The ultimate guide to branding for beginners

In technical terms, a brand is defined as a set of features that differentiates one company from the other. However, the influence of a brand extends beyond this simple definition. This is why Starbucks is not just an ordinary chain of coffeehouses or Apple any regular technology company. Hence, the buzz for branding.

Businesses are aware of the immense power that a unique and well-received brand identity can have on the growth of their enterprise. A glance at the current market scenario can explain the importance of creating an outstanding brand identity. Consequently, businesses put exceptional efforts and creativity to closely align their brand identity and brand image. This is what branding is concerned with.

What is Branding?

Branding refers to the process of conducting research, and then consequently developing and applying a set of unique features to an organisation. This like every other business strategy is done to attract consumers.  But the greater aim is to allow customers to identify the brand with your products or services for the long run.

Considering that branding can be a major factor that influences the final purchasing decision, it’s a significant process for every organisation. The task can be extremely difficult. However, we make this process easier for you with a stepwise guide and effective tips to branding for beginners:

Discovering your brand’s purpose

Before taking any step further in building your business, it’s important to answer and be very clear about one question: Why did you create your business?

The answer to this is crucial as it will build your mission statement. Consequently, it defines your purpose as an organisation. Building a business is a time-consuming and demanding venture. But asking some critical questions like this can serve as motivation during challenging times.

However, the most important reason to have a mission and vision is to communicate the same to your customers. Having clarity about the purpose will be reflected in every step you take in the significant branding process. Additionally, this gives people a reason to care about your brand and organisation. This further allows them to decide their response as a customer in the market.

Deciding your target customer

Building and running a business is testing. It’s often considered a ‘gamble’. But branding can help to create awareness, trust and consequently generate revenue. In simpler words, the risk can be minimized and a customer base can be formed with branding. However, all this requires you to know the ‘who’, i.e. your ideal customer.

A target market research is necessary to determine your target audience. Knowing the demographics of your ideal customers can be a key to unlock your growth. These demographics can include the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education and qualifications
  • Employment
  • Lifestyle and the struggles

Knowledge about your potential customer can, in turn, allow you to make your branding decisions and make them your actual customer. Hence, building a brand will become easier provided you can put yourself in their shoes which requires you to know the ‘who’.

Establishing your strengths, qualities, and values

The process of branding is almost like self-discovery as it enables one organization to dig deep and find itself. Your brand is that significant asset that’s completely unique and original. This calls for you to define the values, strengths, and qualities that set your brand apart.

Creating your brand with visual and verbal elements

As discussed above, comprehensive knowledge about your business from its purpose to the ideal customer determines the branding process. This gives direction to how to build your business including the brand elements like logo, typography, iconography, colour palette, etc.

This step involves choosing the words that you use for the name of your business, tagline,  and the “brand promise”.

 

The ultimate guide to branding for beginners
Image source: Peterspann

A psychology principle applied in marketing that becomes crucial here is the psychology of colour. According to this principle, colour evokes different emotions in people, like blue signifies trust. Different colours used in marketing determine the way people value a business. As a result, marketers apply this principle to benefit their enterprise.

Employing your branding strategy

After creating a brand strategy, it’s important to execute the same carefully and correctly. This applies to every platform or medium where the brand contacts or communicates with the customers. So listed below are some tips for different mediums:

Website

A website is an official identity that exists in the public domain. Considering its significant part in forming company identity, it must reflect the brand. In order to provide a smooth and satisfactory customer experience, make sure that every content on the website matches your brand voice.

Packaging

While most businesses focus on the larger aspects of branding, the packaging is missed out. However, considering it’s the most real way a customer interacts with a brand, even packaging should reflect the branding.

Social Media

Social Media has become the modern way of communication. Brands can use this space to have a friendly interaction with customers and expand their customer base. Before posting such content, brands must ensure that their page reflects their brand identity. For example, brands should use their logo as their profile photo. This can help customers to recognise your business and distinguish it from your competitors.

Important tips for branding

Branding is a process that must be carried out carefully. Two things that must be taken care of are:

Focus on consistency

Inconsistency is a branding mistake as it misleads your customers. Consistency is a sign of a valuable and strong organisation. Hence, a  brand that prioritises consistency, benefits from it.  A similar presence across all platforms makes it easy for customers to recognise your brand and eventually prefer the same.

Forming and following a brand strategy

An organisation should build a brand strategy with long-term goals. However, the strategy should be flexible enough to incorporate new trends or demands.

Summing Up

Branding is not a simple process. But building and running a business have always been a challenge. While branding can aid to grow your business, we at Shaktiki can help instil growth through our expertise in marketing.

Contact Shaktiki for all your marketing solutions.

