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Branding is crucial for a company as it is the visual identity of a business. Learn the strategies to enhance the essence of your brand.
What is a brand? According to Marketing guru Seth Godin, “It is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
It’s the stories that you tell. The emotional connection you build with the audience by sharing your personality in bits and pieces. All of it over time.
Human beings have a strong desire to connect with someone. To share their life experiences. Companies that share the same set of values and relate to them are what gets your brand name going.
Bear in mind; brands are not built in a day. It takes years of patient buildup to become the Nike or Gucci of your niche.
1. History of Brand
Branding was a way to mark the livestock to avoid theft in the late 1800s. Companies such as Coca-Cola took that inspiration one step further and started branding themselves. The sole purpose: differentiation from the competition.
2. Ultimate Goal of Brand Building
The ultimate goal of building a brand is to charge premium prices. That’s it. Whatever else someone says is a fake interpretation of a brand.
The two things that matter for a brand to be considered a brand are:
- Word of mouth
There is a lot of noise out there. Brands cut that noise by providing a narrative that suits consumer’s choices.
Your target customer will spread your word for free. That’s how brands go big. People like to talk; they want to discuss the latest purchase they made. They will spread your story to their relatives and neighbors.
Why did they do that?
Feelings… You made them feel adequate about themselves. Your values and their values match—instant human connection. Humanizing your brand is the best way to take that giant leap in brand building.
Charging premium price is also an essential factor to consider. How can someone consider themselves a brand if they aren’t charging you more?
Marty Neumeier, author of all things brand, quotes,” a brand, is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
There isn’t a better way to put what a brand is other than this...
3. Is Logo a brand?
A brand is not confined to the looks or logo of your product/service. In the early days, brand meant the logo and colors your brand was associated with.
A brand is way more than that.
A cowboy is not just a man wearing a hat with a lasso in his hand.He/she is the representation of the culture that is followed.
It’s the stories and the tradition that makes the cowboy a cowboy.
The brand-building follows the same ethos. A brand is not just a designer working on the brand textures or the logo. A brand is the total package of emotional, visual, and physical connections you make with your potential customer.
4. What makes a brand valuable?
Being able to resonate with your target audience. It isn’t an easy thing to master. Someone is appealed by your color design, some by your aesthetic, some by your values. Keeping everything consistent is an arduous task that successful brands follow.
Brands get granular by making sure that every touchpoint with their customer base is respectful and authentic.
Changes in time don’t define a brand. It adapts and strikes back with the same ferocity of a predator.
Brands make you feel something. That feeling varies over time to time and with age. A successful brand makes you come over again and again for that feeling.
Brands learn from the best. Brands use case studies and competitor analysis to make the required changes.
Gauging a brand’s impact is more straightforward than defining a brand, whether it is well-oiled leadership, engaged workplace, or ethical values, making your life easier, or adding value in different life stages.
Brands spent a lot on making a cohesive brand strategy. Creating a brand strategy takes a lot of effort, commitment and time.
5. Brand-building through Social Media
Social Media as a brand-building tool has proven to bring intangible ROI. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok have been utilized to cover the brand direction and drive customer action.
The secret is playing the long-term game. To beat the goliath, brands need to take David’s route.
Rigorous thinking and case studies from former brands help us in forming a long-term social strategy. What colors to choose, the layout of information, CTAs. Everything needs to be streamlined and performed over the foreseeable future.
But, how do we make people buy our product or service?
Daniel Kahneman, in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, told us of two brain systems. System 1 is fast thinking, and System 2 Slow thinking.
Humans tend to use System 1 95% of the time and System 2 5% of the time. When we’re brand building, we’re seeking to influence System 1 decision making - the unconscious mind.
Hitting people with fast, dopamine-packed social media posts sprinkled with occasional storytelling over a long time is how to build brands.
You penetrate the market by influencing a large set of potential buyers of your service rather than hitting the regular buyers.
You maximize your word of mouth potential that way. That’s how the hype starts. Human beings love to talk and share experiences.
Your brand needs to follow these two things:
- Be radically different - color, logo, story
- Be compelling
That is all well and good, but how do you measure your brand-building activities?
We are going to cover three things
- Audience Growth
- Micro Targeting
Many brands have moved past the follower growth trend. Still, many brands do see it as an essential measure.
The trick is to improve your penetration by targeting non-followers.
Keeping it simple and increasing your customer base is the first metric you should target.
Engagement rate is one of the key metrics on social media. Out of 1000 followers, If 100 people engage. The engagement rate is 10%.
But is it effective?
The assumption is that if you get lots of engagement, you're doing a great job at brand building.
There is no correlation between engagement and brand growth. If you are trying to build your brand and think that engaging others generates that growth for you, you're misguided – engagement is a false metric.
A concept by which your target audience is segmented into smaller groups and served messages that are entirely tailored to each group.
Cambridge Analytica - does that ring a bell?
They were all about microtargeting.
You might be able to boost sales in the short term, but you’re not doing brand building if you do that.
6. The Brand Building Framework
Now let’s look at building a brand with social media.
Getting brand recognition isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to social media.
The social strategy has three foundational elements:
Creative - What do you say, and how do you say it.
You build brand fame by creating work that evokes an emotional response.
A fame builder is your most crucial creative piece.
With fame builders, it's an idea over everything.
All should see your creativity of your potential buyers in your category.
That’s why Instagram stories are not ideal. Instead, YouTube, IGTV, Facebook feed, or Facebook Watch would be the best options.
A short story is self-explanatory - the objective is to tell an exciting story in a short amount of time.
You should try to have at least two of these running every month.
The short story is likely the best use of your social media time if you only have one option.
Regardless of the format, the idea remains top of mind.
Stories work well for this.
When we combine your fame builder with short stories, we typically get more from less and lower costs.
This is the place where your brand assets are built and reinforced.
This is a small reminder of the brand's existence.
Only if short stories and fame builders accompany them are distinct cues considered necessary.
If you put them on your feed, make sure you make them uniquely you.
You should aim for 1-2 cues per week and ensure they get all the reach they deserve – don’t expect organic growth.
Media - make sure your creative reaches its potential
Media is comprised of three parts:
- Reach & Frequency
- Budget Allocation
- Compounding Touchpoints
The media must ensure enough people are reached, at the right frequency, at the correct cost. It’s a balancing act. Don’t go overboard with your budget, and still reach at least 80% of them 1-2 times per week.
Increasing the number of touchpoints on these people could lead to a compounding effect. We need to ensure that our messages reach them at the correct times to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Brand building should receive 60% of the budget. This includes short stories and fame builders. 40% revolves around distinctive cues.
Measurement - demonstrate the effectiveness of Brand Building.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to social media.
First: There is no point in looking at past formulas when it comes to Social Media.
Second: the fundamentals of influencing our decision-making process are the same regardless of the technology and the time we live in.
The best way to tame your customers is to know their psychology.
Build your brand over the long term. It doesn't happen by accident.
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