You need a great brand that your customers can get behind – and a strong brand promise that resonates with the values of your audience. But how do you get there – what brand-building strategies can help you level up your business in a big way?
Take a look at 21 suggestions you can use as you optimize the brand development process and boost your brand marketing strategy.
Develop a brand personality that resonates with your target audience
Your brand personality is the intangible identity of your brand – the feeling people get when interacting with your company. Generally, this personality will differ between industries and sectors.
An innovative food services provider might have a fun and energetic personality, while a B2C marketing firm might want to project reassuring professionalism.
However, individual brand personalities will differ, too. By getting to know what your target audiences want to see – and understanding what they engage with – you can set yourself apart from your competitors and build a brand that really connects with your audience.
Build this personality into your visual identity, brand voice, and messaging to achieve consistency.
Create a brand story that engages and inspires your customers
When making a one-off purchase, customers might not be so bothered about the history of the company they choose. However, this becomes more important when they foster longer-term relationships with an organization. This is why crafting your story is such an important brand building strategy.
Let your customers get to know your narrative. How did you build your business? What changes have you made over the years? What are your core values and principles?
Choose elements that you think will inspire and engage. Think about adversities and obstacles you’ve overcome and a mission you and your ideal customers and leads share. Start with a brand positioning statement that helps you and your team get to grips with the value your brand offers, and use this as you build your narrative.
Use consistent branding across all marketing channels and touchpoints
We’ve talked a little about consistency in the section on brand personality, but you need to achieve this throughout your brand development strategies.
Whenever your customers interact with your business, they need to experience consistency in branding – not exactly the same messaging and imagery, but something that shares the same voice and visual style, something that is really you.
You can achieve this visually with your brand colors. You can also accomplish this more fundamentally by ensuring your brand values are represented across all channels and points of contact.
As the marketing landscape grows more diverse, you’ll need to work harder to make your brand consistent. Ensure your brand’s message is represented across physical and digital media, all customer devices and operating systems, and all your marketing channels and points of sale.
Build a strong brand reputation through customer reviews and testimonials
Which would you prefer as a customer – a business that recommends itself or a business with recommendations from customer reviews and testimonials? It’s probably going to be the latter.
This is an essential part of brand building. You can only tell your customers so much – eventually, you have to show them what you can do, providing proof through independent and organic customer feedback. Gaining positive reviews helps you create a strong brand reputation, giving your brand the solid foundation it needs as you develop it further.
This might seem like a passive brand development strategy, but it’s not. If you actively provide excellent products, service, and customer experiences, you will reap great reviews and testimonials as a result.
Establish your brand as an industry leader through thought leadership content
You started your organization because you’re passionate about your field. You’ve learned much about this sector over your time in your industry. Passing this passion and knowledge on to your customers can be a great way to push your brand ahead of the competition.
These days, Google favors content that meets the E.E.A.T. principles – Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. If you can craft valuable content for your audience, offering strategic insights with references and links that help you meet these three guidelines, you will become known as a thought leader in your field.
This is vital to brand building and helps establish you as someone who knows what they are talking about. More often than not, customers will choose the knowledgeable sage over a competitor with unproven credentials.
Leverage social media to build brand awareness and engagement
Social media marketing is nothing new, and your business is probably already active on several platforms. However, the social media landscape is changing, and you must ensure you leverage these channels optimally.
Consider your target demographic’s social media channels and focus on these. Think about which types of posts you want to use for each social channel – images, video, or live broadcasts, for example.
Balance organic posting with paid social media advertising as you maximize engagement. Become part of the conversation, speaking with your audience directly while keeping your brand values in mind – this is a beneficial way of building the brand personality we mentioned earlier.
Utilize an influencer marketing plan to amplify your brand message
Brand positioning is at the heart of what makes an influencer a real influencer. These individuals have strong brands, so they can strengthen your brand, too, but only if you use this method of digital marketing in the right way.
To begin with, choose an influencer whose audience aligns with your own brand – whether this audience is seeking fashion and beauty tips, auto part recommendations, or something more niche.
It’s also essential to think about sincerity. The best influencers are trusted by their audience, and they promote products they like rather than simply working with any brands that pay them.
Building an organic relationship with an influencer by offering great products and fantastic service is an exceptional way to achieve success with influencer marketing.
Host events or sponsor events to build brand recognition
Events add a sense of timeliness and community to the brand. By timeliness, we mean the event takes place over a specific period so attendees experience the brand more urgently and immediately.
