Brand building is a process of generating awareness, establishing connections, and promoting your company’s brand, products, and services to the target audience using various creative marketing strategies.
Simply put, brand building is to increase your brand visibility within the market and build positive relationships with your audience by providing them with value in return. It will increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and brand recognition.
Online Brand Building
It is a brand-building effort that happens online using a website, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other online marketing channels that are currently available.
The purpose of online brand building is to increase and optimise a business presence and widen its reach online to potential users or customers. This in turn will lead to increased conversion, lead generation, and sales.
Why Invest in Brand Building?
The purpose of brand building is to connect with your customers and help them understand what you are offering them and how the offer can help them through the effective positioning of your brand. But this does not mean you leverage on unique selling points (USPs) alone, instead, you will need to actively communicate and engage your customers.
In addition to actively engaging and communicating with your customers, your brand actions also must match your brand visions. For example, if your brand visions are about delivering premium products and friendly customer service, these visions then must be translated by your brand as well. Otherwise, it will make your brand less credible.
Simply put, branding will further augment your customer base, which will create trust and credibility, resulting in brand loyalty. This will give your brand a competitive advantage in the market.
The Benefits of Branding
Building up your brand also comes with other benefits as well, besides awareness and gaining your customers’ loyalty and trust. These benefits will improve your business performance in the long run.
1. Improve Company Values
Through branding, your business will develop a personality and the personality will make it easier for your customers to connect and resonate with your business, it will be viewed by your customers as more than just a business but an entity that provides solutions and care for them. So this makes it more likely for customers to purchase from you.
2. Compete On Even Ground
If you are just starting your business it will be tough to compete with other businesses that are already well established. But if you do good branding, you can attract a pool of loyal customers of your own that will help compete against competitors on even ground.
3. Brand Equity
Another benefit of building your brand is gaining brand equity for your business. Whenever there are new products, services, or promotions, your users/ customers will automatically take interest in them if they are loyal to your brand.
Creating Your Own Brand Strategy
Since your brand is your reputation, you will need to have a strong brand strategy to help your business grow its brand and reputation.
However, let’s get things straight first, your brand is not limited to just your products, services, or business name. It encompasses all tangible aspects of your business; from logo design to actions taken or done. Branding is the backbone of your business, it is one of the factors that determine the success of your business, particularly if your business is online only. That is why it is important to have brand consistency.
The Importance of Brand Consistency
So what are the components of brand consistency? Well, here are the components that should remain the same across all of your business communication and experience.
A logo is the face of a business and brand. The most memorable part of a brand is when people are unable to remember a brand’s name they usually remember its logo. Especially when the logo is unique and one of a kind. For example, when you hear Starbucks, the image of the siren lady appears in your mind, or when you think of Coca-Cola, the curvy red & white fonts fill your mind. So you see, a logo stimulates the mind to automatically associate it with the products or services of a brand.
That is why it is important to invest your time and money into crafting a logo that is unique and ensure the logo you presented across different online channels looks the same.
You know a company did their branding well when every time you see a specific colour, or a combination of colours it reminds you of its products, services, and business. That is why it is crucial to pick good colour scheme combinations for your brand. Even if your business is nowhere near them, when they see colour combinations that resemble the ones your brand is using, it will remind them of your brand. Simply put, colours will help strengthen your brand awareness and recognition.
Besides strengthening brand awareness and recognition, colours also can be used to set the mood and tone of a brand expression. For example, Louis Vuitton (LV) uses colours like gold brown, and black to express its brand as premium and exclusive, which will resonate with customers that are looking to buy premium and exclusive products or services. But this, however, may not resonate well with average spenders because premium and exclusive also mean pricey to them.
Here’s another example; UNIQLO uses a red and white colour combination, which gives a friendlier and more approachable feel to it compared to LV’s black, brown and gold colours combination.
This is because colours will allow you to connect and attract customers empathetically, thus influencing their decision-making and perception of your brand. So, before deciding on a colour combination for your brand, make sure you have identified the demographics that will be selling your products or services.
#3 Tone & Voice
Much like an individual, every brand has its own tone and voice. This aspect of your brand should remain consistent across all channels, an identifier of some sort for your brand, but not fixed.
For example, if your brand is all about sounding casual and funny, in an official email you may want to switch and use a more formal tone and voice. While on social media, you may continue to use the brand tone and voice to engage and respond to your audience, or while responding to negativity, you may still use the casual and funny tone but commands respect and sternness to subtly imply you do not approve of such behaviours.
Simply put, your brand tone and voice reflect your brand’s personality, so it will impact how your brand will be perceived and identified. Also, using different tones and communication styles will show that your brand is flexible and inclusive.
