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What comes to mind when you think about brands with unique personalities? When we think about Apple, we think of clean, premium products. Tiffany’s invokes a sense of wealth and luxury.
When we see McDonald’s golden arches we think of an inexpensive and quick bite to eat with consistent quality. When we see the Nike swoosh, we are reminded of sports and fit athletes.
A common theme that these brands all share—no matter what they do or sell—is that their brand is clearly defined and that it tells a story.
A timeless and influential quote from the late Maya Angelou reads,
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Do you remember the exact messaging from that Budweiser ad from a few years ago? Neither do we. But that isn’t what is necessarily important (in this example). What you may remember is how it made you feel. Did the ad tug at your heartstrings? Did it make you happy? Or conversely, did it make you upset or think about the brand negatively?
Simply put, humans are emotional beings. Our actions are driven by instincts and feelings within our guts. Our behaviors reflect these feelings as well and a lot of the time we make purchases based on how we feel about a particular brand.
If you can’t tell a story, you don’t have a solid brand. But don’t fret, all is not lost.
To solidify your brand, you need a firm foundation. Ask yourself a few questions.
One important item we want you to remember about your brand is that it’s not going to be for everybody. The goal of advertising is to get people to feel something about your brand. You have to make sure you are targeting the right people who want to feel that feeling you’re trying to achieve. The Toyota Prius crowd isn’t going to be impressed by the new gas-guzzling SUV ad and that’s okay! Those messages will be received by different people and the ads will strike a chord in those who for whom it is intended.
Define your audience. Put in the research. Know your target. Know how they communicate. To connect with your audience, you have to know them first and communicate with them in a way that they’ll listen.
Next, consider your business goals and ask yourself what your brand is trying to achieve. You can’t expect others to get on board with you if you’re not on board yourself.
If someone asked you in 15 seconds to define your company, what would you say? An elevator speech is a must for any company. You should be able to explain the main points, differentiators, and benefits of your business in the time it takes you to switch floors. This is a good starting place to find your voice, persona, and identity. Once you have this down and your audience is clear, you can begin to develop your company story. Again, you will need to put in the research.
Once you’ve identified your audience, developed a story and voice, and have defined your goals, it’s time to create content and develop key messaging.
You may have heard this over and over again, but content is king. Content is what drives your brand and is a valuable asset for brand development. It creates a way to communicate and build relationships with your audience and prospects. It’s important to produce meaningful, relevant, and entertaining content about your business and services.
You may find that there are other companies just like you. They sell the same thing or they offer the same service or experience. But what makes you special? Hint: It’s the reason why you got into business in the first place. Avoid copying others and march to the beat of your own drum. Just make sure you are still appealing to your target audience.
Share this with every person in your company. Include elements of it throughout your website, collateral, mission statement, etc. This document explains who you are, how you are aligned, what defines you, your values, and how to represent your company. Brand guidelines and style guides protect the critical assets of your brand and communicate a consistent message about your company.
Brands will come and go. Brands will change. It’s important to start with a solid grounding and be prepared to grow. Don’t lose focus on your purpose—it’s what drives your company—or else you wouldn’t be in business.
Not sure where to begin? Synapse has the tools, expertise, and experience to give your company a voice and solidify your brand. Let our work speak for itself. Contact us today to start a conversation with Synapse.