What do you think they have in common when you think of top companies like Apple, Nike, Uber, and Coca-Cola? The answer is effective branding. These companies have built worldwide recognition and reputation through their strong branding.
Of course, it wasn’t just good branding that brought them here, but it played an essential factor in their success. This article goes through the fundamentals of building a powerful brand for your business.
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The first thing you should know is that people form relationships with brands, not businesses. A brand encompasses the products/services of a company and molds how people perceive the company. Simply put, a brand is the overall perception of your business by your prospective customers. Jeff Bezos said it best, “your brand is what other people say about your business when you’re not there.”
People always have an impression of your business even before buying from you. To improve your chances of being well thought of, you should therefore put a lot of effort into building your brand. Brand building is about creating a good impression so that customers think positively of your business. It involves creating a unique and reputable image of your business in order to then stand out and make more sales.
Brand building is a continuous process, and it’s an essential step for every business that wants to grow. A good brand image humanizes your business and informs your target audience on how they can benefit from your products/services. Your branding determines how people perceive your brand, increasing brand loyalty and value. Here are some reasons why brand building is vital for small businesses:
A business with a strong brand will more easily generate customers, primarily through referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. Having a strong brand improves the way people will perceive your business. Because of this, people who come across your brand are likely to do business with you.
Businesses that have good branding stand out through their messages and marketing strategies. With this, they can generate brand awareness by connecting to people emotionally. Also, people will generally take more note of your business if you have an impressionable brand image. Your business will be memorable to them, and you will stay in their minds for longer.
It’s essential to gain the trust of your audience, and the best way to establish credibility is through a good brand strategy. The emotional connection built through branding helps your business appear more legitimate to your prospective customers. This is why people with poor branding find it harder to gain people's trust.
People prefer to buy products from a business with a strong brand identity. This means building a strong brand identity increases your sales, and consequently your revenue.
Many businesses make the bulk of their sales from returning customers. Moreover, 48% of consumers1 state that they are most likely to remain loyal to a brand if they have a positive first purchase. You don't want customers who buy from you once; you want those who will come back, time and time again. Brand building establishes customer loyalty, meaning your customers are more likely to return to do business with you if you establish a good brand. You will secure customers with a high return rate when you create a brand that people resonate with and care about.
Not so long ago, people thought branding was just about creating cute logos, designs, and other aesthetic elements of a business. However, the definition of branding has evolved to mean much more than that. Building a brand involves identifying, creating, and managing actions and strategies that shape the perception of a business.
A loved brand is a valuable asset for every business because it is the brand, before your products or services, that makes an impression on your customers. With so many brands out there, it’s crucial to find ways to stand out in your brand-building process. Here are some steps to build a solid and unforgettable brand.
The most successful brands have a purpose behind their business. Many brands have a story behind their existence and the same should go for your business. To put the importance of this into perspective, 50% of customers say that they buy based on a company’s brand values.2 Nowadays, people don’t buy what you sell or do, but why do you do what you do. Therefore, your brand purpose should be able to answer questions like:
The answers to these questions will inform branding elements like your brand story, brand vision, mission statements, messages, slogan, tagline, tone, voice, etc.
Every small business should have a target audience they want to reach. So, to build a brand, you must first establish who the people you want to reach are. In this way, you can customize your messages to fit their profile. When identifying your target audience, try to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of identifying young adults as your target audience, you can narrow it down to college students in the UK.
You’re probably not the first business in the industry selling the products or providing the services you do. That’s why one of the first steps of brand building is researching the top competitors in your niche. This will inform your brand-building process and tell you what they are doing right (or wrong). Of course, the goal isn’t to copy your competitor; it is to differentiate yourself from them and so convince a customer to come to you over them.
Building a brand humanizes your business to have a personality, a voice, and characteristics that people can connect to. Now that you know your target audience, the next step is to determine the kind of personality and voice you want for your brand.
What brand voice and personality do you want for your business? How do you want to sound? Casual? Playful? Professional? Inspiring? Creative? Authoritative? There are endless adjectives that can build your brand voice; pick the ones that resonate with your brand and target audience. For example, if your target audience are business owners, you may want your brand voice to be authoritative, while for teens, you may want to sound more playful.
Once you’ve decided on your tone and voice, you need to build effective branding communication. How you communicate your brand to your audience is an essential factor influencing how customers perceive your business.