#4 Visual Identity
Regardless of the platform, the images you share should have all the elements stated in the paragraphs above. Meaning that the images should reflect your brand tone and voice, colour scheme, and logo. However, you can’t just upload any visuals, add your brand colour and edit the logo onto it then call it a day if you want the image to become a strong visual identity for your brand. So choose a visual presentation that matches your brand; if you are all about edgy, vector illustrations might work, or if your brand focuses on exclusivity then present your visuals using high-quality photos.
In other words, a brand’s visual identity is more than just an identifier for your brand, it also shows how serious and well-put together your brand is; customers will perceive your brand as trustworthy and provide quality products or services. Take a look at Dropbox, it conveys a sense of endless creativity to match the brand’s ever-evolving toolkit that can help companies and brands that trusted them to evolve together.
#5 Domain Name
This part of brand building is often taken for granted by many because of how simple it seems at a glance. You should know that your domain name should match your brand and be easy to be found by your customers.
For example, ‘sellingcakesandbreadonlineonly.com’ is exhausting to type in the search bar and searchers will have higher chances of making spelling mistakes which would cause them unable to find your online store. Not to mention it looks very unprofessional and suspicious.
But if the URL has your brand name in it, it will appear more convincing and trustworthy, you will receive an increased response from both existing and potential customers. For example, whenever there is a need to send out surveys or polls to existing or potential customers, the surveys or polls you sent will have higher chances of being responded to because they know the surveys or polls come from a legitimate and secured source.
Take your time when coming up with a domain name, and be sure to include relevant keywords (if possible), it is easy to spell and remember by your customers so that you can drive more traffic to your website.
#6 Branded Links
A branded link is a shortened version of the URL you want to share online that includes the brand name and terms that will associate your business with the links, content, and information you shared online. Branded links are URLs used to further reinforce brand awareness and trust.
So when a visitor visits your website, then they will see the link containing your brand name which immediately grants your business more credibility. In addition to this, a recent experiment conducted by Rebrandly has shown that branded links increase the click-through rate by 39%.
In the online space, every business is shouting and chirping their business by churning out content that promotes their brand, increasing the audience’s awareness. So to make your brand voice heard, you will need to state your value proposition clearly and loudly.
Value proposition refers to the promise of the value you want to deliver for your customers. The main reason why your customers and potential customers should buy from you, and not your competitors. So tell your customers…
#1 What You Do
You need to define clearly to your customers what your business does and how it can help them. For example; “We are a small and independent coffeehouse that not only serves authentic and artisan coffee drinks but also sells authentic and signature coffee beans (with a variety of roasts to choose from) to our fellow coffee lovers.”
#2 How You Do It
Be transparent with how you do things. This will provide a sense of honesty which will help your brand to gain existing customers and potential customers’ trust and confidence. For example; “At our coffeehouse, every cup is handcrafted and freshly made using only top quality ingredients and beans.”
#3 For Whom You Do It
To make a business more effective and able to connect with customers, you will need to establish a niche. This will show that you understand your customers’ needs or troubles and that you have solutions catered especially to their needs or troubles.
This will not only help you to master and understand your customers, but this also will make your customers feel they are appreciated and that you care about them; resulting in loyalty and recognition for your brand.
#4 What Makes You Different
Lastly, you will need to state what it is that makes your business unique and different from others. Is it the service you provide to your customers? Or your products were using some secret and high-quality ingredients? These are the keys to a brand’s uniqueness and what makes it stand out from the competition.
So state clearly what is unique and different about your brand to encourage conversions and sales.
Besides stating your value proposition online, delivering clear and strong online brand messaging is important too. This will augment further your brand’s online presence and convince your potential customers to purchase your products or services. There are several components in delivering effective online brand messaging for your business:
#1 Mission and Vision
By stating both your brand mission and vision statements clearly, customers will have a better idea of what your business does, what impact it wants to make, and how you do it. However, make sure your actions are aligned with both the mission and vision statements of your brand because they are sort of like your brand’s promise to the customers. So if your efforts are not aligned and don’t fulfil your brand vision and mission, customers will find your brand untrustworthy and not transparent. Have a look at some of the most inspiring mission and vision statements.
#2 Product or Service Description
Today’s customers are more conscious and alert to the products and services they are about to purchase. They will always read thoroughly the products or services descriptions; they will want to know if the products or services will be able to help them and are worth the money they are going to spend.
By putting up a clear and straightforward description of your products or services, your brand will be seen as honest and trustworthy when dealing business with customers and shows that you care for them. The reason why every product or service under your brand should have a clear, transparent, and straightforward description.
