Brand Strategy 101: Building Your Company Identity

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It can be both an exciting and overwhelming process building your company brand. There are tons of questions to answer, like what personality traits your brand will exemplify and how you'll communicate with your audience. In a nutshell, constructing your brand identity forces you to ask, "Who am I?" Thankfully, there are a few keys to ensuring your brand comes off polished, effective and authentically you.

Knowing Your Audience

In the marketing world, there is plenty of talk about knowing your target customer. And while it may seem simple and obvious, this topic is discussed so often because it is challenging. Many major companies have had to make pivots early on as a result of demographic confusion. In other words, they were marketing to a slightly off-target demographic that didn't need or couldn't purchase their offering. So be sure to get a strong grasp on as many aspects of your audience as you can - their income, interests, gender, age, and geographic location may all play a role in whether they take an interest in your brand. In addition, don't compromise major aspects of your company to suit an audience (e.g. abandoning your brand values or drastically reducing prices). Instead, wait it out and find your true audience.

Consistency Is Branding

In a sense, consistency and branding are synonymous. After all, if you're not consistent, does your brand really have an identity at all? Building structures around consistency will keep you accountable and keep your audience updated. First, brainstorm some ways that you can build consistency into your brand. Make sure these methods won't have you bending over backwards but instead come natural to you. They can even be fun! For example, every Tuesday a fashion brand might publish a customer review with an image of them wearing a product. Or every month, you host one giveaway with a unique theme that relates to something your customers struggle with. These concrete practices bring substance to your brand and give your audience something to look forward to and expect from you.

In addition, consistency must be built in more conceptual ways. You must be consistent in tone (how you communicate), content (what you talk about) and offerings (products/services). Of course, it's good to create new offerings and branch out over time, but it's important to have an underlying thread that fuses all that you offer. This leads us to our next major branding factor: values.

Values Guide Your Brand

If you've pushed this decision to the back burner, it's time to consider what brand values you want to adopt. This is not only important from an emotional perspective (e.g. you attract an audience with similar values) but also from a strategic perspective. Your brand values must be in place first so that you can make business decisions that support your long-term goals. Without values, you may end up saying "yes" to every offer that comes your way with little idea of where you're going.

Selecting two or three key brand values is a good place to start. To determine your values, think back to why you started your business in the first place. As you jot down what comes to mind, your values will start to reveal themselves. You may find that honesty, confidence, generosity or other values are the cornerstone of your business. This allows you to market, make decisions and pivot according to your business foundation.

Do some research into these 3 areas to gain clarity and fill in any holes that currently exist in your brand. As you get acquainted with your audience, discover your brand values, and build organization into your routine, your brand will begin to shine.