The Golden Circle

10 Simple Steps for Brand Building Process in 2022

What comes to your mind when you think of building your brand? For an average Joe, brand building is about creating a logo, renting a shop, and selling various items. But if you are an entrepreneur, you know that building a brand from scratch requires time and effort. If you are a start-up or thinking about starting your business, you must equip yourself with effective brand-building strategies that would help establish your brand. Brand development strategies are instrumental in creating a powerful brand.

While building your brand is a time-consuming affair, understanding the several stages involved in brand development will help you minimize effort and increase productivity manifold. We will explore the various stages involved in the brand-building process, which will enable you to establish your business in 2022.

After nine months of pain and suffering, a mother gives birth to a beautiful child. The mother feeds the baby and looks after her needs until she has grown to become a woman who can look after herself and face the world on her own.

Building a brand from scratch is exactly like growing a child. A brand must be taken care of, looked after and given nourishments at the right times till the brand is up on its feet and ready to take on the world. Brand development is a time consuming process and has many stages. Each stage must be carefully handled just like a delicate child.

Why Put Effort Into Building a Brand?

Branding builds credibility and establishes trust between businesses and consumers. It’s what entices people to buy from you in the first place, and keeps them coming back for more in the future.

Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, or Rome, you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk into a Starbucks. You could get a bigger cup of coffee for a fraction of the cost at a gas station or small local doughnut shop, but those places don’t have the same branding power as Starbucks.

What makes that shirt worth more than a $5 shirt? Why is an iPhone worth so much better than a $100 smartphone? Are Nikes really worth five times more than a generic pair of sneakers?

A 10-Step Brand Development Strategy

1. Consider your overall business strategy.

A strong, well differentiated brand will make growing your firm much easier. But what type of firm do you want? Are you planning to grow organically? Your overall business strategy is the context for your brand development strategy, so that’s the place to start. If you are clear about where you want to take your firm, your brand will help you get there.

2. Identify your target clients.

Who are your target clients? If you say “everybody” you are making a very big mistake. Our research clearly shows that high growth, high profit firms are focused on having clearly defined target clients. The narrower the focus, the faster the growth. The more diverse the target audience, the more diluted your marketing efforts will be. So how do you know if you have chosen the right target client group? That’s where the next step comes in.

3. Research your target client group.

Research helps you understand your target client’s perspective and priorities, anticipate their needs and put your message in language that resonates with them. It also tells you how they view your firm’s strengths and your current brand. As such, it dramatically lowers the marketing risk associated with brand development.

Brand Development - The Impact of Research on Firm Growth and Profitability

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4. Develop your brand positioning.

You are now ready to determine your firm’s brand positioning within the professional services marketplace (also called market positioning). How is your firm different from others and why should potential clients within your target audience choose to work with you?

A positioning statement is typically three to five sentences in length and captures the essence of your brand positioning. It must be grounded in reality, as you will have to deliver on what you promise. It must also be a bit aspirational so you have something to strive for.

5. Develop your messaging strategy.

Your next step is a messaging strategy that translates your brand positioning into messages to your various target audiences. Your target audiences typically include potential clients, potential employees, referral sources or other influencers and potential partnering opportunities, to name a few of the usual suspects.

While your core brand positioning must be the same for all audiences, each audience will be interested in different aspects of it. The messages to each audience will emphasize the most relevant points. Each audience will also have specific concerns that must be addressed, and each will need different types of evidence to support your messages. Your messaging strategy should address all of these needs. This is an important step in making your brand relevant to your target audiences.

6. Develop your name, logo and tagline.

For many firms, a name change is not required. But if you are a new firm, are undergoing a merger or are burdened with a name that no longer suits your positioning, a name change may be in order. Even if you don’t change your firm name, a new logo and tagline may make sense to better support your brand positioning.

And don’t make the mistake of showing the new logo around internally to get a consensus. The name, logo and tagline are not for you. They are for your marketplace and should be judged on how well they communicate, not how much the partners like them.

