Anyone can recognize a Nike swoosh or McDonald's golden arches. Logos are definitely a recognizable part of any brand, but the message your company sends is just as important as any image your customers see. Coming up with your own branding and mission statement to adhere to can be a challenge for newcomers or businesses looking to modernize their overall message.
Take Apple's reemergence in the late 2000s as an example. Remember the "I'm a Mac" commercials? Apple wanted to establish themselves as a more laid back, casual brand compared to the uptight looking, no-fun corporate image of PCs. They used this imagery to set up their brand's personality as the choice for young, hip professionals. A decade later, 64% of Americans own at least one Apple product.
Branding is hugely important to your company's success. This month, we asked the experts:
What are the most important steps in developing your brand's message?
Service, purpose, ethics, and consistency are crucial. Your walk must match your talk. If you boast of empowered employees but a clerk has to call HQ to okay a simple request, you've killed your brand; your prospect won't believe anything else. Your brand must embody the "magic triangle": honesty, integrity, and quality.
Shel Horowitz, Going Beyond Sustainability
Branding is your companies personality. It is how you interact with your customer's and how they perceive you as a business. To create your ideal personality, you must know who your audience is. You want your customer base to relate to you, which begins with you relating to them.
Brand storytelling is a great way to connect to your customer's. Instead of promoting your product directly, take the time to tell a short story, one that reflects your company's ideals and inspires your customer. When someone is inspired, they take action and tell people about what they heard. Focusing on the features of a product will make a sale but inspiring someone will create a lasting customer.
Lastly, companies who have active social media accounts and who communicate with their followers are much more favorable in the public's eye. They're seen as likable, relatable and understanding, and that goes a long way in amplifying your brand's message.
Jonathan Davila, Diamond View
The first step in developing your brand's message is fully understanding what branding is. And, truth be told, not many advertisers and marketers do. Many believe a brand is your logo or your jingle or your tagline. But a brand is a perception of a company, product or service.
That being said, the most important step in branding is deciding how you want your company -- your product or service -- to be perceived and creating, shaping and influencing that perception. For example, if you are a coffee shop looking to compete with Starbucks, what do you want consumers to think about when they think of your brand? That you are environmentally conscious? A no-nonsense coffee shop, i.e., the anti-Starbucks? Organic and chemical-free? That's what branding is about.
Frankie Russo, Potenza
When developing a brand and its message, it's critical to have a focus on the following: (1) Your core value proposition --> what makes you different and what core value do you offer to customers? (2) Your mission and vision --> branding is a long-term game. Why did you start the brand? Who do you want the brand to become in 3-5 years? (3) Your brand personality --> are you a friendly or a rigid brand? What words do you want to come to mind when someone sees your brand? By analyzing all of these factors, you'll be able to develop an overall concept of your brand then take action steps to implement it through marketing and advertising efforts.
Connor Gillivan, FreeeUp
Start with a Communications Audit so you know what you currently stand for in your customers' minds. Conduct a Competitive Analysis so you know what real estate is already taken in your category, you need a Unique Value Proposition to stand out from the pack. Generate lots of messages to explore different angles then conduct Market Research to determine which messages are the strongest for your target audience.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls
To create an effective brand message you must establish a brand voice that lets your employees, as well as customers and future clients, know exactly who you are. Your brand voice should give an honest portrayal of your company, the products and services you provide, and your goals. It should be used to create an "About Us" or mission statement, and its tone should be felt in all content released, posted or published by the company.
It's also important to develop a business logo that can be used to create name recognition for your company. Use that logo in emails, press releases, advertising and all your marketing efforts. Companies for years have successfully shared their brand message by distributing personalized giveaway items at trade shows, conventions and local events. It's an affordable way to let people know who you are on a large scale.
Shelley Grieshop, Totally Promotional
When developing your brand message, there are two documents that your marketing team should learn to live by: the style guide and the company's tone of voice guidelines. Every word that leaves from an official source should fit the style of your company, whether it's from social media, press releases or on your blog. If you're consistent with your communications then your customers will associate you with your voice.
If you chose your company choice correctly, this will convert into increase brand loyalty and conversions. Make sure you have all this in mind when you're putting together your brand message. And if you don't have a style guide or tone of voice guidelines, then make them a priority.
Jordan Harling, Blinds Direct