Being a successful business owner isn't just about developing products and services, and delivering value to your customers — it requires a continuous focus on brand marketing.
Creating a strong brand presence online through your marketing can help build your brand, increase sales, and boost conversion rates. Whether you operate an e-commerce company, a traditional brick-and-mortar shop, or you do business both online and in-person, building your brand online is more important than ever.
Here's what you need to know about creating a strong, positive brand presence online:
1) Choose Your Brand Name
Picking the perfect brand name sounds easy. But actually, choosing a perfect brand name takes a lot of research, brainstorming, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Your brand name plays a big role in the success of your business. It's how your customers and prospects will identify your company, your products, and your services — and differentiate your company from the competition.
A great brand name is easy to say and remember. It embodies the mission, values, and goals of your business, and it's something people want to be associated with.
On top of that, you'll need to make sure your brand name isn't offensive, since the last thing you want is angry backlash over a brand name that's controversial.
And that's asking an awful lot from a single word or short phrase.
When choosing your brand name, you need to:
- Choose a name that's easy to remember, distinctive and doesn't have negative connotations
- Carefully vet prospective brand names by researching it online, verify if it can be trademarked, and check if the associated URLs are available
- Decide if your brand logo will be text-only, known as a wordmark, or if you'll be using a symbol, or a combination of the two
2) Establish Your Brand Image
Think about your favourite brand. What do you love about it? Does it offer high-quality products or exceptional customer service? Does the brand speak to your values, inspire you, or simply make you smile?
Brand image is how other people view your brand. It's what gives your brand personality, and what can make or break your business.
Brand image and brand identity are often confused with one another, since both concepts relate to perception.
Brand identity is the collective messaging you project about your brand — it's how you want your brand to be seen. It's all the things you can control about your branding and brand story, including your brand name, logo, and marketing materials.
Brand image is how people outside of your company, including clients and customers, actually interpret your brand identity.
"Brand image is what makes your brand likeable".
Put another way, brand image is what makes your brand likeable. Or not.
While you can't control how others perceive your brand, there's a lot you can do to create a positive, endearing brand identity, to help boost your brand image.
Everything from your logo and your colour scheme to your products, services, and customer engagement strategies make up how others see your brand.
Here's what you can do to foster a positive brand image that appeals to your audience:
- Learn who your customers and prospects are, what's important to them and what influences their purchasing habits
- Understand how your brand makes people feel and develop an aligned brand story — is your brand marketing focused on fun and excitement, or do you want your customers to feel comforted, safe, and cared for?
- Use focus groups to test drive all of your branding materials before you go all-in with your brand development plans
3) State Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise is what your customers and clients expect to receive every time they interact with your brand. It's the benefit or benefits your brand delivers, and to be effective, it needs to be credible, sustainable, and consistent.
Unlike your corporate mission or vision statement, your brand promise is a front-facing message — it's a description of the experience you promise to deliver to your end-users.
To be credible, your brand promise needs to be attainable, measurable, and repeatable. For example, promising to provide your customers with the lowest prices on a particular service or product may boost your business in the short term, but over time it might be impossible to do consistently.
A brand promise that lacks consistency, is false or exaggerated can quickly kill your reputation, so be sure to only make promises that you can deliver on.
When stating your brand promise, you need to:
- Be realistic about what you can deliver to your consumers
- Be bold while ensuring everything you promise is accurate
- Be honest
4) Develop Your Brand Voice and Tone
Brand voice and tone are two things that are often overlooked, and that can be a costly mistake.
"Brand voice is the personality of the brand as personified through words, language, and images. It's what gives a brand life."
Brand voice is the personality of the brand as personified through words, language, and images. It's what gives a brand life, transforming it into something that customers can identify and connect with on an emotional level. The voice of your brand dictates how you deliver your messaging, and it's a big part of what makes your brand stand out from the competition.
While your brand voice should be consistent, your brand tone needs to match the message. For example, you may want to use a light, playful tone when promoting a sale on social media, while a serious tone is suitable when conveying a message about a product recall, response to a crisis, or other similar situations.
To develop your brand voice and tone, you need to:
- Do a 'We're this, not that' exercise to flesh out what your brand is, and isn't — for example, your brand may be authoritative, without being intimidating
- Create a list of words that personify your brand, and decide how to best utilise those words in your brand marketing strategy
5) Establish a Brand Content Strategy
Fresh, relevant content is a critical, yet often overlooked aspect of brand marketing for small- and medium-sized businesses. Many companies simply churn out blogs and social media posts without first considering how that content fits into their overall brand marketing strategy, and that's often a waste of time and resources.
Avoid making the same mistake by establishing a comprehensive brand content strategy. This involves analysing your existing content, identifying gaps and inconsistencies, and highlighting opportunities to build your brand.
Moving forward, focus on your brand content strategy by:
- Establishing clear brand guidelines that reflect your brand voice, mission and core values
- Analysing how your audience interacts with your brand to determine what type of content, and content platform, is preferred by your customers and prospects
- Track the performance of blog posts using Google Analytics
6) Create Positive Brand Experiences
Brand experience is how your customers interact with you, your company, and your products and services. It's what creates an emotional connection, and it's a key part of developing a loyal brand following.
"Customers are drawn to brands that deliver memorable experiences and positive emotions."
Customers are drawn to brands that deliver memorable experiences and positive emotions, whether that's joy, comfort, excitement, or confidence. Great brand experiences build trust, and trust leads to repeat customers.
To create positive brand experiences, you need to:
- Understand the emotions consumers experience, and seek to experience, when interacting with your brand
- Engage your audience through social media, personalisation of products and services, and a comprehensive after-purchase strategy that lets customers know they are valued
7) Focus on Growing Your Brand's Equity
A well-developed brand presence can do more than increase profits for your company — a strong brand can be worth a sizable amount of money (especially, if you consider selling it in the future).
Brand Equity is the collective worth of all of your brand marketing, including your trademarks, visual assets such as logos, colour schemes and fonts, URLs, and the position your brand holds (through its values and benefits) in the marketplace.
Branding is more than a way of marketing your goods and services — your brand has the potential to be the single most valuable asset that your company owns.
Build your online brand equity by:
- Knowing the exact dollar value of all of your brand marketing efforts
- Establishing and activating a strong brand presence across a range of digital channels including social media and your company website
- Maintain copies of your intellectual property (blogs, lead magnets, eBooks etc.)
Investing time and energy into brand development can deliver exceptional return on investment. A strong, recognisable brand that's memorable, unique, and geared towards your target audience is a must-have for your business, and it's what sets your company apart from your competition.
Ready to build your brand online? Contact us today to learn more about how you can grow your business with a solid brand identity.