#3 Customer Value
When people buy products or services, it is not because they like or need them, but it is a solution to something; desires, cravings, or problems. So if your products or services provide good enough solutions for them and are worth the cost, they buy from you. The opposite happens if your products or services are not worth the cost and don’t provide good enough solutions.
So to ensure customers continue to buy from you, they will need to be convinced and perceive your products or services hold and offer great value than the price tag.
As mentioned above, customers’ value does refer simply to the price but to the total benefits, they can receive from spending on your products or services, which includes how it will make them feel and the status it may provide them with.
Creating Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is like a profile of your customer; who they are, what they want or looking for, what their life is like and what are their interests. This will allow you to put a face and a name on your customers (Donut and Coffee Mike, or Coffee in Tumbler Lisa). Allow you to understand the reasons for them to engage and make purchase decisions from your brand.
That is why your content, whether it is written, visual, or video, should be addressing the buyer persona that you have created because it will make it easier for your brand to connect and target customers on a more personal level without having to use a different approach for every single customer.
There are a few components in a buyer persona you will need to observe and understand before you can create a buyer persona:
The first step and component are your customers’ demographics. You will need to understand the demographics of your target market such as marital status, gender, age range, and income level before you can begin to understand who your customers are and narrow down the interests range.
#2 Job Level/Seniority
If you are in the B2B market, then it means you are selling products or services to businesses. So it is important to know who is the person you are targeting and selling to; what’s their position in the company, what are their responsibilities, and what is their authority level in decision-making. This is because the CEO of a mid-size business acts and thinks differently from a manager in an enterprise.
#3 Typical Day
A typical day refers to the process of identifying and understanding what and where your customers’ demographics usually spend their time on the Internet on a daily basis.
By understanding the many things that occupy your customers’ time daily, you will be able to identify what’s important and what isn’t important to them.
If you can piece together this information, then you adjust and align your value proportion to match what they care about which will make it easier for them to be interested in your brand.
#4 Pain Points
Next is to identify the paint points or what are the things that will keep customers up at night. What are the problems they are facing? How do they want to solve it? By figuring this out, you can position your business as the brand that helps and provide them with solutions to the said problems.
#5 Information Sources
Researching demographics, and coming up with a good value proposition is but half of the battle. You will also need to know where your customers are getting their information from. Is it from whitepapers? Online forums? What type of reading materials do they often consume? Review blogs? Or is it an infographic?
This also means you can identify from which channels they are getting the information, such as companies’ websites, social media, online media news, etc.
Once you have identified these, you can create the matching content type and post it on the site or source they frequent.
#6 How to Convince Them
The final step would be to convince your customers why they should buy from you instead of from your competitors; to do this you will need to find out what makes your potential customers still hesitate to purchase from you. Then, use clear and simple language to state the benefits they can gain from buying your products or services, alleviating their concerns and hesitations. But if you use terms that are too technical and niche, customers might still be unable to get a clear understanding of how your products or services can help them.
The Components of Your Online Brand
To ensure your online branding will do well, there are several essential components that you need to implement into your online branding.
Your website is the face of your brand on the Internet. Think of your website as your physical store where people go to buy your products or services. So you would want it to be clean, neat, visually appealing, and easy for customers to navigate or browse through.
How your website looked and is designed will speak volumes about your brand. Shopify is a great example of a high-quality website with a usable and user-friendly design. It features a clean and modern website layout without long blocks of text allowing the reader to easily identify the info about app features. On top of that, it also provides clear navigation and the CTAs that spread across the website help to prompt users to convert.
2. About Us Page
It isn’t enough to just market your product to consumers. You need to earn their trust too. One way to do this is by explaining who you are and what your company is about. The easiest and most effective way to achieve this is with an About Us page.
An About Us page exists to share a business’ story and history and provide a deeper connection with customers. Consumers want to know the team behind the brand they are supporting. An About Us page provides the perfect real estate to pull back the curtain and reveal who is working behind the scenes. Most importantly, though, an About Us page facilitates trust between the consumer and the business.
There are four main components to an About Us page:
- Share the story of why the company was founded
- Highlight your background and your founding team’s role
- Document the evolution of the company
- Document the mission and vision
Casper, the sleep company did a great job in telling their brand story and creating a narrative on how they are obsessed with what they do that can help everyone sleep better. The playfulness of their choice of words is what makes them stand out.
3. Content Creation
Content marketing is no longer an option but a necessity. Right from budding startups to elite businesses, everyone is pouring in their hearts and dollars for unique brand content which would make them stand out from the crowd.
