How to build a brand? Time, effort, consistency and loyalty to your customers. Put simply, a brand is the image you place in a persons head when your name is mentioned, or your logo is seen, a ‘feeling’ or ‘emotion’ that is provoked across a broad audience. A brand isn’t any one thing about your business, it’s not just ‘what you do’, it’s your business as a collective impression.
How to build a brand emotionally – tapping the touchy-feely core of your audience.
Customers can connect with your business on two levels. Rationally and emotionally. In the real world (or at least mine), Dyson is just a load of plastic with a big motor that sucks dirt. That’s the rational part of me looking at the item.
Now, how do you feel when I mention ‘Dyson’? I feel comforted; Dyson has become the watchword for efficiency and good construction, as well as customer service. This didn’t happen by accident; every tiny detail of this brand name has been constructed from the ground up to instil this emotion in me.
Knowing your brand audience – demographics
As a man, I find it truly difficult to get excited about a vacuum cleaner. You are more likely to find me on the pointless gadgets isle, wondering whether or not a tablet upgrade is a sound expense, or at the very least how I can make it look like fantastic value to my fiancee.
My other half can get halfway to orgasm by picking up a brand name food mixer. She’s household orientated. Non of the magazines I buy mention anything to do with cleaners, unless they’ve got the word ‘robotic’ appended to the front (at which point they become the Domain Of Men).
Flick through the average
Good Kitchen Slave Happy Homemaker Strong Independent Woman’s Weekly and that’s where you’ll see the Dyson adverts. Same on the TV – grind through half an hour of Downton Abbey and you’ll see more female related advertising than a Better-ware brochure.
Target acquired – the company knows who they are selling to and they know the sweet spot.
This example is merely one of many; try it yourself and do a little research. Brand names become famous because they became associated with an emotional response.
Reward your customers and reinforce brand.
If you’ve handled your branding with aplomb, you’ve gained yourself a ball of brand love-putty. This can be shaped and moulded in increments until the audience as a whole is eating out of your hand. Each customer that you’ve emotionally bought into the fold is a potential ambassador for your business, ready to share your nuggets of knowledge like the word of God.
It’s time to stroke that emotional attachment and play it like a fiddle; answer your customer questions, hand out the odd freebie, reward their loyalty even if it’s just a mention. To the customer you’re bending over backwards and snapping your own spine to please them, for you it may be a case of 20 seconds answering a query. People LOVE to think that they’ve became, if only for a few short seconds, the sole focus of your attention.
Encouraging brand loyalty in the 21st century
I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime on the web; it’s more than a little creepy to realise that up until 25 years ago the best you could hope for was a dodgy dial-up into solitary bulletin boards full of people with no friends and somewhat freakish world views. We’ve still got the freakish world views, but now we have instant access.
You have the greatest informational networking that man has ever known. Endless chances to share across social media, email (not mine, please!) and the 24/7 marketing megalomaniac that is a well made website.
Here’s a formula for you:
Emotionally attached customer x friends x sharing = exponential potential leads.
Not sure this works out in the real world (academic I am not), but the more emotionally charged your customer is, the more likely they are to share. The more they share, the more they communicate the emotional attachment that is your brand image. And…yada yada – people share stuff they think is worth sharing. I could of just said that and cut out the dodgy math with no numbers. But you get the drift.
Creating your brand with a mission statement
Building a brand online starts with a statement – what do you stand for? What values do you transfer to your customer? What can you provide over your competition? It all starts with asking the right questions, or in most cases, discerning the right questions after trial and error. Keep it jargon free.
Taking the obviously altruistic example of Google, who are definitely here to benefit mankind and of course aren’t in it to generate revenue or foist dodgy eyewear:
Wrong answer: ‘To redefine information accessibility and teach mankind’ – too broad, says nothing about the benefits offered, hyperbolic.
Right answer: ‘Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ Spot on, a simple statement of what they hope to achieve and offer.
As web developers who offer more than just web development, the message can be a little jumbled if you are not careful. You might offer web design, seo, social media management, commerce and a host of other services, but there should be one overriding purpose and message behind everything you do and a reason for potential customers to become attached to you.
If your mission statement looks self serving (and lets face it, we’re in business to make money, so in that sense we ARE self serving to some extent) you’ll lose your audience and never build a brand online in the first place. A simple statement would be ‘Helping small businesses get online affordably and boost exposure and revenue with professionalism’. That’s a great start.
Keeping your brand statement consistent
If you’ve come up with a well crafted brand statement, it should weather time and space itself and punch a hole through the very fabric of emotional reality. It should also be achievable, and consistent. You are sailing the good ship consistency and should never have to change it. Think of it as an umbrella term that covers everything you do, yet don’t make it so tightly constrictive that your business suffers for it. Remember, it’s an over-arching ‘feeling’ not a ‘we do this’ message. That’s how to build a brand.
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