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Branding is the most commonly used term in business circles, but it is also often the least understood.
For Jonathan Jadali, CEO of Ascend Agency, a public relations form that works with top Fortune 500 companies, a brand is not a tangible thing. As he said to me recently in a conversation, it is "a strong feeling that a company creates in the minds of its customers, that creates an emotional bond and passion for its company and creates loyalty."
Here is more insight into Jadali's three-step approach to creating a lasting brand.
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1. Find your soul
A company without a soul can generate revenue, but can never build a following. “I've worked with a lot of companies and I always noticed which had strong brands when I got their first emails,” explains Jadali. “I could feel the company's soul oozing out of the letters as I read them. Until you find your soul, the "why" behind your business, it's difficult to make any impact. "
This discovery phase should begin with an internal review of your brand's marketing approach, services, and products, as well as an external review of the sentiment of your customer base towards your entire industry and your company in particular. You then have to delete the features you don't like and add the features you want.
Once that's done, you can bring that focus into your design (logos, graphics, etc), staff training, social media content, customer touchpoints, and email campaigns. The ability to consistently reflect your purpose in all areas of your business is what builds a sense of connectedness in the hearts of your customers.
2. Develop cult devotion
Respect, they say, is mutual, as is loyalty. It is unwise to expect extreme engagement from a customer base you are not extremely loyal to, and you cannot address yourself to a customer base whose needs you do not know.
As Jadali says, “Most brands want to build a cult out of their customer base, but while we dig into branding strategy, most companies either don't know exactly who that audience is supposed to be or they haven't spent time cultivating themselves Develop devotion to their base. "
Every company has to spend time in the "fundamental distinction". The first step is to find the common trait of your base, be it age group, lifestyle, gender, fashion preferences, health status, location, etc. Then you need to build your brand image around these discoveries. For example, an all-black marketing theme might work for a men's brand, but fail miserably for a line focused on women.
3. Always show up with value
"With all of the content you post, every campaign you launch, and every place you appear, you are animating your business one way or the other," says Jadali. “It's similar to how we perceive people. Your brand has a personality that is what you connect with, where you show up, what you say, and how you say it. If you are just doing marketing, you are reducing your sales opportunities. "
It is also important to appear on the right platforms that you are sure to meet your customer base on. For example, a brand aimed at teenage girls must take TikTok more seriously than most. Authority Positioning, as Jonathan Jadali calls it, is the art of making sure your brand is seen where it matters most. You have to take an empirical approach to guest posting, social media marketing, and SEO. Far better to appear in fewer places than in the wrong places. Businesses should spend more time researching than just trying to present themselves.
When you show up, you need to market efficiently, but beyond that, you need to find all possible ways to identify with your customer base and build the chemistry they share with your brand. Often times, this can mean that you are providing non-marketing value to your customer base and identifying with their views.
An active presence on all relevant platforms is a necessary part of your PR strategy. Not only can you identify better with your base. Also, you can monitor the chatter to know how customers are feeling. That way you can always spin your business around to make sure your purpose is served.
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Marketing, sales, people, products and services may form the infrastructure necessary to run your business profitably. However, mastering the art of effective branding is the necessary ingredient to remain profitable over the long term.