Building a trustworthy brand for your business might just be the single most important thing you can do to set your business up for massive success in all your sales, marketing & growth initiatives.
In this branding guide we cover the key components to creating a recognizable and trustworthy brand in any industry – something that all successful business owners understand and practice.
Follow along and take action with the instructions found below in this guide, and you will set yourself up for huge growth opportunities.
What is Branding?
Branding is the process of creating meaning for your company’s products & services.
Branding, or your brand identity, helps customers and potential customers (leads) more quickly know, like and trust your business – which leads to faster, and more frequent, purchasing decisions.
Emotions drive buying decisions and people do business with brands they trust. So, a primary objective of your branding strategy should be to build massive trust & meaningful connections.
Your brand is your promise to your customers.
- Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your products, services, employees, etc.
- Your brand will differentiate your offering from that of your competitors even if there isn’t much difference – a iPhone is an iPhone wherever you buy it, but that doesn’t mean the buying experience is the same.
- Your brand is derived from who you are, the people on your team, and how you want to be perceived.
- Branding is all the ways you establish an image of your company in your customers’ eyes.
Branding gives your customers a reason to choose you over a competitor, and a reason to continue to choose you instead of going somewhere else on their next purchase.
- Branding helps with recognition.
- Branding increases the value of your business.
- Branding helps you generate new customers.
- Branding improves employee pride & satisfaction.
- Branding builds trust in the marketplace.
- Branding supports sales & advertising.
Brand positioning includes all of the activities and communications from your brand to help paint a picture in consumers’ minds about who you are and what you’re about.
Brand positioning is the combination of all the different ways you use to communicate what you stand for.
The purpose of brand positioning is to help your customers simply & clearly understand the products & services you offer, and how you are different from your competitors.
Some opportunities for positioning your brand include:
- Product: Is your product designed for beginners or connoisseurs? children or adults? men or women?
- Pricing: Is your pricing set in a way to include more people, or exclude? Economic or luxurious?
- Name: Names can say alot. Is the name of your brand (or products) fun and adventurous? serious and intense? inviting? scary?
- Visual Identity: Are your brand visuals colorful and un-intimidating? complicated and scientific? light? dark?
- Communication Style: Communication is a huge part of positioning. How do you speak to your audience? are you serious and educational? relaxed and friendly?
If this isn’t your first SERP Co article, you probably already know what kind of communication style we prefer in our positioning.
We call it the “friendly expert” – intelligent & educational, but always lookin to have a good time.
Understand the fundamentals of a brand will help you create a brand that will resonate with consumers in your industry.
Brand Mission Statement
Your brand’s mission statement defines your purpose and the effect you want your business to have on the world.
It is typically a short, succinct statement that defines your organization’s reason for existing.
It is almost like a very simple form of an elevator pitch.
Examples of Brand Mission Statements:
Below are some examples of brand missions statements, try and guess who they are after reading!
Brand Mission Statement Example: Fast Food
“Serve only the highest quality product, prepare it in a clean and sparkling environment, and serve it in a warm and friendly manner.”
Brand Mission Statement Example: Social Media
“To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
Brand Mission Statement Example: Ecommerce
“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
Brand Mission Statement Example: Entertainment
“To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information, using its portfolio of brands to differentiate its content, services and consumer products.”
Your brand vision is what you aim to achieve. It should be a very straightforward and clear explanation of the business goal.
Your brand vision should be measurable & attainable so you can quantitatively monitor & communicate its progress.
For Tesla, this means: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
And also, “to enable people to go anywhere on Earth in under one hour.”
Your brand guidelines (aka “brand style guide or “brand book”) are essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works and should be presented publicly.
Your brand guidelines should be a document that can be given to anyone in your organization, from executives, to designers, to administrative support that gives them a clear picture of the brand and how it needs to be portrayed in the real world.
They should support & reflect the goals of your organization and differentiate you from competitors.
Your logo is a a graphic, symbol, emblem or stylized text used to identify your company – and often times the most widely recognizable aspect of your brand, second to only your name.
Logos can be clear, or abstract, but should have some kind of inherent purpose and meaning & personality of the company it represents.
Your logo should go everywhere – your website, your business cards, your products … even your gelatinous bunt cakes:
Your website is the digital representation of your business.
In many cases your website is the first “comprehensive” impression customers will have with your brand, which is why website design is so critical to online success.
Brand media refers to all the assets your brand has to help tell your story.
Typically this includes images, videos, commercials, product shots, team photos, etc.
People do business with people, and in order for your brand to build trust it is important that you highlight the people behind the scenes who run & represent the company.
Having high-quality visual assets like unique photography, videos, graphic, etc. will help build trust much more quickly and consumers eyes and significantly improve your brand’s credibility.
Brand USP & UVP
What makes your brand unique? Why should someone buy from you, instead of the hundreds or thousands of other options they have to buy from? This is your brands USP (unique selling proposition), sometimes called a UVP (unique value proposition).
A Brand USP (unique selling proposition) is the one thing that makes your business different, and more specifically better, than your competitors.
