Want to set your company apart from the rest? That takes more than just having a great product, award-winning customer service, and a solid content marketing strategy. It takes branding.
How you develop your brand and communicate what your company is about makes a huge difference in the success of your business over the long haul.
Let’s take a detailed look at what brand development is all about, why it matters to any business, and how you can get started with a bullet-proof brand development plan.
What is Brand Development?
Brand development is a continuous process of maintaining and strengthening the relevancy, value, quality, and consumer trust of a brand.
It’s a strategic approach to creating and distinguishing your company’s images, products and services from competitors.
Brand development includes:
- Aligning your brand with business objectives
- Communicating your central message to the target audience
- Updating and strengthening your brand as needed
Branding is at the root of brand development. A “brand” is an identity, or the status of a company. As you “brand” a company, you’re seeking to establish a story about what your company stands for, and highlight the details that make it unique and memorable.
Why Branding Matters
Branding is much more than just your logo, your central business message, or the design of your company website.
It’s how your customers, existing and potential, perceive your company. It’s the story you tell about your business, and the mental and emotional responses your target audience has about what you have to offer.
A positive perception associates a sense of trust, goodwill, quality, and value with your company, while a negative perception does the opposite.
While both marketing and branding have company profit as an end goal, the difference between them is simple:
- Marketing sells you a product or a service
- Branding creates a narrative, image, or message around the company that customers can resonate with and support.
How to Develop a Memorable Brand
Developing a memorable brand requires research, strategy, execution, evaluation, and constant improvement.
Start with Research
Before planning for brand development, seek to understand what exactly drives the value of your brand. Explore how to best connect with customers in unique and meaningful ways while supporting your business goals.
When you have a good idea of where your company is at with its brand, answer the following questions to streamline and focus your efforts even further:
- Who are your target clients?
- How do you want to make your customers feel?
- Why should your clients trust you, your company, your products, or your services?
- Who are your top competitors?
- What distinguishes your company from them?
- What value do you bring to the market? Is it unique and memorable, while also serving a real need?
- What pain points do you solve for consumers?
- What type of personality does the company have?
The most important question to answer, however, may be this one: Why do you exist? If you can convince customers and other stakeholders that your business matters, you’re on track to building a bulletproof brand.
Pick the Right Brand Strategy
There are four main different types of brand development strategies:
- Product Line Extension: A new product or service is added to an existing lineup that fills a current market need. This usually results in more product variation and greater audience reach.
- Brand Extension: This refers to a company with an existing brand(s) expanding into a new market under a new brand.
- New Brand: This occurs when a company develops a new brand altogether for new products or services.
- Multi-Brand: In this strategy, a company launches multiple brands or sub brands to enter different markets based on geography or demographics.
By understanding the kind of strategy that fits best with your company’s current goals, you can be better prepared to position your brand within the target market.
Position Your Brand
Positioning means arranging how your company stands out from competitors, and what details about your offerings should cause customers to choose to work with you instead of others.
Once you know where and why you need to develop your brand, begin analyzing what your customers want from data gathered during research. Communicate with your team to get an idea of what your brand is capable of, and how competitors are positioned in the same market niche.
Tools to Consider
Developing a brand development plan isn’t all theory and dreams. Tools such as design, marketing images and text, and more should come together to bring your brand strategy into reality.
Having a memorable tagline, an eye-catching logo, high-quality marketing materials, and an online presence that all speak the same message is crucial. Utilize websites, social media, and content marketing strategies to help your company stay on track.
Develop a Message Strategy
This is where you translate your brand into words and images that capture the minds and hearts of existing and potential customers.
Create a core message to set yourself apart from the crowd. What is the vision and mission of the company, and why would customers want to be part of that story?
The central message should address a core need or pain point your target market faces, and supply evidence that proves you have the solution.
Plan for the Long-Term
Brand development isn’t a one-time thing. As time goes on, the market shifts, your customer base changes, and the messages your company has may need tweaking.
As you develop a brand development plant, look five, ten, fifty years down the road.
Implementing a solid development strategy is just the first step. Track the results of your efforts, find ways to evaluate the strategy, and adjust for changes to keep improving.
What’s Your Company’s Story?
Brand development is a crucial part of any successful business’ growth strategy. The way your customers perceive your business directly affects your company’s bottom line.
Your company is more than just what it sells. Your brand tells the story of why it exists, what it stands for, and how it provides the value your customers are looking for. Take these steps, create your brand, and make your company memorable!
Still need help with brand development? Contact Intensify for a free consultation.