You hear it all the time—it’s right up there with thought-leader and synergy as one of the most overused buzzwords in the world of marketing right now. Google it and you’ll be served up somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 billion results.
But your brand is so much more than a catch-phrase. And it’s more than a logo or a set of fonts or a product or a service.
Your brand is the heart and soul of your business — not to mention your marketing plan. It’s everything your business stands for. It’s what people think and feel when they hear your business’ name. And it’s what they say about your business when someone asks.
How do you define your brand?
1. Determine who your ideal client will be.
It’s a step that many organizations overlook, but figuring out who your target client is BEFORE you launch a marketing campaign is the key to its success. It’s only after you decide exactly who you should be marketing to that you can figure out how to position your company to reach them. Spell out as much as you can about your target—from who they are and where they are located to what they are trying to achieve and what motivates them. Once you have your ideal client clearly defined, you can tailor everything about your brand message to attract (and keep) them.
2. Figure out your brand’s personality.
Next up is nailing down a singular voice for your organization. You need to determine how best to speak to your target audience so that they hear you. You need to figure out how you would like them to see your brand.
Apple = innovative. Rolls Royce = luxurious. Whole Foods = healthy. What does your brand equal?
Chose a path, and let it come through in everything you do. Remember, it’s impossible to be everything to everybody—but chances are, if you define a brand personality that genuinely reflects your organization’s culture and objectives, you will attract the clients whose personalities match your own.
3. Find your special sauce.
This may be the most difficult step, but it’s probably the most important one. You need to determine what it is that sets your business apart from any other brand in the marketplace. What makes you special? What is is about your brand that can fulfill the needs of your target client better than any of your competitors? If you don’t know the answer, you can’t expect a potential client to be able to figure it out, either.
It may not be easy, but following these three steps to define your brand in a strategic way will lay the groundwork for all your future marketing success.