across all mediums. Meaning your logo, website, social media profile images, and print collateral should all share a color palette and be instantly recognizable as your brand.
Target the Right Audience
Many brands miss the mark simply by targeting the wrong audience or not focusing closely enough on their true target audience. Spend time defining your ideal customer, their attributes, interests, and behaviors.
You don’t need to capture everyone’s interest – just those who would be interested in your products or services – so your content should speak to your target customer, not to the world at large.
When you know who your ideal customers are and what their typical behaviors are, you can fine-tune your marketing strategy. By spending your time on the social media networks where they’re spending their time, posting content at the right times to reach them. Creating content that engages them and solves their most pressing needs.
Listen to (and Engage with) Your Audience
No matter the industry, your audience wants to feel heard. Use social listening tools to keep a finger on the pulse of your audience and identify common questions or concerns. Address them in blog posts, how-to guides, videos, and other content.
It’s not just about social media; your sales and customer service teams can provide valuable insights into common sales objections, common customer inquiries, and positive feedback, as well.
While you may not have immediate answers or resolutions to every problem, remember that people just want to be heard.
So, interact with your audience consistently on social media, respond to emails and phone calls. Let your audience know that you’re not only paying attention, but you also care about them.
Social listening is also important for understanding how your audience perceives your brand. It doesn’t really matter what you say your brand’s values are if that’s not what your audience believes.
If you discover a disconnect between the brand identity you’re trying to build and your audience’s perception of your brand, you’ve got some work to do.
You might need to rethink your target audience (or perhaps you’ve been reaching the wrong audience all along – there’s no better time than now to correct your course). Or, your brand might be suffering from an inconsistent brand voice, which we’ll talk about next.
Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice
Your brand personality should shine through in everything you do. Develop a brand mission statement and brand guidelines and stick to them, consistently.
As your business grows, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of maintaining a consistent brand voice across the many channels. Especially when the team handling customer service inquiries is completely siloed from the team managing your social media interactions.
Keep it consistent, and your customers will know what they can expect from you. Whether they contact you through social media or by phone, reading a blog post, or watching your latest YouTube video.
A glaring disparity in your brand communications can be alarming for consumers and can lead to a loss of trust.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that all your departments, teams, and employees are on the same page.
Conduct Competitive Analysis – And Do It Bigger & Better
It’s not just your audience you should be listening to, but also your competitors’ audiences. Conduct a competitive analysis to uncover your competitive advantages and disadvantages and work to overcome any shortcomings.
Identify common complaints customers have about your competitors and develop products, services, or strategies to solve those issues for consumers.
When you uncover the things customers like most about your competitors, do it bigger and better. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all, and giving customers more of what they want is a sure win.
Growing your audience and expanding your reach is an important part of building your brand. One of the easiest ways to start reaching a larger audience is by installing social media share buttons on your blog or website.
Then, as you create great content that your readers and visitors want to share with their networks, they can do so with a single click. It’s practically effortless for both you and your readers, so it’s a win-win.
Social media follow buttons are also simple to install, allowing website visitors to easily follow your brand on all their favorite social media networks.
That means your visitors don’t have to visit their social media networks and type your brand name into the search bar – just one simple click and the work is done.
All you need to do is continue creating compelling, informative content that delivers value. When your brand is worth a follow and your content worth a share, your audience and reach will grow organically. And the more people who see your content, the more recognizable your brand becomes.
Deliver on (Better Yet, Exceed) Expectations
Every brand must deliver value to earn the continued trust of its audience. As you build your brand, your customers will have certain expectations based on their past experiences and the promises you make.
That’s why it’s important to never promise more than you can deliver; in fact, under-promising and over-delivering is the surest path to success.
Why? You’ll consistently deliver more than promised, which increases the perceived value of your products or services.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a great deal, and customers who receive more than they expected are almost always satisfied, happy customers.
The opposite is also true: If you over-promise and under-deliver, customers feel like they didn’t get what they paid for, which never makes anyone happy.
Unhappy customers are far more likely to tell their friends, and negative word-of-mouth can have a lasting detrimental impact on your brand.
Consider this: 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to your company directly, but they’ll tell between nine and 15 people about their bad experience. Word can spread fast – especially in the age of social media!
Use Customer Testimonials to Your Advantage
Speaking of word-of-mouth, you can use positive customer feedback to your advantage. Ask your most satisfied customers to give you a written or video testimonial to use on your website and your social media profiles.
Watching or reading the stories of real customers who have benefited from your products or services is far more powerful than any claims you make about your own brand.
Testimonials add a human element to your brand, with an emotional element that your audience can connect with.
Plus, reading or watching testimonials from other customers or users who are “just like them” helps your audience see and understand how your brand can benefit them in ways that a list of features and benefits never could.
Customer testimonials are one of the most powerful forms of social proof; they’re far more compelling than broad claims like, “10,000 users can’t be wrong!”
The only thing more convincing than a genuine customer testimonial is a direct word-of-mouth recommendation from trusted family members or friends.
Building a brand is a marathon, not a sprint, and your work is never done. Even successful brands can go off the rails by making a few mistakes, but it’s never too late to get back on track.
When you follow these brand-building best practices consistently, you’ll foster consumer trust, gain brand recognition, and cultivate loyal fans who will help to spread the word about your brand by sharing your informative content and through customer testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing.
When you start gaining brand recognition organically, you’re on the path to success.
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