Here’s your marketing truth for the day:
Branding is one of the most powerful weapons you have in your quest to attract the widest possible audience and differentiate yourself from your competitors in a meaningful way.
Though the kind of brand you’re trying to build may change as your company grows and evolves, the steps used create and cultivate that brand won’t.
Here are 4 key steps to successful branding that will be useful today and remain useful for a lifetime.
Keep Your Customers in Mind
Just like you wouldn’t try to offer a service or release a product you know your target audience doesn’t want, don’t brand yourself in a way that wouldn’t appeal to your customers.
To keep your customers in mind, ask yourself these questions and continue to address and re-address them as you move forward in the planning of your marketing and branding strategy.
Do your target customers respond well to direct mail materials?
Are they the type of people who like “larger than life” materials like print billboards?
Keep It Simple
One of the main keys to successful branding is the ability to clearly communicate the company’s core values.
But remember to keep it simple.
Never use ten words when five will suffice.
In some instances, you may not have to use words at all if you are able to communicate the idea behind what your brand stands for in an image.You must communicate your branding message in the simplest possible way for the best results.
Take It Slow
Though your brand may naturally evolve as your business changes and grows, you still need to take things slowly.
If all of your marketing materials reflect one version of your brand in Quarter 1 but then a completely different version in Quarter 4, you’re going to end up developing a schizophrenic reputation among your target market.
If you make too many quick changes changes that are too, you risk confusing your brand with itself and creating the idea that you’re actually two different companies.
A great example of this is the mess Netflix went through when it attempted to split off its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming components into two separate entities in 2011.
Consistency is Key
Every bit of marketing you send out into the world should feel like it’s coming from the same company.
You can start by developing a “style guide.”
If you write your direct mail materials at a specific reading level, include that in your style guide.
Providing a list of acceptable fonts, color palettes, and guidelines for proper logo usage will insure there is no confusion.
Just remember, consistency is a key!
It’s a way to show people your brand knows what it’s doing without actually saying those words.
As your company ages, it’s naturally going to change.
The products and services you’re releasing today will scarcely resemble the ones you offer ten years down the line.
One thing, however, will never change, and that’s the power of your brand.
No matter what the future holds, these four key steps to successful branding will never go out of style.