The Ultimate Guide To Brand Development.
Your company’s brand is an intangible asset that can be the difference between running a successful, profitable business versus running a business that is fighting to retain your market share. Warren Buffett once said, “In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” The castle, a metaphor for the company, and the moat, a metaphor for a strong competitive advantage. Think of this guide to brand development as the first step in building your unbreachable moat.
Nothing can separate your company from the competition like brand value. If brand development is focused on as a priority & implemented correctly, you’ll experience true staying power. Customers spread the message of strong brands, while prioritizing the use of your goods and services above all others.
The question many businesses have is “how do I establish a strong brand? And what steps do I need to take in brand development to ensure my efforts result in success?”
Below we’ve outlined the six keys of maximizing brand value for your business. This guide to brand development has been complied through extensive research on top Fortune 500 Companies, and is the part of the strategic framework we use at JaxonLabs to deliver results for our client’s looking to get the most out of their brand development efforts.
1. BUSINESS STRATEGY
The corner stone of our Ultimate Guide To Brand Development is building a strong business strategy. Every great brand has a clearly defined business strategy, and in creating a clearly defined business strategy your company develops the context to implement your brand development process.
1. What is your business’s core aspiration?
2. What are your key sources of revenue going to be?
3. What is your business’s value proposition?
4. How do you plan on acquiring new clients & maintain your existing clients?
5. What kind of costs are you going to incur?
6. What are the keys for execution?
7. Who is going to be responsible for decision making & delivering results?
8. What is your basis for developing your business plan?
9. How will you sense change and adapt your strategy?
10. If you could describe the perfect interaction between you and a customer, how does it look?
By answering these questions about your organization’s business strategy, you should have a solid foundation your key insights, how your business operates, and the goals your company is working towards. Now we can understand where the different aspects of brand development work within your organization. If you need help building a sound business strategy, see if one of JaxonLabs services is right for your company.
A strong brand starts with the people in the organization, and even the businesses you hire/partner with to bring your vision to life. You’ll want to make it a high priority to establish a standard of how people are expected to engage with one another and your partners.
1. Have you hired a team that understands your core aspiration?
ie. The most successful businesses place a priority on finding people who truly get the vision and are interested in the journey to achieve the big picture.
2. Does your design and marketing team know what makes your prospective clients tick and what is important to them when they come in contact with your brand?
ie. Is your business doing a good job collecting data on existing clients and prospective clients to better understand what their needs are and how your business conveys the message that they can satisfy them?
3. Does your staff engage with one another in a way that is consistent with the overall essence you are trying to convey?
ie. If you want to create a business based on customer satisfaction, you should probably have employees who prioritize each other’s satisfaction in their dealings too. It is hard to turn off the switch if they are resentful to one another when a customer walks in the door.
Since products can be more easily defined in the way they engage with consumers, it is important to focus resources on the aspects of how your people engage with one another and the customers they come in contact with.
4. Is your Human Resources department aligned with the core mission, vision, and values of the rest of your organization?
I.e. Is your HR department hiring for fit or hiring based on qualifications? Employees are trainable and will achieve your organization’s goals if they believe in your company’s values. No matter what level of education and experience employees have prior, if they don’t buy into your company’s long term goals they won’t be effective employees.
Now you are starting to get an idea of what your business should look like from a process standpoint and a cultural perspective. If you have done your work in these areas, creating the identity of your brand should almost start to appear out of thin air (It won’t actually, but you’ll definitely know where you want to take things).
1. Visual Representation (Mood Board)
2. Logo Design Elements
3. Color Palette
4. Font Selection
5. Brand Vernacular
6. Brand Guidelines
A really good resource for identity would be to look at Brand Guidelines for other companies. Government of Alberta has a cool page on this:
A great place to start when developing your brand identity is to build a mood board. Finding inspiration from the world around us that helps bring the visual representation to life. What images trigger the emotion that you are looking to evoke? What colors, fonts, shapes and even words help reinforce this message? This is something that is often wise to consult an expert while developing, as I find many of our clients and even ourselves being pulled in many directions, as we do not want to leave something behind in our persona. Which then takes the focus away from our message that is the cornerstone of our brand.
4. MARKETING CHANNELS
Choosing where to market your business is equally important as the materials used to create awareness. You want to make sure you are positioning your business in areas that are going to compliment the brand vision and bring customers that will buy in (metaphorically and literally).
2. Social Media Platforms
4. Events & Tradeshows
5. Affiliate networks
This process should be considered as part of establishing which marketing channels you are going to utilize, because some channels require different types of content. Here are the keys to focus on when developing value based content
1. Real Value
2. Clear Value Proposition
3. Compelling Story
4. Customer reviews [Social Proof]
5. Incentives to Learn More
Work with your Social Media Consultant to design an efficient process for transferring information to create content. This can be done through cloud storage, internal networks or a really effective email system.
6. REINVENT YOUR BRAND
One of our business advisors (yes even JaxonLabs hires a business advisor) once taught us the value in reinventing our own company. As your business grows and develops into a recognizable brand, you’ll inevitably start collecting company data often referred to as Business Intelligence (BI). Analyzing this data and making informed decisions about the direction to take your brand will be critical factors for establishing a strong brand value. Which results in higher profit margins and increasing sales. BI is often overlooked by other businesses, and is necessary in building long term success in today’s competitive business landscape.
Revisit this guide for brand development once every 6 months for a startup, and once a year to three years for more established businesses. If you look at some of the largest companies in the world, they will prove the value in reinventing themselves. We also have some resources that you can utilize to further develop the different aspects of brand development that will be coming soon. If you can’t wait, click here to head over to our brand development division and take a look at our services and let’s talk.