“It’s all about youuuu! It’s all about you, baby!” Now try singing it to yourself.…
How to Build a Brand Image in Your First Year of Business
There can be no business without a brand, or at least not a successful one that will manage to leave a powerful impression and create a strong emotional connection with its vast audience.
In a world where branding is the key difference between a business that will last and a business that will fail, where new names pop up around every corner, your initial branding efforts are the ones that represent the very foundation of your future growth.
Yet, many startups struggle with this challenge due to an issue that comes with the territory of starting a new business – being overwhelmed with a multitude of must-dos in the first year.
A company owner often wears so many hats at the very beginning, that the challenge of branding is only amplified.
However, if you devote your time and expertise to the following critical branding steps, you can establish a strong foundation for your business to stand its ground in the upcoming years and form a sterling reputation:
Establish your values.
Very few companies nowadays can say with pride that they offer something truly unique, meaning that their product or service is one-of-a-kind and solves an issue no one has yet addressed. With that in mind, you are entering a market which is already saturated to an extent, with a slew of other businesses offering some form of a solution that targets the very same audience you wish to reach.
However, just like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, or Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs, and many more competing names out there, there are literally hundreds of products that serve the same purpose but offer unique value.
This is where your brand image steps in to represent those values in a way your audience will instantly recognise and appreciate. Upon conducting a thorough market research to understand both your competitors and your potential buyers, you can discover a gap in the market where your brand fits perfectly.
Based on that, you can clarify your value proposition and ensure that it shines through every single aspect of your brand dissemination strategy.
Create a detailed strategy.
Moving forward, you will need to create a short, mid, and long-term schedule of clear branding efforts for your company. With all of your market knowledge and audience info to support you, a path of the most optimal steps will emerge:
- When your audience likes to spend time online.
- Which social networks are your targets.
- What type of language your audience prefers.
- How to differ from your competitors.
These are just some of the many questions that will serve as a tool to refine your strategy and help your brand stand out.
In the first year, it’s essential to follow your deadlines, as ensuring a consistent content strategy and marketing campaigns will help you learn more as to how you should tweak them to gain a wider reach and better engagement.
Set strict deadlines and always monitor your success as your creative efforts unfold.
Ensure branding consistency.
If there is a single aspect of branding and marketing that the vast majority of brands fail to follow through in the first year of their existence, it’s definitely their consistency:
- Are you truly sending the same message through all the funnels?
- Can your audience instantly recognise your brand’s use of colours, language, and images across all social media?
- Is your digital and brick-and-mortar presence in tune with one another, reflecting the same values?
Business owners often have a unique point of view that is essential for crafting the right brand campaigns, while relying on digital marketing services conducted by experts allows them to ensure consistency of the brand’s image across all channels.
No one can know your brand as well as you do, but marketers likewise understand the flow of each industry due to their vast experience, so combining the two leads to a successful brand execution no matter the funnel.
Look for recurring feedback.
As your campaigns unravel, and no matter how thrilled you may be with your current level of creativity, you also need to maintain a critical point of view of all your efforts. What may appeal to you as a brand owner and its creator may not be the perfect approach for those on the receiving end of your brand campaigns.
There are many different tools and services you can use to constantly receive feedback, both by analysing the online behaviour of your audience and looking for influencers from your niche that can provide you with both feedback and potential promotion.
Creating this feedback loop and researching your target audience’s preferences gives you the ideal source of data to refine your strategy on the go and implement changes to future campaigns. That, of course, doesn’t mean abandoning your brand identity.
On the contrary; it simply means finding better, more audience-specific ways to present it in order to enable an emotional bond.
Stick to the learning curve.
Finally, even after several months of successful branding efforts, your brand image is far from formed and fixed.
Remember that branding is an ongoing process, one that is based on how your competitors are behaving, how the market fluctuates to make more room for innovation, and how your potential customers change.
It’s vital to embrace branding as a learning process, so as to help your values remain recognisable no matter how many changes in your delivery may come about.
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