The Small Business Guide to Building A Brand that Connects
If you’re launching a new business and need to get your ducks in a row, the first items you probably want to check off your list are creating a legal structure for your business (like DBA, LLC, S-Corp, just to name a few), creating a website and logo, and printing up business cards. But just because you can tick off these essentials, doesn’t mean that business will start pouring in.
Because if you create a business without creating a brand, customers won’t connect with what you’re selling.
So, how do you create a brand that connects?
Figure Out What You Stand For
A brand as bland as white bread isn’t going to cut it in this highly competitive digital market. Just like breads, brands come in all different shapes, sizes, flavors, and specialties. Some breads even have cool stories to tell now (I’m looking at you, Dave’s Killer Bread). No matter what kind of brand you are building, you need to find a way to explain why your “flavor” is unique to your type of bread.
If you’re starting to get confused by my mixing of metaphors, consider the following in order to determine what you stand for:
Mission Statement: this is a statement on your business’ overall goals and objectives, that includes your purpose, what it aims to achieve, and who it aims to achieve it for.
Brand Values: These are the core principles and beliefs that guide your business’ actions and decisions.
Value Propositions: Your value props are the explicit benefits of choosing YOU over your competition.
Why does any of this matter? Because a 2017 study from Wunderman found that 89% of consumers will stay loyal to a brand that shares their values.
Understand Your Audience
That same study also found that the overwhelming majority of consumers want brands to demonstrate that they “understand and care about me” before they will consider making a purchase. And 56% of respondents said they will open their wallets for brands who “get” them and “show a deep understanding of their priorities and preferences.”
When you understand your audience, it makes selling feel, well, less like selling. By knowing what motivates your target audience, by knowing what they struggle with, or what their challenges are, you can become more empathetic about how you speak to them via your marketing efforts.
The best way to do this? Psychographic profiles.
Psychographic profiles can help you segment your target audience based on their values, interests, and lifestyle choices, which can be useful for tailoring your value proposition to specific groups of people. By understanding the psychographic characteristics of your target audience, you can create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns that resonate with the specific needs and values of those groups.
Craft a Strong Story
Every brand has a story, it’s simply a matter of finding the right ones to tell. Once you have a better understanding of who your target audience is and what they need from you, you can find the right ways to tell your stories.
There are different ways to craft your brand story, depending on the context of how the story is being told; the way you communicate to investors who have a short attention span is vastly different from the way you’ll have to communicate with consumers who you want buy-in from over the long term.
No matter the context, creating a brand that connects requires you to strengthen the following:
Your elevator pitch. It has to be short and sweet and you have to nail it. It has to quickly communicate the value of your brand, be memorable and easy to understand, and make people want to learn more.
A consistent brand voice. When people say “consistency is key” this is usually what they mean. Like people, when brands seem to take on different personalities around different people they start to become less trustworthy and more unmoored. A consistent brand voice is essential for building trust and credibility with customers.
A compelling brand story. This is not the history of your business, your CEO’s bio, or the reasons why you started the business in the first place. A great brand story leads with emotion, and should provide a clear and compelling narrative that demonstrates how well you understand your audience’s needs and ties those needs back to the products or services you provide.
Create a Brand That Connects
Of course, building a brand that connects can be easier said than done. But if you’re ready to invest in creating a brand, you should be able to have access to an expert who can help guide you through the process, regardless of your budget.
My course, Branding From the Heart, is the perfect solution for brands who are looking to strengthen their messaging and forge deeper connections with customers. Using my proven methodology to brand strategy, this course will help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace, sell and market your business with confidence, and yield greater results for your bottom line.