Your Brand Is Much More Than Your Logo. Here’s What Really Makes Your Brand Stand Out To Customers

Your Brand Is Much More Than Your Logo. Here's What Really Makes Your Brand Stand Out to Customers.

Branding is one of the most vital parts of growing a business. It’s how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s how you stand out from the crowd, and it’s what your customers feel when they think of you. It’s the promise you make to your customers, and your business’s success depends on how well you fulfill that promise.

Your brand is the exact blueprint of how you will represent yourself to your customers. It’s the manual that tells you and anyone in your company who and what your company is not only from a design standpoint but also, who your customers are, what their wants and needs are, what the voice and tone of your marketing efforts and communication will look like.

Branding is the upstream driver of everything that comes underneath a business’s marketing campaign. It drives culture, tells customers what to expect, and ultimately drives a business to succeed or fail.

We’ve all seen brands change and grow throughout the years. Logo changes, changes in marketing messages, new angles and approaches to delivering a product or service — a brand’s changes evolve and mold to fit different changes in the market. Most brands who’ve stood the test of time use these three ways to differentiate themselves and stand above their competitors.

1. Sell emotions

If you look at great brands, you’ll see trends emerge. A mentor I once sought for advice used to say, “success leaves clues,” and while there is a lot left unseen when you look at large corporations… There are many traceable and tangible variables that can be monitored and valuable information to be gleaned from them. First and foremost is that most brands sell emotions.

Coca-Cola sells happiness. So does McDonald’s. Visa sells the feeling of freedom. Toyota sells freedom, reliability, adventure. Many large brands sell you a feeling and deliver it through service or product. They deliver it through an experience.

Understand what emotions your customers are craving, and you will win your branding efforts. Oftentimes, a business’s marketing campaigns focus too much on delivery mechanisms and not the state the customer will be in once they receive the product or service.

Most customers don’t actually want the specific item, service, or product they purchase. They actually want more safety, security, happiness… or less pain, less stress, less time or effort output, and more results. Most customers’ wants and needs are simple. While attempting to stand out, entrepreneurs tend to overcomplicate things and think that because their mechanisms of delivery for their products are so different from their competitors that their customers care as much about it as they do.

This isn’t true… Ask yourself questions like;

  • What emotions are evoked when my customers receive my product or service?
  • What are the pain points that my customers are trying to solve?
  • What is the end-state of receiving my product or service for an extended period of time?
  • What are the results my product or service delivers?

Use the answers to these questions to understand what your brand or business delivers. Create a roadmap of the emotional journey your customer goes through. Then speak to each part of the journey in your marketing messages.

When people are first learning about your product or service, what are the emotions they are feeling? As they move from a cold/unaware person to a warmer and more educated lead, what emotions and thoughts do they have about your product and service?

Map the customer journey using emotions as the basis for transformation and let your marketing then speak to each segment as they move through the conditional logic that is your marketing funnel.

Related: 4 Ways to Sell More Using ‘Customer Journey Optimization’ Strategy

2. Consistency is key

Consistency is the key to any branding campaign. Since branding is a promise, you make to your customers. This promise MUST be made consistently throughout your front and back-end marketing campaigns to maintain integrity.

One of the hardest things about our current entrepreneurial world is how many shiny objects fly around our purview and get us distracted. I have often found myself exploring new and deeper territories of marketing, new ways of advertising, or new ways of delivering our product or service.

It’s so easy to see a gap in the market and innately rush to try to fill it. As entrepreneurs, we capitalize on the opportunities we see in front of us. That’s the job of an entrepreneur… It’s to see room for improvement in society and then create that improvement.

When you define your brand, you create a container for your business. You figure out what fits into “the box” that defines who and what your business is and who it serves. You understand what it is that you do you and what you don’t do. When you’ve created this roadmap, it allows you the ability to say no to opportunities that will create inconsistencies in your business.

Define your brand, create a consistent message that speaks to your audience’s emotions, and make sure you continually measure any and all new possible products, services, or marketing channels against who and what your brand is. If it fits, run it. If it doesn’t, you’ll know, and saying no will be so much easier.