You can start by creating a brand story that connects with people, creating slogans/taglines, and creating ads that resonate with your target audience. Effective communication also includes creating valuable content on your website like mission statements, about us, and so on.
Once you have identified your target audience and your brand purpose, you need to develop some creative elements. Visual features include business name, logos, brand color, typeface, fonts, website design, language style, etc. These are all essential parts of brand building, and they should always be consistent. Some tips to developing unique visual elements include:
Look around you; almost all the brands have logos. With millions of logos out there, you want yours to stand out and be memorable. Make your logos and creative elements unique by incorporating nice colors and elements. Think of Coca-Cola’s logo, which is recognized by 94% of the world's population3.
Your brand elements shouldn’t be random; they should be relevant to your brand values. They should provide information on your business and reflect your values and purpose.
Customers love brands with fun and likable creative elements. As a business owner who wants to build a successful brand, you should go for visual elements that create a lasting impression. Look at Apple; they have an iconic and unique logo recognized worldwide. Additionally, your logo should match your business description and have keywords that concern your brand.
Your visual elements should be consistent across all mediums. You don’t want the logo on your Instagram page or store to be different from your packaging materials.
Starbucks, the popular coffee retailer, has a green mermaid logo that they slap across their coffee cups, stores, website, and everywhere else. Thanks to this strategy, whenever anyone sees the logo, they know it’s Starbucks. Once you have a logo, ensure you incorporate it across different marketing channels. Make your logo visible in everything you have or do, including your business cards, websites, ads, products packaging, and so on. Even if you decide to evolve your brand identity or completely rebrand (e.g., changing logos or name), you must ensure it is reflected across all platforms.
Another thing that all top brands have in common is that they have a compelling brand promise and try to deliver on it. For example, Apple promises to think differently. With their sleek designs and innovative products, one could say they’ve kept their brand promise. So, what are you trying to achieve with your brand? What are the benefits your brand offers, and how will you ensure you deliver on your promise?
You are not done building a solid brand identity if you are not promoting that brand. Currently, online marketing is the most effective way to promote your brand. Therefore, your marketing campaigns should be across different online channels including social media, email marketing, content marketing, and so on. It also helps to integrate your brand into every aspect of your business.
Important tip: Stick to your brand’s voice and tone while promoting your brand across different channels.
Brand building involves creating awareness about your business through proven effective strategies. To create a successful brand, you need to build brand awareness and loyalty. Loyal customers are very profitable, which makes it essential to build loyalty among your audience. Some tips to increase brand awareness and loyalty include:
Engaged customers are happy customers! The top brands now strive to create a community and not customers. How do you do this? By engaging with customers. The more you connect and engage with your customers, the more they feel involved in your business and feel like members of your community. Send them Thank You Notes, address their inquiries, share user-generated content, reply to their comments. Most importantly, don’t forget to provide a great customer experience to increase the chances of them returning.
One of the easiest ways to increase brand awareness and generate engagement is by offering freebies to customers. This can be through deals, giveaways, contests, and other rewards. Incentives raise more awareness of your brand and motivate customers to buy your products.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Dove have created multiple campaigns that use storytelling and emotional elements to connect with people. This not only gets people talking about them, but also increases brand engagement and establishes trust in users.
To increase your brand awareness, you shouldn’t stop promoting your brand. The more you promote your brand, the more people will know you. Conclusion: there are reasons why e-commerce platforms like Alibaba.com offer marketing tools to help brands propel growth. It’s to keep your business in the minds of customers and increase your business’ reach. You can leverage different marketing strategies like influencing marketing, social media, and email marketing to reach a global audience.
It's almost impossible to talk about brand awareness or marketing without SEO. One of the best ways to increase brand awareness is making it easy for prospective customers to find you. A good SEO strategy improves your rankings on social media and makes it easy for people to find your business. Also, people are more likely to trust brands that rank highly on search engines.4
Now that you know how to build a successful brand, take the next step by creating a global storefront on Alibaba.com. To sell your products and build a strong brand identity on Alibaba.com, you only need to:
Branding can make or break your company. A strong brand creates an identity for your business, increases your value, and makes it easy to get new customers. Take the next step by investing in building your brand and taking advantage of the wide audience and range of tools available on Alibaba.com to take your business to the next level.