If you ask your leads to take action, they might put it off until tomorrow, but they can’t do this with an event.
By community, we are referring to the shared experience. It’s natural for humans to want to be part of something and enjoy a moment that others are enjoying. This FOMO aspect – or fear of missing out – can enhance your brand building strategy by encouraging your leads to get involved.
Whether you host the event yourself or simply sponsor another, this can be a valuable way to reinforce brand recognition.
Use packaging design to enhance brand recognition and appeal
Of course, the quality of your product is crucial, and this will help you bolster your brand reputation. But the packaging and presentation of this product is important too. This packaging should reinforce a strong visual identity for your brand, including all of the colors and design touches that are unique to your organization.
The nature of the packaging is also something to consider, and this needs to fit with your brand values.
For example, your audience might want sustainable, recyclable packaging without excessive materials. Or, they might need something that is ergonomically designed, with carry handles and other practical elements to improve their experience.
All of this feeds into customers’ impressions of your company, boosting your brand appeal.
Implement a referral program to encourage word-of-mouth marketing
Have you ever told a friend or family member about a great experience you had with a brand? You probably have, but there may be other times when you wanted to tell someone about a great experience but forgot to do so.
The same thing is happening with your brand. Some of your customers share positive vibes about your company, while others keep it to themselves.
A referral program pushes more customers into the former category. Offering rewards, discounts, and bonuses for customers who refer other customers is a great way to bring in more leads. But it also encourages your customers to get vocal about how good your brand is.
Word-of-mouth marketing is among the most effective brand-building strategies, and referrals help you reap the maximum benefit.
Offer exceptional customer service to build brand loyalty
As you’ve probably noticed while looking at the earlier points in this article, a comprehensive brand strategy is about more than just a professional image and a smart logo design. It’s about the overall customer experience when they shop with your organization.
This experience hinges on the customer service you provide.
Consumers have a lot of choices in the market, and the only way to build real brand loyalty is to show your customers you are there for them.
Provide resources that answer common customer questions and queries and make it easy for your users to reach out to your support teams. Back this up with swift delivery times, an easy returns policy, and transparent pricing, and develop a strong foundation of loyal brand advocates.
Create branded content such as videos, infographics, and eBooks to educate and entertain your audience
An effective brand strategy needs to be balanced. In other words, you need to both educate and entertain your audience with your content. Yes, your media content must look professional and communicate your brand identity and values. But it also needs to be substantial and informative, meeting your customers’ needs.
Think about what these needs are. Customers may need a brief ‘how-to’ video to help set up your product. Or maybe your consumers need something longer – an eBook, for example, that helps them get the best out of your products and services.
Choose the medium for your content, communicate the key information and crucial points, and present all of this in an exciting and interesting way for your audience.
Use email marketing to nurture customer relationships and promote brand loyalty
Email marketing is not just about sending promotional emails – it’s about nurturing leads and customers through a step-by-step journey to conversion and retention. In this sense, emails are essential to your brand building strategy.
Emails will contain all the visual elements and messaging that make up your brand identity and foster positive connections with your target audience.
Audience segmentation is important here. Ensure you send the right messages to leads and customers at different stages of the funnel, giving them the gentle encouragement they need to move on to the next phase. The aim is to build a lasting relationship, turning a one-off customer into a loyal repeat client.
Engage with your audience through live chats and interactive features on your website
You can only give your audience the thing they want if you know what that thing is. Engagement and connection are valuable in understanding your audience’s needs, and reaching out to your customers provides helpful insight that you can use as you build your brand. Live chat functions and interactive features offer more opportunities for connection and communication.
Let’s say a customer visits your website with a specific query in mind. They need help finding the answer they seek, but they don’t have time to call your support team. Instead, they click the live chat box to get the needed information.
Then, you gain insight into where your website can be improved. Pop-up forms and surveys are also helpful in data capture, providing more information that you can use as you deliver the best experience for each visitor.
Optimize your website and landing pages for a seamless user experience
Google expects your website to be smooth and stable. This is why they launched their Core Web Vitals framework, rewarding websites that open quickly, respond swiftly to user actions, and remain stable for a user visit.
Why is this so important to Google? Because it’s such a big part of the user experience when they click on a website. Ensure you optimize your website and landing pages, streamlining the code and removing unnecessary elements that could slow the page down. Test your website across various devices to ensure a consistent visitor experience, and place your key brand messaging above the fold for straightforward access.