One such brand that stands out is Oreo. Everybody loves Oreo, and that’s evident by their millions of followers. Their content marketing strategy comprises the best combination of humour and fun. It is first to jump on to the trends, be it vault or monolith. But there is another specialty apart from being humorously prompt. And that’s inclusiveness.
Oreo joined the Proud Parent campaign to encourage LGBTQ parenting with PFlag. The users can share relevant pictures and tag Oreo. It also announced 10,000 rewards. The campaign was promoted with a short movie that resonated with thousands.
4. Social Media
Online marketing allows for two-way communication with your customers via social media. You can check in with your customers in real-time; respond to their inquiries, get their feedback about your products or services, help them resolve issues, or simply join in the conversation. This way you will be able to let your customers know that your brand values them and their opinions.
Take a page of Wendy, the queen of fast food that uses social media marketing, evolving their brand voice to show a more snarky side, which has really resonated with their customers. They have done everything right — playful, responsive, interactive, and consistent.
Brand monitoring is the process of tracking and checking different channels to find out where your brand is mentioned. By knowing when and where people mention your brand, it will provide insights into how people view and perceive your brand. Observe for potential negativity, queries, or criticisms then get it under control.
The Impact of Brand Monitoring
Public perception and reception of your brand play a huge role in your brand growth.
There will be conversations and comments that you will not agree with, but these are the things that will give you a clear idea of the general sentiment around your brand, products, or services.
A survey that was conducted in recent years shows that 72% of 250 company executives, refer to and use social media as their source of data and insight.
And here are the few elements that can impact your brand monitoring.
#1 Understanding Sentiment
Through brand monitoring, you will be able to know and understand what is the current sentiment for your brand via sentiment analysis. A sentiment analysis observes the tonality of a specific language used in comments, reviews, or discussions about your brand to determine whether it is positive, negative, or neutral sentiment.
A great way to read between the lines and measure people’s reactions to each and different post, campaign, or to your brand in general. To achieve this, you can use any of the social listening and analysis tools on the market.
Here are some of the tools that can provide you with sentiment analysis:
By using such tools, you will be able to comb through comments and mentions to create a sentiment summary that will show you how your audience truly feels about your brand.
#2 Reputation and Crisis Management
By constantly monitoring your brand, you will be able to stay on top of things such as how your brand reputation is doing. This will allow you to immediately handle any customer issues before it spirals out of control. You can catch any issues by listening to reviews and feedback online. In addition, if you manage to handle the issues in time and well, it will increase your customers’ trust and confidence in your brand.
#3 Identifying Issues and Improvements
In addition to being able to resolve any issues from spiralling out of control, it will also help to identify what caused the issues in the first place and how you can make improvements so that your brand can become better and avoid the same issues from happening again in the future.
#4 Create Communications
When you know there is a conversation or discussion about your brand happening, don’t be shy to chime in the conversation or discussion. Publicly responding to a discussion, inquiry or comment will show your customers that you listen and care about what they have to say.
It will show that you are open to receiving feedback, or any suggestions made by your customers. However, if you are inactive and rarely participate in a conversation or discussion, customers’ perception of your brand may become negative because it seems like you don’t like to listen to any suggestions and don’t care about them.
#5 Identify User-Generated Content
User-generated content can further augment your content strategy, it will make your brand seem more convincing and trustworthy. Besides that, monitoring your brand mentions will help you to discover who is sharing and talking about your content, allowing you to find and connect with influencers or brand ambassadors that you can work with.
Channels to Monitor
While it may be tempting to monitor every single mention of your brand everywhere, it is better to monitor a few channels only. This is to avoid you from being overwhelmed by the huge amount of data you obtain and causing you unable to make any conclusions.
So here are the channels that you should monitor:
1. Social media
Social media is the best place to monitor your brand mention because it is there where comments, discussions about brands, and businesses happen. You should actively engage in the comments and discussions that are about your brand by replying in the comment section of a thread, or when there is a direct message promptly.
You can find out where your brand is being mentioned using social media listening tools such as:
Social media listening tools listed above and also a few others on the market will allow you to get real-time insight into currently happening conversations or discussions on social media.
2. Online News Media
You can find out who’s talking about your brand, and see other people’s reactions to your brand news. From this, you will be able to conclude who is interested, and who is not.
This can be done by listening to the online news channels for all and any mentions of your brand, then you gauge the overall sentiments of all the mentions and use the details from the sentiments to devise strategies that will help curb negativity and promote positivity for your brand.