Your brand’s USP should highlight and emphasize specific aspects of your business that are strong enough to convince someone to buy from you rather than any of the alternatives. It should make it clear to potential consumers how you can improve their current situation while adding value to their lives.
Your UVP is a form of brand messaging that makes your customers fall in love with your brand.
A great example of this is Nerd Fitness.
In an industry that is incredibly saturated, they stand out. Why? Their unique selling proposition:
This is a kind of “for us by us” USP, emphasizes the idea of community – that other nerds should get their fitness ideas here, instead of from the jocks that have been beating them up their entire lives (at least according to hollywood movies).
How to Build a Brand
- Share your Values
- Build Customer Trust & Loyalty
- Be Transparent
- Create Quality Content
- Maintain Consistency Across all Platforms
- Practice Purposeful Engagement
- Make Meaningful Customer Connections
- Build Your Reputation
- Stand for Something, and Give Back
Share your Values
Sharing your values means being transparent in your why.
The stronger your values are shared the more consumers will have an opportunity to connect with you.
Some of the most successful brands are incredibly polarizing – but instead of worrying about the people they will alienate with their beliefs, they double down on them and get full commitment from people who agree with them.
- Example: Fox News vs. CNN
Build Customer Trust & Loyalty
Consumers do not buy products or services from businesses they don’t trust.
Building trust in a business relationship takes effort, but there are proven steps to getting there:
- Always be professional.
- Empathize with your customers point of view and situation.
- Respond to customer questions quickly and helpfully – contact forms, live chat, social media, phone, etc.
- Be consistent everywhere.
Companies who build trust and loyalty know these principles and follow them religiously.
Think about the happiest place on earth, what comes to mind? Customer loyalty.
Transparent branding is becoming increasingly more important for consumers – and increasingly more difficult to hide with social media.
As consumers, we demand it from not only businesses but from politicians, public services (like police), and even world leaders.
A transparent brand is one that says one thing, and sticks to it. A business that plays their cards with their hands facing up – no hidden fees, no fine print, no surprises.
Create Quality Content
Have pride in your business, image & reputation – and create brand assets that reflect it.
Creating high quality content helps build and improve awareness of your company, distinguish you are an industry leader & trusted source of information, and will significantly improve your the success of your sales process.
Maintain Consistency Across all Platforms
Brand consistency is the delivery of your values, visual media, messaging, and most importantly – your products – to your target audience over time.
Consistent brands build massive trust with consumers and will keep them coming back again and again.
When you have a consistent product & experience, you will create customers for life. And if your product is actually superior to your competitors on top of that, you will be unstoppable.
One of my personal favorite brands is almost perfect when it comes to quality & consistency, in fact only 1 time in my life have I ever seen then make a mistake (on one of my orders).
Can you guess who it is? Click here to reveal.
Practice Purposeful Engagement
Practicing meaningful engagement means having real conversations with your customers.
- If they comment on your social media – reply back.
- If they ask a question – answer it.
- If someone is kind enough to leave you a review – hit reply and thank them.
- Be genuine and well thought out with the content you put out – no more 500 word blog posts from content farms.
- Respond fast – people expect it.
- Showcase your personality – it’s the human thing to do.
Make Meaningful Customer Connections
People have a ton of options. If they buy from you use this an opportunity to build a real connection.
- Listen – Take time to understand their needs.
- Anticipate – When you understand someone you should be able top anticipate their needs to a certain extent.
- People first, customers second – Your customers are people. Ask yourself how the interaction with your brand (from the very first touchpoint through the end of the sale and beyond) has made them feel.
For an amazing example of making meaningful connections, check out this story from the Ritz Carlton – pretty sure this family will never stay at another hotel unless there is no Ritz in the area.
Build Your Reputation
Your reputation is everything – you should create systems to actively work on growing it.
- Contribute to your communities.
- Contribute to the innovation & growth of your industry.
- Always be networking, but do it in a genuine way. If someone would be a good contact for your business but you don’t believe in their values move on, there are plenty of people that can be good for you and good for your business (no selling out).
- Making your employee wellbeing a priority.
- Get reviews.
Stand for Something, and Give Back
One of the main draws of building a brand is the financial (and eventually lifestyle) benefits that come with it.
Your customers are the fuel for the dream you are building and the employees are the gears that run the machine.
Giving back is beneficial for your business because consumers like to buy from companies that are socially responsible, knowing their money is going not only to purchasing a product but also something more beneficial, but it is also the right thing to do.
When you experience success, you have to clearly remember that it was because of the all people involved, which is why it is your responsibility to give back.
Being socially responsible is the way that you can create additional goodwill for yourself, for people, and for the planet. Social responsibility helps make your business more evergreen, and frankly – worth a damn.
Branding is the way you bridge the gap between a name and a meaning. It is everything that you represent as a company, and allows consumers to really feel those values.
A good brand will significantly improve your marketing & sales efforts, and conversely a poor, or undefined, brand will hurt your marketing & sales efforts.
The better you do with your branding the more sales you will make, more quickly, for less spend.
Focus on building a quality brand using the principles outlined in this guide, and if you want additional help or have questions let us know!