 

 

 

Why is an online presence key to business growth?

Do you run a business and want it to grow? Yes, indeed every entrepreneur aims to run a successful business and take it to new heights. This goal requires one to constantly work on improving various strategies. The secret to simplifying everything is to study your ‘consumer’. Most importantly, aligning your goals with your customer’s expectations and needs can be the ultimate way to your success. This is why it is important to take your business to the digital sphere and work on its online presence.

Combine the stats given below (for the UK):

In 2019, 87% of UK households had internet access, with 82% of people using home broadband and 70% using a 4G mobile service.”

“81% of people search online for a product or service.”

“82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.”

Use these figures to answer the subsequent questions that are very critical for your business. Where are your customers? In addition to this, where are they looking for the products that you have to offer? Where are they getting feedback about your business? The answer is online.

A similar scenario is seen everywhere. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, online stores like BigBasket and Grofers released a message online. It stated that the company faced a sharp increase in demand and consequently they had to limit their operations. This shows how a significant proportion of consumers have started engaging in e-commerce.

While opening a new store, everyone considers the best locality that can help their business flourish. It’s about time to reconsider this question. A business goes where the customers are. Currently, they are online and looking for products there. So you need to shift where they are. However, this is just one of many reasons to have an online presence for your business.

How will an online presence help your business?

It is indeed true that your customers are online and so you need to take your business there. Moreover, the digital sphere offers several benefits to a business, as listed below:

Digital age

We are living in a digital age and the coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly brought a digital revolution. Consumers search for products or services on the internet. Additionally, they also look for reviews online. Placing your business here will attract them and make their shopping experience very comfortable. If you do not establish your business here, then the opportunity will land on your competitors. Hence, a lack of online presence means losing many opportunities while also having almost no presence in the market. Because the market is where the customer is.

Business open for 365 days a year

How many hours can you keep your store open? There’s a limit till which you can keep you can work in the store. But essentially your business doesn’t have to stop just because you need to relax. This is what the digital medium makes possible.

With an online presence, your customers can shop anytime and from anywhere. Hence, situating your business online can extend the business hours and allow you to showcase every single day of the year.

Massive audience

A brick and mortar store is located at a specific location. Not every customer can afford to visit it. Whereas business on the web allows a larger audience that extends beyond any geographical location. This means an increase in business opportunities irrespective of borders. Hence, giving immense scope to expand the business.

Building your brand

A physical store limits the growth of your brand as it denies the possibility of building your brand. Whereas people today want to know more about what they purchase. The market is full of aware consumers who associate their brands with their values. In order to establish these values and strengthen your image, the online medium provides numerous opportunities. This impressive identity or online presence can help you earn credibility. Consequently, more consumers will be attracted every day and thus your business will constantly expand.

Positive image

Provided the vast options in a digital environment, a brand has numerous ways of interacting with customers. Increased engagement can also be a way to get valuable feedback from customers. Continuous efforts to improve online presence translates to friendly relations between a brand and its customers through a positive image. Consequently, this will turn into profits. Simultaneously, such efforts can increase brand loyalty and expansion of customer base.

Quality reviews

Any business today cannot underestimate the importance of reviews. According to research, 91 per cent of people either regularly or occasionally check online reviews. Additionally, 84 per cent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Other than this, 68 per cent of them form an opinion after reading 1-6 online reviews. These statistics establish the significance of online reviews in modern commerce.

Why does your business need an online presence?

In this scenario, an online presence can allow people to give feedback. Similarly, others can use these reviews to form an impression of the brand. This converts to purchasing decision. However, these positive reviews require quality content on the internet.

Constructive marketing solution

The traditional forms of marketing like advertisements in print, radio, television or billboard are very expensive ways of marketing. Such methods are not viable for local or small businesses. Whereas the digital sphere provides a free space to market products or services.

Why does your business need an online presence?

Interesting and relevant content can strongly impact purchasing decisions and attract a large number of customers. It can ignite conversations and create loyal group of consumers as illustrated here:

Increase in accessibility

In the modern economy, both small and large businesses need to have a strong web presence. Because a brand absent from the digital environment is almost non-existent in the competitive commerce world. Dynamic search algorithms and strong social networks are influential when it comes to locating businesses on the web. Consumers access search engines to gain information and a strong presence here can determine the course of your business.

Summing up

The need to turn from brick to click mode of business is well established. However, this online presence is not limited to just a website. While websites are necessary to inform the customers about the brand, the current competition requires more than that.

Every brand today needs Search Engine Optimisation to be actually known on the web. But most importantly, one needs content because indeed it is the king. The increasing competition in content creation can be managed with purpose-driven marketing. So, contact us at Shaktiki for creating your strong online presence. 

