The conclusion of 2020 brought forth many changes for brands, businesses, and companies worldwide. For organizations, it is largely considered the year of raising awareness in digital initiatives. Brands that pivoted toward digital avenues became hyper-aware of the endless possibilities for growth. Digital platforms and digital marketing does in fact provide a way to successfully accelerate brand awareness while establishing a position within the market. As a result, brand development strategies have become increasingly important in creating a sustainable business from an online perspective.
According to the Global Marketing Trends 2021 report, 68% of brands surveyed across eight countries cited that integrating with digital technology is the most critical function for continued growth. Additionally, 63% said they will use digital technologies more in the future. However, it’s also crucial to establish structure prior to amplifying an organization and its products or services. Usually, this is achieved through research and brand strategy development.
Importance of Establishing a Brand through Digital Platforms
It’s a common misconception to think of a brand solely as a logo design or any type of visual element. Branding generally encompasses the entire customer experience from first interaction through purchase or brand loyalty.
Moving into 2021, more brands and businesses are seeking digital marketing to reach farther and wider. Many small to medium-sized companies, and even large ones, plus new organizations and start-ups neglect to spend the necessary time establishing clear brand focus and recognizing the impacts brand has on overall performance. Without face-to-face interaction, a customer experience is crafted instead using particular brand development strategies, designed to help companies stand out in a busy online world. While it encompasses a logo, it also speaks to the user experience and the journey they find when considering multiple products or services. What does that story clarify for them?
A well-executed brand strategy aids in connecting businesses to customers. Additionally, it helps to provide overall business value, which can impact returning leads. The established brand should permeate an entire organization and help to give team members direction and motivation for executive marketing through digital pathways
Difficulties of Building a Brand Online
Most companies seek numerous ways to stand out from the competition in a meaningful way. However, carving out brand development strategies in an ever-changing online environment can prove to be infinitely challenging. Success, after all, doesn’t come from utilizing the same tactics year after year, but rather adapting to changes and sometimes in real-time. Unfortunately, these changes often come too fast and too often, and without the help of branding experts, it can feel next to impossible to execute brand launches that resonate with audiences. A forced brand can feel inauthentic, static, stale, or untrustworthy. All adjectives that can negatively impact standings online.
Some of the most difficult aspects of building a brand include setting clear goals and key performance indicators to measure success. Prior to launching a brand online, it’s critical that organizations consider their customers or end-users. Asking critical questions helps to develop the overall brand architecture. The initial investigation and research can be taxing on both labor and time. Still, without these essential talking points, brand development strategies can often fall flat, leaving organizations struggling with direction and key insights that can really boost online presence.
Furthermore, a considerable amount of time should be taken to establish a focus in terms of brand voice, styles, and presence. In a digital world, ironically, more people report wanting to interact with real humans. Thus, brands should incorporate human elements into their language, content, and even products. Those help to make real connections in truly meaningful ways. Social media has allowed many brands to embrace human traits. According to a study by Sprout Social, 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs that active on social.
Educated Consumers are Shifting Marketing Trends
Every day millions of people are using the web to interact, research, and shop. It’s not news that the internet plays a monumental role in our everyday lives, empowering consumers with the decisions needed to make purchases. A study published by Columbia Business School found that brand trust positively impacts consumers’ willingness to share personal information. In fact, over 75% of people are willing to share personal data with brands they trust.
Therefore, it’s imperative that new and established brands consider the relationship-building aspect of effective brand development strategies. Many consumers understand that well-established brands can create value for them. As a result, companies and organizations without an established brand are hard-pressed to find methods of interacting with consumers in a way that builds trust.
According to an article published in Forbes, there are several ways to help establish brand trust. For new businesses especially, reputation is vital to long-term growth and success. Without a prior track record, consumers must rely on signals that reassure them a brand is legit and will deliver. A few ways to improve trust include:
- Speaking to customers authentically
- Soliciting and considering all feedback
- Capturing brand authenticity
- Offering great customer service
- Building brand equity first
- Embracing transparency
Likely the most influential factor in establishing brand trust is providing value to the end-user. With the help of a proven brand strategy, value propositions are much more easily launched and integrated into online marketing programs.
Creating Brand Development Strategies
Many understand the importance of a brand, but may also feel overwhelmed in knowing where to start building one. We’ve established that building a brand helps solidify a foundation that can in turn resonate with key audience members. How are brand-building activities developed and what should be considered?