Related: 5 Steps for Making Your Brand Identity More Consistent

3. Create Community

Branding isn’t just about messaging anymore. It’s not just about consistency either. It’s also about creating community. The best brands created communities accidentally. For instance, Costco didn’t intend to create a community with their memberships, but you know if you’re a Costco member and you’ve had a discussion with another member that you’ve likely talked about some product or service they have. Maybe you like their gas or their return policies… Maybe it’s the deals on dried mangos (that’s me). I often find myself sharing tips, tricks, or items I have found valuable there… but it’s only relevant to those that have a membership.

You’ll find that communities are created inadvertently by large brands. If you own a Toyota 4Runner, you’re a part of a club that only 4Runner owners can be in. That community of enthusiasts then created more containers for the community online through forums, Facebook groups, and other places to gather and exchange knowledge.

eBay is another great place to look at community building done through forums. If you google nearly anything about eBay, you’ll find that their forums generally dominate the SERP. In those forums, you’ll find sellers and customers collaborating to find answers to their questions.

Large brands create community by their prominence in society. Just by buying a product or service, you signal to others in the world that you are a person who “does things like that,” as Seth Godin would say.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Focusing on Community is Your Best Brand Strategy

If you buy a Tesla, you signal to the world that you’re forward-thinking. Maybe you like technology, renewable energy, or you just like fast cars? No matter what emotional reason you bought the car, fun, safety, prestige, status… or any other reason, you still signal to the world that you’re the type of person that would buy a Tesla, and you join a silent club of Tesla owners.

Great brands don’t just silently induct you into communities… Great brands create communities and places for their customers and clients to congregate, communicate and create new relationships. Look at Peloton and the gamification and ability to ride in classes with others or look to Literati, the online book club curated by celebrities and thought leaders that allows you to not only get access to the knowledge that has shaped Stephen Curry, Malala Yousafzai, and Richard Branson’s life’s, but you actually get access to a community where you can speak to other book club members and the curators themselves.

This type of community creates 2 powerful psychological processes.

  1. Habituation
  2. Reliability

In the age of information… finding the information we actually need is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. We often find ourselves with answers, but because the internet is open source, it’s hard to trust that the information we get is true or exactly what we need…

When you create a community and involve celebrities and thought leaders, you do two powerful things for your customers. You allow them to relax and trust the information’s validity (compared to a forum or googling.) You’ve earned social authority with them by leveraging someone they know, like, and trust…

At the end of the day, branding is much more than marketing or a logo… Branding is exactly how your customer feels about you and your products/services and every touchpoint they’ve ever experienced from your business. It’s about providing your customers with solutions to their problems that create a change in their lives and, most importantly, in their emotional state and quality. It’s about creating a consistent place of business where they can reliably come to get their needs met. And most importantly, it’s about creating a community where they know their answers will be met with the best and most reliable information they possibly can get.

As information and technology become even more widely democratized, your business and brand will win or lose based on these three foundational factors. Can you define who you are, who you serve, and then consistently provide solutions and community? Answer yes to these three questions and your brand will inevitably grow, win more market share and become a staple in your customers’ lives.

Scot Chrisman

 

By: Scot Chrisman Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

 

Source: Your Brand Is Much More Than Your Logo. Here’s What Really Makes Your Brand Stand Out to Customers.

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7 Costly Mistakes That Can Be Avoided By Brand Research

Branding strategies can make or break an organization. There’s a lot that goes into developing a successful brand, and the best companies around the world put substantial time and effort into brand development and image. Creating a successful brand requires time and research commitment and is an ongoing strategy that can yield amazing results.

However, small businesses at the start of their inception can potentially create crucial branding mistakes during their initial stages of development that costs them a lot of customers, money, and time. Even major brands make big branding mistakes, like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and Amazon’s Fire Phone.

Brand research services for positioning strategies, brand mapping, and perceptual mapping can help you, whether you’re a small business or a long-time market player, to avoid pitfalls and the costly mistakes of failed brand positioning.

Common Branding Mistakes by New Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Do you remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1995? You might not because it’s one of Nintendo’s biggest failures in the history of the company. It didn’t offer what it promised, a true VR experience, resulting in incredibly low sales and quick removal from the market. What about Amazon’s Fire Phone in 2014? It only lasted one year because of its limited availability and features that didn’t resonate with audiences. Even major companies like Nintendo and Amazon have to be careful about product or service branding that can tarnish their reputation and result in massive profit loss.

Even small branding mistakes can cost a company. Not only will your efforts and time spent towards planning to be lost, but you will have cost your business a lot of money and even potentially tarnish your reputation permanently, which can be completely devastating for the longevity of a brand.