How to build your brand identity in 2021?

Why is setting up and running a business one of the most difficult tasks?

While a company never interacts with its customers directly, it is these customers who need to be served in the best possible manner. A single poor experience of a product or service can cause a loss of not only one but many customers. 

A negative review can reach many people when an unsatisfied customer shares their experience with those around them. Most importantly, the highly connected digital world can carry that negative review to millions in seconds. This doesn’t mean that the company has no say about themselves.

When a company manages to communicate its idea and beliefs with a different type of interaction, that is what we can call their ‘brand’. To understand this interaction, one has to understand what we call ‘brand identity’ and ‘brand image’.

What is the brand identity?

It refers to the visible elements of a brand. These elements include its name, design, logo, colour, etc. A company’s efforts to create a good brand identity can be understood as their efforts to identify and distinguish their own brand from others in the customer’s minds. In simpler words, brand identity is how an organization seeks to identify itself and wants to be perceived in the larger market. These branding and marketing strategies communicate an organization’s identity to the consumers. In short, a brand is unique due to its identity. 

Building your brand identity in 2021

Brand identity can also be summed as mental and functional associations with the brand. However, it’s important to understand that these associations are not mere reasons to buy.

But they actually provide a certain familiarity while differentiating themselves (from their competitors) in order to avoid the chances of being replicable. For instance, these associations can be trademark colours like blue for Pepsi, or a tagline like Apple’s – “Think different”.

In this manner, brand identity becomes a total proposal or promise that an organisation offers to consumers. It is an organisation’s personality and mission. Additionally, it serves as a feature linked with a particular company, product, service or individual. Then it becomes a medium of expressing and presenting a brand to the world.

What is the brand image?

Brand image is a distinct term in the sense that it refers to the current view of the customers about a particular brand. In contrast to brand identity, these are a distinctive bundle of associations within the minds of the customers. It denotes what the brand currently stands for, like its set of beliefs. 

Furthermore, it informs how the brand is positioned in the market. In short, it is an organisation’s character that conveys emotional value. While it is also important that it highlights the organisation’s mission and vision. 

Consumers develop various associations with the brand. It is the culmination of these associations that form an overall impression called ‘brand image’.

The concept behind brand image is that a consumer is not only investing in a product or service but also the image associated with the same. Hence, the brand image should be positive and unique. Branding and marketing efforts of a company significantly influence the resulting brand image. 

Exploring the benefits

The various associations in a consumer’s mind for the brand image are attributes and benefits. The former is the functional and mental connections that a customer has with the brand. They can be anything particular or specific. In this way, brand attributes are the overall assessment of a brand. 

On the other hand, benefits are the rationale behind the purchasing decision. These benefits can be grouped into three: Functional, emotional and rational. 

Functional benefits answer what does the organisation do better than others. While emotional benefits serve the question of how does the organisation’s product or service make a customer feel better than others. The rational benefits answer why does the customer believe in that brand more than others. 

Differentiating between brand image and brand identity

The two concepts are a significant part of a brand. However, these are actually different but interconnected concepts. 

Brand identity represents the desire of the brand. This is because it is the way that a company wants consumers to perceive itself. On the other hand, the brand image represents the views of others about the brand. It is the way consumers perceive the company. Brand identity is active in nature as it is a company’s hand to establish it, while the brand image is passive because it can’t be controlled. In conclusion, both the terms are two sides of the same coin. However, both are essential to define the success of a brand in the market. 

Improving your brand identity

An organisation with a unique identity has better brand awareness than its competitors. This creates a motivated team of employees who feel proud of working in a valued organisation. 

On the other end, it leads to brand loyalty, brand preference and high credibility. As a result, a company is able to fix good prices and gain good financial returns. It establishes an instant bond between the organisation and its consumers. Maintaining and building this connection serves as a great medium for the company to foster growth. 

For example, Apple Inc. always tops surveys of the most effective and beloved brands. This is because the company has worked hard in creating its impression as an innovative and premium brand. It is these efforts that have closely aligned Apple’s brand identity and brand image.

Building your brand identity in 2021

Hence, Apple with its loyal and expanding customer base is consistently one of the most profitable brands in the world. 

Digital solutions in the digital world

In the wake of coronavirus, consumer behaviour has significantly changed. Consumers get influenced to make their purchasing choice with the digital presence of the brand. Every organisation is a participant in the digital race today. This again creates a tension to form a unique identity. What one needs in priority is engaging and relevant content. Creating empathy through purpose-driven marketing can also attract an audience. So it is high time to take your brand to new heights with digital marketing in 2021.

Get in touch with us today to find out know more.

Why should purpose-driven marketing be every company’s mantra?