Remember, a great experience is comprehensive. Every aspect of your brand needs to support a seamless, friction-free experience for leads and customers, including your online presence.
Utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to increase brand visibility in search engines
We’ve touched on two important aspects of search engine optimization above – Google’s E.E.A.T. and Core Web Vitals frameworks. These are certainly important, but you’ll also need to look at other areas of SEO, as your search engine position has a significant influence on your brand.
It’s influential for two reasons. One – it makes your brand more visible to users browsing specific search terms. Two – it demonstrates that you know what you’re doing, with the SEO capabilities required to feature highly in search. This is great for reinforcing your brand.
Use the appropriate keywords, gain organic backlinks, and deliver valuable content while adhering to E.E.A.T. and Core Web Vitals. SEO benefits should follow.
Create partnerships with other brands or businesses to increase brand exposure
There is more to brand visibility and exposure than ranking highly on search engines. You can also gain this exposure by becoming associated with other high-ranking brands and businesses.
Although this is fundamentally different from influencer marketing, the principles are similar – you are developing your brand by exposing it to the audience of another.
Remember your underlying brand story and brand messaging here. The partner you choose must align with the narrative you have created, sharing those all-important values and points of identity.
You may also want to avoid partnering with direct competitors. Instead, form a relationship with a brand whose products and services complement your own.
Implement a loyalty program to reward repeat customers and build brand loyalty
A loyalty program is a helpful component of your branding strategy. We’ve already discussed how important it is to foster long-term relationships with customers, and this loyalty scheme acts as a valuable anchor that connects your brand with your audience.
Consider the value proposition of your loyalty program. What do your customers get from this program, and is this something they really want? Conduct market research to learn more about what customers are looking for when they join a program like this.
Ensure your loyal members gain genuine benefits when they sign up so that quality, value, and real advantages become synonymous with your brand.
Use customer feedback to improve your brand and customer experience
Who knows your customer experience the best? Who has the most valuable insight into the perception of your brand? In both cases, the answer is your customers themselves. So, gain the feedback you need.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews of your products. Provide a feedback box where they can offer tips and reflections on the overall customer experience. Ask customers directly what they think about your brand. This is all valuable information you can use to improve your brand value prop in the future.
Remember to take this feedback on board, listen to valid suggestions, and make necessary changes. Also, remember that not all customers will leave feedback by themselves – you may need to incentivize feedback with exclusive content and other perks.
Establish a mission and values that align with your audience’s values and beliefs
Having a business mission is great – a purpose that sets you apart from the rest. However, this mission has to be something your audience can buy into. Take the time to find out what your audience really cares about, and then craft your mission statement accordingly. We’ve touched on sustainability and convenience above, but other things may be important to your leads and prospects.
You will share many of these values and beliefs in many cases, so you won’t need to change your approach or do anything radically different. Instead, you’ll just need to make sure that you properly communicate what your mission is all about.
Draft robust brand guidelines
We’ve looked at some of the ways you can reach your target market and develop a strong brand, but you and your team need to remain consistent. For instance, your messaging strategy needs to align with your content marketing strategy, and all of your marketing efforts and brand strategies must be pulling in the same direction. But how is this done?
A great brand strategy framework is vital here – covering all of your brand guidelines. This is a central document, or a set of documents, that all your personnel can work from as they craft content, design new features, and create new products.
With solid guidelines in place, the brand development process becomes much more consistent, and ongoing brand management is made easier. You can always make changes in the future, but these guidelines serve as your brand’s foundation.
Build your brand building strategy toolkit
Your own business strategy is unique, and not all of these brand-building strategies are suitable for your organization. Take some time to know which strategies work best for you, develop your successful brand identity and promise, and deeply connect with customers. This is how you level up your business in a competitive market environment.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between brand identity and brand story?
Your brand identity is the personality and unique characteristics of your brand. Your brand story is the narrative of how your business was created and how your values were formed. Both are important to your overall marketing strategies.
Why is brand building so important?
Your current and potential customers need to know what sort of company they are dealing with, and they need to recognize this company whenever they encounter it. The brand building ensures this is the case, helping you stand apart in a competitive landscape.
How do you align brand values with customer values?
You first need to find out what those customer values are through market research and customer feedback. Then, you can ensure your brand is something these customers want to get on board with.