7. Develop your content marketing strategy.

Why? Content marketing is particularly well suited to professional services firms in the Internet age. It does all things traditional marketing does but it does them more efficiently. It uses valuable educational content to attract, nurture and qualify prospects.

Remember that your brand strength is driven by both reputation and visibility. Increasing visibility alone, without strengthening your reputation, is rarely successful. That’s why traditional “awareness-building” advertising or sponsorships so often yield disappointing results. On the other hand, content marketing increases both visibility and reputation at the same time. It is also the perfect way to make your brand relevant to your target audiences. Case closed.

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8. Develop your website.

Your website is your single most important brand development tool. It is the place where all your audiences turn to learn what you do, how you do it and who your clients are. Prospective clients are not likely to choose your firm solely based on your website. But they may well rule you out if your site sends the wrong message.

Brand Building 101: How to Build a Brand

What is a Brand Identity?

Brand identity is not one specific aspect of a business. It’s comprised of multiple factors, such as company values, communication style, product offerings, logos, color palettes, and more. All of these elements help portray your brand to the outside world. But the world’s perception of those factors ultimately becomes your brand identity.

The McDonald’s identity starts with the golden arches. But it’s much more than that. What do you think of when you see that logo or hear the name? Some of you might think of Ronald McDonald. Others imagine the tastes and smell of a Big Mac and fries.

Regardless of what you think of, specifically, McDonald’s has established a global brand. Everyone knows exactly what to expect from this company; they are the epitome of a fast food chain.

10 Tips To Help You Build A Successful Small Business Brand

A brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and potential customers have with your company. A strong brand communicates what your company does, how it does it, and at the same time, establishes trust and credibility. Your brand lives in everyday interactions with your customers, the images you share, the messages you post on your website, the content of your marketing materials, and in your posts on social networks.

1. Be unique. One of the most iconic brands of our time – Apple – was reborn after it launched, in 1997, an innovative campaign inviting people to “Think Different”. Today, Apple products are perceived to be better designed, more fun, and more reliable than products from Apple’s competitors. What makes your business unique? What’s your story? What do you do that others in your industry do not do?

2. Grow your community. Many of the world’s best brands, including Google, Amazon, Facebook, Virgin, and Skype, spend modest sums on advertising and instead, focus on building and improving their communities. Those companies understand that if people trust a brand’s community, they will extend trust to the brand.

Small businesses have many opportunities to build online and offline communities. For example, you can build online communities on Twitter, Facebook, your small business blog, on Instagram, or on other social networks. And remember that you can’t be in all places at once. Pick one or two places where you can focus building your community, and invest your time and resources there.

3. Build great products and services. Earlier this year, market research firm Millward Brown published its annual BrandZ study, ranking the world’s leading brands. When you consider that the number one reason people write about brands is to share experiences (see graphic below from the BrandZ study), Apple’s top ranking is not surprising – people love Apple’s products.

Some companies stop focusing on building great products and services when they become successful. This is a mistake. In 2008, Nokia was the world’s ninth most valuable brand. In 2011, Nokia was ranked 81st and this year, it fell even further. Even a strong brand will suffer when it creates average or below average products or services.

4. Have a good name and logo. A strong brand is easily recognizable. Recognition starts with the name of your business. The name will appear on your business cards, letterhead, website, social networks, promotional materials, products, and pretty much everywhere in print and online to identify your company or your company’s products and/or services.

It’s not enough to have a recognizable name. People commonly associate brands with the brand’s logo. As you think about your logo, keep your audience and products/services in mind because you want your logo to reflect your company. A good logo builds trust and a strong logo will help to pull your brand together. Think about the logos of some of the world’s most admired brands (Apple, Google, Amazon). How do you feel (emotionally) when you see their logos?

