Building a Strong Brand for Your Business & Why it’s More Important than Ever
To say that the past few years have been
challenging for business owners is somewhat of an understatement. Being an
entrepreneur is hard enough under normal circumstances but throw into the mix
Brexit, a global pandemic with enforced lockdowns, a war in Europe and the
resulting cost-of-living crisis, starting and growing a business is not for the
faint of heart.
Despite these monumental challenges, HMRC data
shows that more new businesses were created in March 2021 than in any other
month since records began in 1989. This shows that times of crisis, whilst they
are a struggle, also create entrepreneurial opportunities. Those willing to
take these opportunities can profit from the disruption and go on to run
How many of those businesses will last though, very much depends on more than just the economic situation. During periods of economic downturn, businesses must take measures to protect themselves so that they can emerge stronger on the other side.
One of the most important measures that any business can take is to build and maintain a strong brand that customers recognize and trust. Only by strengthening your brand proposition can you ensure that your customers will stick with you in bad times as well as good.
What is a Brand?
To build a strong brand, we must first understand what a brand is. For most people, when they hear the word brand they think of logos, catchphrases and certain colours. But a brand is much more than just a visual identity.
A brand is what you are known for. It is what your customers think, feel and say about your company. It is essentially your reputation, and this can be made stronger or weaker through every experience or interaction that you have with a customer.
Your brand is what helps your customers to work out who you are and what you stand for and whether this is in alignment with their own values.
What is Branding?
Whilst a brand refers to the overall experience a customer undergoes when interacting with your business, branding is the strategy used to create that experience. Branding makes a memorable impression on your consumers and lets them know exactly what they can expect from your company.
It will enable you to build trust with your customers, which is particularly important because it can convert your customers’ intention to buy into an actual purchase.
Strong branding is what gives your customers a reason to choose your products or services over the competition. Two businesses can offer the same products or services, but the branding is what will differentiate them and set them apart. Your branding is unique and gives your customers something to relate to and connect with.
Your brand is the foundation of your business and if you build it right and strengthen it, this is what will help your business to survive and thrive through periods of economic downturn and crisis.
How to Build a Strong Brand
To create a strong brand identity for your business, it is crucial that you understand your business, your motivations, your aspirations, and your trajectory.
Understanding Your Business
If you don’t understand who you are as a brand, nor will your potential customers and your business will suffer as a result. You need to work this out by looking at your motivations for starting your business in the first place. What problem were you trying to solve?
Gaining clarity over the purpose of your brand will help you to connect to your customers on an emotional level. Knowing your vision will help to guide all the decisions that you need to make in your business. Understanding your mission will help you to identify your ideal customers and work out how to serve them. This is what conveys the value that you bring.
Your brand values are the heart of your business and help to differentiate you from your competitors. Knowing your brand values is even more important when times are tough as customers will expect you to use them to inform your decision making, to stick by them and not to compromise for short-term gain.
Understanding Your Ideal Customer
Understanding your target audience or ideal client is vital if you are going to convince them to invest in your brand and ultimately buy from you. If you don’t understand your customers, every aspect of your product development process, user experience, marketing, and PR will suffer.
You need to know who they are, where they spend their time and money, what they are looking for and how your brand will solve their problems and enhance their life.
Understanding Your Competition
To stand out from the crowd and successfully convince your audience to invest in you, you need to have a deep understanding of your competition so you can differentiate yourself in the market. You need to understand your competitors so that you can outperform them or show how much more value you deliver.
Why Your Brand Matters Now, More Than Ever
Your brand is the most valuable asset that you have. It is your reputation. Without a good reputation you will struggle to get customers and with no customers you don’t really have a business.
Your brand is an opportunity to tell your story and to help your target audience understand whether they want to buy into you and what your stand for.
Your branding will put you a step ahead of your competition, make you instantly recognizable to your ideal clients and help you to build trust.
As we head into tough economic times, consumers will have less money to spend, and they will be more discerning. But they want to stay loyal to brands who align with their values.
Strengthening your brand is key to surviving and thriving in these challenging times. Make sure it is at the top of your priority list.
Stacey Sheppard is a multi-award-winning blogger and founder of The Tribe, a coworking space for female entrepreneurs in Totnes, Devon. Working as a journalist and freelance writer in the print and digital media industry for the past 14 years, Stacey has helped countless brands to tell their story in the media and therefore has gained enormous insight into how a strong brand identity can help businesses to stand out and attract their ideal customers.
This blog post is based on a branding workshop that Stacey has run for various BIPC Devon business support programmes which you can access for free by registering here.
Stacey is also one of expert 1:1 providers for BIPC Devon and you can book free session with her to help you with anything to do with branding, marketing, community building, PR, blogging, social media strategy and content creation.