Strategic Branding and You: How (and Why) to Build Your Brand to New Heights
There’s a good chance you’re spending time and resources on marketing and promotional endeavors, but are you really getting the most out of your efforts? Well, that depends heavily on your branding. Even the best PR feature or advertisement will fall flat if users are led to a site that is confusing, outdated, and inconsistent.
The purpose of branding is to establish trust and loyalty with your target audience. It falls right in line with public relations, which is naturally built upon relationships. The results of your PR push will draw interest to your website, which is where your brand should convey your company values and the personality and emotional appeal of your products or services.
In essence, your brand should shine from any channel that can reach your ideal client — from your social media profile to your product packaging to the press that makes up your portfolio.
In today’s digital age, any disconnect between different aspects of your brand will leave prospective clients confused and looking elsewhere. If it’s time for a brand refresh, here are a few strategies to guide your next steps.
Determine what you want from your new brand.
Start by identifying why you’re overhauling your brand now. How do you want your company to be seen by the public? Why isn’t your current branding hitting the mark? What needs help?
Rest assured there is nothing wrong with needing a refresh or even a full rebrand. In fact, it’s typically a sign of growth — many companies rebrand every several years as they enter new markets, update their services, and evolve with the times.
Take an objective look at your current branding and pick out what you like and what you find to be dated or overdone. Perhaps you want to retain your colors, but you need a new logo. Maybe it’s just your website that needs to catch up with the times. You might even be thinking of an entirely new name. Whatever it is, you need to have a full understanding before diving in — updating your brand without a strategy in place is a recipe for disaster.
Define your positioning statement.
In the branding process, your positioning statement is like your thesis — it provides clarity and remains a solid foundation that you should continue to draw from. It outlines your target market, defines what sets you apart from your competitors, and states your unique selling proposition. In short, it digs into why your company is the right choice.
Your positioning statement will help you to build your brand, from colors that trigger the right emotion to a tagline that captures your business purpose succinctly.
Rely on your team.
As business owners, we have the tendency to think we know what’s best for our company. In some cases, we do — but don’t let that prevent you from asking for help. In fact, branding is best done with a team because multiple perspectives can provide loads of insight into your target market’s receptivity.
Start with a trustworthy designer who understands your company and its values. While startups may lean on DIY branding in a pinch, professional logos, websites, and marketing materials are critical to elevating your presence in the market. Consider it an investment in your company’s future.
You may also consider hiring a professional copywriter to convey your brand through strategic messaging that hits the mark with your ideal client.
If you plan on outsourcing your branding needs, check-in with friends and colleagues for referrals. That way, you can get a good idea of their work before reaching out. Pro tip: That same network is also great for bouncing off ideas and gaining quality feedback.
It’s never too late to take your business to new heights and, with some careful planning, you can transform your brand into one that earns respect, trust, and loyalty.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.