Below are seven mistakes that you can avoid when it comes to brand positioning so that you learn more about them and avoid them altogether:

  1. Lack of Competitor Research
    You have to learn about your competitors if you want to be successful. How do they position their brand? What types of products and services do they offer? How are they perceived in their respective industry? How are they succeeding? Do you have a potential opportunity in the market where they do not? You don’t want to identically replicate your competitor’s strategies. But you do have to learn everything there is to know about the successes and failures of your competitors so that you know how to uniquely position yourself in the market.
  2. Brand Messaging Doesn’t Suit Target Audience If you can’t develop a brand message that fits with your target audience, nobody is going to buy from you. You have to learn everything about your target audience like demographics, what they like to buy, where they shop, what times of the day or times of the year do they make purchases related to your offerings, what colors motivate and drive them to make purchases, what parts of the world are they located, how does culture affect purchasing, and many more.
  3. Failed Market Study
    Effective market research needs to be obtained about how people are reacting to your brand, products, or services. Survey analysis can be obtained to further your market research and understanding, or a complex study of social media research and analysis can help you to understand how people review or perceive you in the market. If you don’t analyze feedback from your customer base, you will be making a costly mistake in your brand research initiatives.
  4. Association or Dissociation with Events and Motives Just because you want to create a product or service or build your brand around a particular design or niche space in the market, doesn’t mean it will be successful. You can’t just build and sell tablets just because iPad’s are popular, create a bottled water company because you feel people will always need to drink water, or design makeup and cosmetics because there is a popular trend in that space this year. You have to delve deeply into your brand research strategy to truly understand the reasoning behind purchasing decisions and product and service popularity.
  5. Inconsistent Corporate Identity Everything about your brand identity has to make sense, from the colors that you choose to represent your company, to the logo and fonts that you use throughout your campaigns, to the style of writing, tone and messaging that you implement to speak to and reach audiences. Everything has to remain consistent so that people understand your brand values and what you are offering them. If you fail, you could spend a lot of time rebranding and causing confusion to your audience and miss a lot of opportunities.
  6. Poor Product Packaging

    Product packaging is the first thing people see when looking at your brand, whether they are online or physically in store locations. Everything from materials, graphics, size, shape, and color all are important elements of packaging designs. You could spend a lot of money rebranding your packaging if your product performs poorly. On the other hand, you might spend money rebranding your packaging when it isn’t even necessary and have to revert back to the way it was. Effective brand research is going to help you understand the best elements and packaging designs that will help your company thrive.
  7. Making the Wrong Impression If you are selling premium services, you don’t want to use commodity branding. You will deter audiences from your brand. There is a reason why so many fast food restaurant chains use the colors red and yellow, like Burger King, MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Carl’s Jr., and software companies use blue and black like Intel, IBM, Apple, or Google. People associate certain attributes to particular products and designs. People won’t understand what you are offering them if you make the wrong impression. Pay particular attention to detail and use the right research and analysis to make a lasting impression that makes sense with audiences.

How Brand Research Can Help

Brand marketing research is integral to the success of organizations in the modern world. In fact, no business out there that is successful in today’s market leaves home without brand research.

Brand research improves your competitiveness, visibility, and messaging and can help your business take a strategic position in the market using proven data from effective research and analysis services. Here are some of the major benefits of effective brand research:

  • Integrated Metrics: You can see the impacts of your project decisions and forecasts with measurable and tangible results.
  • Allocate Market Spend: Understand how to make investments that will lead to successful outcomes.
  • Identify Competition: You can not only find out who your competition is, but you can find out how and why they are successful in the market, or even discover how to position your brand in areas where your competition is lacking.
  • Develop Accurate Strategies: Create informed decisions built on a foundation of research and analytics with a better understanding of market developments, pricing, and positioning.
  • Capture Target Audience: Better understand consumer behavior and create effective marketing and advertising strategies.
  • Brand Perception: Truly understand how audiences feel and react to your brand, products and services.

Effective Brand Research for Organizations Across Industries

Research Optimus (ROP) has top research and analyst specialists who are tenured in market research, business research, customer analysis, and brand research services that provide the required insights to take the appropriate steps towards building effective and long lasting business brand awareness, brand marketing, and positioning strategies. Apart from services like market research, product research, and risk analysis, contact our team today to jump start or further advance your journey into brand research and obtain the targeted insights you need to avoid branding mistakes.