3. Online Forums
On online forums, you will see lengthy and detailed discussions about a topic or a brand. So on online forums, you have the opportunity to subtly promote your brand if the topic of the discussion is related to your brand, or mentioned your brand. On online forums, you will be to understand your brand position, and what is the public perception of your brand in general.
For example, on Quora, if there’s a discussion going on and its topic is about the industry you are in, you can jump in and mention your brand. That is if there is no mention of it yet, but if people already mentioned your brand there, you can join the discussion and support your brand, lending it more credibility.
4. Online Review Sites
Online review sites are the place to see the feedback from the customers that have purchased your products or services. Here you can take note of what their reviews are and improve your brand based on their reviews. Your brand will be positioned as a brand that listens to customer’s needs, which increases your customers’ loyalty to your brand.
In addition, you can further augment your brand presence by commenting on the reviews made on the review sites.
And that brings us to the next point.
Brands Elements to Monitor
In addition to tracking the channels, there are also elements that you should pay attention to in brand monitoring. These elements are parts of your brand that receive publicity, so choose the ones that are most relevant to your brand and industry.
#1 Name Variations
Not everyone will refer to, spell or pronounce your brand name correctly. So when you monitor your brand, take note of how people mention your brand name. Because some people use different spellings or abbreviations of your brand name.
So when there is a mention of a product or service that is associated with your brand, take note of how your customers spell it. It is important to track name variations so that you can make a list of the way people mention your brand and use those as part of your keywords. Because when you integrate the spellings and abbreviations that people used to mention your brand as your brand keywords, it will increase your brand visibility on the search engines.
It is always good to know what your competitors are up to and how many times their brand is mentioned online. The bad thing is if your competitor is being mentioned more than you, means they dominate the online conversations and discussions, thus decreasing the available customer base.
Fortunately, the good thing about knowing how many times your competitors are mentioned, is that you will be able to gauge your brand’s current position in the market using the share of voice calculation and this will also allow you to discover new opportunities to improve and set your brand apart, this will lead to establishing your brand share of voice in the market.
#3 Industry Buzzword
By analysing the industry buzzwords, you can discover whether your brand is being mentioned alongside the latest buzzword in the market. For example, the current buzzword within the travel industry is ‘bleisure’, the combination of the word business and leisure.
Tourism agencies and hotels are now offering packages for business people who are already remotely able to travel, stay and do their work at their hotels or resorts.
So the buzzword is not just a mere trendy term for a business trip, but it is a service targeted to business people who have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.
In short, if your brand is not in the know of the current buzzword and not using it, then it is likely you are missing out on a decent amount of customers, profits and online mentions. So if your competitor is being mentioned a lot of times online, see if you can identify if they are using new buzzwords.
If your brand is in a specific industry or niche, it is always a good idea to keep track of trends or buzzwords. Even if it doesn’t mention your brand name, it is helpful to know what’s happening and what’s being said about the industry you are in. Because you may use it to create new content that will get people together and join the discussion which will increase your brand engagement.
Whenever there’s a discussion happening, it is not only good for customer service or solving complaints, but it is a way that will increase your brand’s activeness and engagement within the industry.
Brand measuring is the process of identifying a set of metrics to represent the performance of your brand-building activities. Then create a plan of action to adjust and improve your brand-building activities.
Build Share of Voice
One of the components in brand measuring is brand share of voice. Brand share of voice is referring to the number of times people talk about your brand versus your competitors. In other words, it helps you understand the popularity of your brand compared to all of your competitors.
Impact on Business
By regularly measuring your brand performance, you will be able to see how people respond to your brand marketing campaigns and find ways to improve. This will decide how the following elements impact your brand and business over time.
1. Organic Traffic
Unlike paid traffic, organic traffic is something that can accumulate based on how your brand evolves overtime. So if your brand organic traffic has a high visibility share of voice, this means your brand awareness rates are good.
The same goes for social organic traffic. You can build social organic traffic over time by using organic content to attract engagement. It is a cost-effective method to connect with your customers, build relationships and share your brand.
2. Conversion Rates
Conversion rates are records of the percentage of visitors on your website that have completed certain actions; member/email sign-ups, purchase, subscription, etc. If over time your brand conversion rates are increasing, it means that people are convinced and believe your products or services are worth their money.
3. Cost Per Action
As you’ve been informed, cost per action (CPA) is a form of pricing model in marketing where you only pay when there is specified action(s) taken by visitors on your advertisement eg; form submission, click, or sale.
This will allow you to control advertising costs for specific marketing objectives, which allow you to maximise return on investment across different channels. It will help gauge the success of your branding and marketing on different channels. This will allow you to make necessary adjustments to your branding and marketing.