Imagine you are walking across an aisle with breakfast cereals displayed from different brands. The price of each box is almost the same. However, one brand promises to donate a certain amount of their profit to a social cause like animal welfare or sustainable development. So which box will end up in your shopping cart? This is the base of purpose-driven marketing.

Every customer in the market today is also an aware human being. In recent decades, there has been a growing consciousness among the masses regarding the need to be a more vocal and active citizen in the community. People want to adopt engaging roles while being a part of something bigger.

Knowing your customer

Everyone today is driven to connect, grow and ultimately make a significant impact in society. The fact that every customer would pick a cereal brand that supports a good cause defines a modern customer’s values. As a result, companies need to understand the larger meaning of the word ‘customer’.

They are not mere buyers but also people who are passionate about causes and aware of their social responsibility. Hence, this new customer in the market demands a new approach from brands. In this modern social scenario, purpose-driven marketing comes to rescue!

Understanding purpose-driven marketing

Purpose-driven marketing is a type of marketing that ensures that a brand connects with its audience. It supports the causes that they both believe in. It is usually a long term strategy that involves aligning a brand’s message with the customer’s belief. Consequently, a customer will support that brand as they share a common purpose and aim towards a greater good.

The cause may not be very specific and this type of marketing can be more aspirational but the core of the business then focuses on giving back to society. Additionally, it enables constructing a narrative for your brand. However, what one also does in this process is that they create a personal connection with those on the other end, i.e. the customers.

Developing consumer loyalty

It breaks down the wall between the company and the customer. Following this, the resulting image is that of a people’s brand rather than a firm which only serves as a profit-making machine. The consumers then develop loyalty toward such brands as it grants them the power to bring a change only by shifting their purchasing power. However, if you think that purpose-driven marketing can only create a good brand image then one must understand the entire process that follows realigning your company with a purpose.

Statistics have revealed the real power of purpose-driven marketing and the idea behind it.

Firstly, 88% of consumers want to know the real impact of the brands they are supporting. Secondly, 70% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand which supports a good cause to their known circle. Most importantly, 63% of global consumers prefer purchasing products and services from purpose-driven brands rather than their counterparts.

Marketing that matters

The authenticity of these statistics and success of brands can be easily checked if you look at the most successful brands around you. For instance, Adidas’s purpose-driven marketing efforts focused on the ocean plastic epidemic. The brand produced a video which takes a viewer on a journey where they first take a deep dive and find how the plastics collected in oceans severely affect their ecosystem.

Adidas effectively realigned the cause to their brand. They turned the problem into a solution with their new range of high-performance sportswear made out of plastic.

The lesson derived from Adidas’s story is that the supporting cause becomes a crucial part of your brand narrative. Consequently, it determines the people who will support, buy and invest in their brand and business.

Similarly, Dove elevated from being just a soap manufacturer to an authentic brand with its #speakbeautiful movement.

Portraying beauty as more than something related to superficial appearance, the campaign centered on improving the self-esteem of its customers, mostly women.

In this case, Dove became a credible brand while creating an intimate connection with its consumers. This honesty lies in the core values of purpose-based marketing. Consequently, customers appreciate such responsible brands. It is evident from the fact that purpose-driven companies grow three-times faster than their competitors. This proves that this type of marketing always works.

Optimising purpose-driven content marketing

Purpose-driven content marketing is an excellent technique to include in your marketing strategy. This type of content differs from any regular content in its larger aim. The marketing materials remain the same such as blogs, social media posts, videos, etc. But the definition of content marketing is changed as they are not ‘sales-y’. Rather they provide the consumers with a solution with their products and services.

The designed content also distributes certain noble values. The relevance of content is also taken care of. In this manner, the content attracts a larger audience. Additionally, the motive is to refrain from being spammy. The basic idea behind this is to make the audience, who are the potential customer, to complete an action after consuming the content. In simpler terms, this action is availing the services or purchasing the product from a particular brand.

Transforming the brand narrative

Purpose-driven content marketing acts as a strategy that is better planned and tailored to the special needs of a brand’s target customers. It creates a bond over common interests. The brand then becomes an example and flagbearer for a good cause. On the contrary, it may educate the audience who will feel happy to be connected to the brand. Hence, a brand narrative builds strong loyalty among the customer base.

Every company knows the value of a loyal customer group. But in a digitised world, the value of such a base has significantly increased. But how?

With a brand narrative at heart, the potential customers are immediately transformed into enthusiastic brand ambassadors. This means that the audience shares the purpose-driven content multiplies the reach of the brand. In conclusion, purpose-driven content marketing forms a unique brand identity from any other competitors in the market.

And, this is what we do at Shaktiki – pave your success story!

Get in touch with us today to find out know more.