By: https://www.researchoptimus.com/

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Decision Analyst

An introduction to brand strategy, and the tangible and intangible elements that make up a brand. And a brief discussion of the questions of to ask in order to focus and improve your brand strategy. Learn More: https://www.decisionanalyst.com/servi…

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How to Build a Brand That Contributes to a Greater Cause

Having a greater cause behind your brand matters — not just for consumer perception of what your brand does, but for your ability to do good in the world. A social impact edge isn’t for every company, but when you give back or align your brand with helping the world, people notice. Research from Zeno’s 2020 Strength of Purpose reported that when consumers perceive that a brand or company has a strong purpose, they are six times more likely to defend or protect the company if there’s ever a misstep. They’re 4.5 times more likely to recommend it to their friends and family and become a champion behind it. 

But despite this research, Carole Cone on Purpose shared that only 24 percent of their business respondents reported having a purpose embedded in their business. And while it’s true that you shouldn’t add purpose or social impact for the sole purpose of resonating more with consumers, it is important to assess: What does my brand stand for? How do we help the world? How can I connect my profit with a greater purpose? Here are some things to consider in that assessment. 

Related: 9 Social Impact Models That Entrepreneurs Can Learn From

1. How can your product truly help others?

Sure, your product is a great help to customers — that’s why it’s doing well. But there’s a deeper consideration here. Can you extend the use of this product to those who need it most? This is similar to the TOMS model of thinking, where one pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased. The shoes “help” the customers that buy them. But even more so, on the social impact end, they help underprivileged children internationally who don’t have shoes. 

Another powerful example of an entrepreneur using their services for good is real estate developer Christopher Senegal, who is tackling gentrification in a Houston neighborhood called Liberty Square. “Gentrification is always a sensitive topic in neighborhoods that are changing,” Senegal shared via email. “I’m facing the topic head-on. Not by protesting or trying to stop it but instead, identifying ways to be involved in the process.” At 33, he began developing middle-class townhouses in the neighborhood when he saw the development patterns in surrounding areas. 

“I realized that doing so would keep the culture of the community intact while improving the neighborhood and increasing tax dollars, which would improve schools,” he shared. “I made it a point to not only bring those that are originally from the area back from the suburbs but also only hire from the neighborhood and build a team of successful African American professionals around me. My construction team, realtors, preferred lenders, insurance agents and inspectors are all from the community.” 

Related: How Can Social Entrepreneurs Sell a Product While Promoting a Cause?

2. How can you raise awareness about causes that matter?

Your social media or ad campaigns are an ideal opportunity to show what it is that you stand for. For example, P&G created an ad campaign called “We See Equal,” which made its stance on gender equality in the workplace clear. However, they walk the talk, too — 45 percent of P&G’s managers and a third of their board are women. Make sure to put your money where your mouth is, and go beyond the ads and social media posts to show how you’re actually trying to make a difference.

Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group recently posted an article about brand activism and how consumers are now “voting with their dollar.” Simply put, “consumers expect more from brands nowadays.” This should include actions such as using brand awareness for positive impact, participating in social movements and displaying brand values proudly on websites. 

Related: Cause Marketing Matters to Consumers

3. How can you implement social advocacy within your business model?

How you do business matters, too. Just like your ability to walk the talk alongside raising awareness is so critical, you need to make sure that every step of your business practices aligns with your purpose. An example of this is the online clothing company Everlane, which is working to improve transparency about how they make their clothes and even the details behind how they determined the prices. They do this by sharing “behind the scenes” footage of their factories and production processes, and the exact costs involved in making each piece of clothing. 

With unjust conditions in many international garment factories, a stand like this proves Everlane’s commitment to the cause and their desire to raise awareness about the right way to do things. This may seem hard to implement if your business model has already been running like a well-oiled machine, but consider little things you could do like banning unpaid internships because they’re inherently exclusive for those with socioeconomic disadvantages or ensuring that your products are cruelty-free and proving it to customers. They’re watching how you do everything you do. Prove they can trust you to abide by your greater cause.

Ultimately, these questions should lead you not to what your customers most want your brand to stand for, but what you as a founder deeply care about. How can you prove this through your business? There are countless ways — and you don’t have to be a social impact business to begin.

By: Jennifer Spencer / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

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