To simplify brand development strategies consider methods for generating consumer awareness about a business. By using specific campaigns and forward-thinking marketing methodology, brands can successfully create a unique and lasting impact within any marketplace. An effective brand strategy should incorporate the following four factors:
- Brand discovery
- Competitor research
- Target audience
- Brand Voice
Learn more about each of these subsections within brand development strategies below.
In order to maximize long-term success, it’s crucial to align business goals with brand strategy. Utilizing audits or research, organizations can consider existing brand image vs how they’d like to be perceived. Perception is one of the most important aspects of launching a great brand. Consumers care about the overall experience received from various online platforms and the pages with which they interact. In discovering brand identity, companies can better craft content and imagery that caters to the user experience (UX). Ask these questions:
- What are the core values of the company?
- What problems do we help customers solve?
- What products or services are most critical for our audience?
- Does our current branding create our desired online image?
Effective branding will also incorporate researching competitors and finding key factors that assist brands in differentiating product offerings and services. It should include a full competitive analysis that reviews the market, plus the offerings made by relevant alternative companies. Within the analysis, it’s also important to consider SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Understand that all brands should be unique. Rather than mimicking or drawing inspiration from competitors — which can feel inauthentic — use it as a way to analyze how your particular product or service is different. Ask these questions:
- Who are our competitors?
- Where do we rank for key terms in search results (compared to alternatives)?
- What is our unique selling proposition (USP)?
Likely the most fundamental way of achieving brand recognition and developing brand strategies that resonate is to consider target audiences from top to bottom. Rather than asserting that selling to the masses is an acceptable strategy, brands should take the time to establish a clear picture of the end-user. Additionally, it’s important to niche down and target a smaller portion of the market as this tends to produce more positive outcomes.
Target audience research should consider the motivations of potential buyers. Clear brand development strategies will closely examine how a lead interacts with other, similar products. More than this, it will also take a look at the psychological factors that drive consumers to connect with brands, particularly those that are in close proximity in the marketplace. Ask these questions:
- Who is our ideal customer and can we establish a clear image of those individuals?
- Why should these audience members purchase from us?
- Where are they most likely to engage with our brand?
It’s not enough to establish a clear elevator pitch that promotes products or services. Brand trust is developed over time and, as a result, it’s less about making the best pitch to help boost conversions. Instead, brands should consider behaving authentically online. In order to do this, a clear brand voice must be established. A brand voice refers to the organization’s personality and emotion that is infused into content and overall communications with consumers. In finding the authentic brand voice, company’s are more easily able to distinguish themselves from like-products. Ask these questions:
- What is the brand focus?
- What are unique personality traits to carry forward?
- What are common vocabulary terms or brand phrases that identify an organization’s mission and intent?
Overall, brand development strategies work to clarify the various aspects and approaches that yield the highest success rate among audience members. It requires diligent research and fine-tuning various approaches depending on analytics returned from established and launched brand campaigns.
The Brandsmen: Provide Effective Brand Development Strategies
It’s easy to get lost in the branding portion of business building. Many companies make the mistake of not investing budgets and time into creating unique brand development strategies. But to compete in today’s highly-competitive digital landscape, it’s a must. A good brand can make a world of difference in short- and long-term success.
The Brandsmen provide clients with an effective and proven brand strategy aimed at connecting companies with ideal customers while producing long-term results. Through our various services, we gather consumer insights that provide a clear and easy way for brands to take action. Our experience highlights the key methodology that proves to garner brand recognition and overall support. Some of our services include:
- Website & Logo Design
- Brand storytelling through content & SEO
- Analyzing competitors
- Establishing clear client or customer personas
- Branding Strategy & Execution
- Reputation Management
- Social Media management
If you want a top-shelf brand with a solid reputation, then having a strategic plan is critical to establishing a solid foundation. Anymore, getting discovered online is simply not enough. As consumers become more educated, it’s necessary for brands to rise above the constant clutter of the internet.
While running a business may feel like a monumental feat, finding time to create brand development strategies is one of the most important items in long-term success. That’s where we come in. We do the brand strategy work that busy business owners can’t do all on their own. We have helped numerous brands establish their online presence and execute proven strategies designed to drive ROI. At the Brandsmen, we do the hard work that’s necessary to ensure continued success for years to come.
If you’re looking for help developing a brand strategy, contact a Brandsmen today.