5. Find your voice. What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice?

6. Be consistent. Many small businesses mistakenly change their messaging depending on their audience. For example, a company might take a more serious tone on their website but a very lighthearted tone on their Facebook fan page. This can confuse your customers and potential customers. To build and maintain a strong brand, every aspect of your brand should be as good as your product or service and you must be consistent in presenting your brand. This includes not only your company’s name, logo, overall aesthetic design, products and services, but also includes your marketing materials, website, appearances at trade shows and conferences, content posted to social networks, etc.

Many of you recall that Duct Tape Marketing recently redesigned its website to better and more effectively communicate with customers and potential customers. The old site was cluttered and at times, confusing. A cleaner design and greater consistency resulted in significant benefits.

7. Keep your promises. Although this is common sense, you’d be surprised how many small businesses tarnish relationships with their customers by failing to keep their promises. Happy customers who feel good about your business are your best source of referrals. For example, Zappos has built great trust and credibility with customers by promising quick delivery (2-5 business days) but Zappos goes even further and upgrades most customers to free overnight shipping. As a result, Zappos has very loyal and zealous customers.

8 Examples of Successful Brand-Building Strategies

1. Apple

Screenshot of Apple website

Apple’s iconic logo is widely recognized worldwide as a staple in the electronic device industry, and it’s one of the most successful brands to date. Most people instantly associate the successful brand with high-quality devices, innovative features, and sleek modern design.

Apple targets customers who share the same values. The brand knowingly highlights the specific features and qualities their customer base expects – simplicity, reliability, and ease of use.

If you go to Apple’s website and navigate to their product section, you will notice that the company mostly leaves fixed prices out of their branding – you need to click on a separate button to see the cost of the product. Apple wants customers to focus on the value and the benefits of their products instead.

2. Gucci

Screenshot of Gucci Online Store

Gucci is a top fashion brand name known for its luxurious, high-quality fashion items, including handbags, clothes, shoes, and other accessories. Its primary target is high-income consumers with a unique and expensive fashion style.

The brand is known for its high-quality craftsmanship and authenticity. Gucci still stays true to its image, which focuses on sophistication, prestige, and high-quality products even with the growing numbers of more affordable fashion brands and competitors.

The fashion name’s brand strategy makes them especially popular among influencers, celebrities, and fashionistas. Thanks to its prestige and exclusivity, Gucci has generated a loyal following that will purchase its newest products as soon as they come out.

3. Starbucks

Screenshot of Starbucks drinks page on the website

Even when their customers travel to a foreign country, they can easily find a Starbucks store and get their regular orders. This has resulted in a convenient and trustworthy image of the brand.

Despite charging more than most regular coffee shops, the brand has a large and loyal following. Their followers are mostly Millennials who are willing to pay for premium coffee.

4. Dollar Shave Club

Screenshot of Dollar Shave Club homepage

It’s a subscription-based service that delivers premium shaving blades and other grooming essentials to their customers’ doorsteps. Dollar Shave Club grew to its current popularity through its iconic and humorous video advertising campaign.

Through the casual and humorous presentation featured in their marketing campaign, Dollar Shave Club captured the attention of customers who were dissatisfied with the grooming industry.

5. McDonald’s

Screenshot of McDonald

McDonald’s is one of the biggest fast-food chains to date. It’s famously known for its affordable, fast food that caters to almost any age group. McDonald’s also maintains the same distinctive brand logo in every country it operates in, making their establishments and products easily recognizable.

Throughout its operation, McDonald’s has managed to find creative ways to cater to its global audience by adapting to different cultures. They have specialized menu items in select countries that emphasize local culture and cuisine preferences.

For example, in India, where most people don’t eat beef products, the brand has exchanged beef products for chicken, fish, and vegetables instead. This cultural understanding is what makes McDonald’s one of the top global brands in the world.

6. Tesla

Screenshot of Tesla website

Today’s electric vehicle industry is most commonly associated with the iconic Tesla brand. The company is known for its innovative and futuristic electric cars that are only available online.

While some consumers might think that Tesla’s decision to give up car dealerships is an odd choice, the brand has only gained popularity due to this. The brand strategy, in this case, focuses on prestige, uniqueness, and quality rather than accessibility.


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