If you want to grow a business, you need to start with a strong brand. One that’s clear, easily recognizable and that makes a statement.
How do you make a statement? By being extraordinary. An extraordinary brand defies what’s common, expected, and routine. An extraordinary brand aims to be unusually great, remarkable, unique, and striking, making them unforgettable by their customers.
Don’t think that your audience is indifferent about your brand. In fact, a 2020 study shows that 52% of people have bought from a brand for the first time because of that brand’s values.
In this article, we’ll be sharing the 4 steps you need to take to create an extraordinary brand that yields results for your business.
Step 1: Get clarity on your offer
This should go without saying, but you need to know what you’re offering, why you are in business, and what your offer or product is bringing to your audience.
Understanding clearly what your purpose is will help you. Are you offering a specific product or a collection of products in a retail offer? Or maybe you are a service brand, where your customers are booking appointments with you to help them with service in their home or business, or to address a specific issue at hand? As you can imagine, these types of businesses and brands would be completely different - with different goals and different target audiences.
Part of the clarity you need around your own brand involves understanding how your product or service is meeting a need or providing value to your customers. Including a review of your competitors in your area or niche is a helpful way to understand what they’re good at and what their value proposition, strengths, and opportunities are. These insights will help you identify what the customer is looking for.
And even though we encourage you to evaluate the competition and take some lessons, we also advise you not to get too hung up on their every move. It can be tempting to base your strategy on what the competitor is doing, but that will be a mistake - especially for small businesses. Remember, to be extraordinary, you need to stand out and be different, so your best brand strategy will be based on your own core offer, what you stand for, and your own unique value proposition.
Step 2: Know your target audience
It’s not enough to know who you are and what you stand for - you also need to know who it is that you help (aka who is going to be buying from you).
For instance, if we’re creating a brand that will cater to young adults, it shouldn’t look and feel the same as another brand that serves adults in their 40-50s, even if their service offerings are similar.
Now, some brands will stop here, once they define their audience as 20 to 35-year-old females in the Santa Fe area, for example. But if you want to be set up for success (which, if you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you do), you’ll really want to get to know your ideal audience well.
A common mistake we see brands make here is they ASSUME they know their target audience. And while that may be true in some cases, you should always do your research and talk to people in your target demographic, to try and understand their interests, habits, and overall lifestyles.
Part of the competitive assessment that we touched on in step one can help here too. When you are reviewing your competitors and where they stand, take a look at their reviews and ratings. Both the positive and the negative ones can really show what things delighted their customer - and what things were missing from their experience. These are helpful insights into what the customer is looking for. For more ideas on how to find audience insights and feedback, check out our brand guide at the end of this article.
Step 3: Speak your audience’s language
While you’re speaking to your audience and doing your research in order to get to know them better, be sure to pay close attention to how they talk and word certain things.
Do they use a conversational tone, maybe some emojis, in their posts and messages to you? Or are they a bit more formal and put together? Not only that, do they use specific terms to describe their interests or pain points? You’ll want to take note of any recurring themes or words you see.
Be sure to also ask about your own industry - their past experience with it, any struggles they came across, as well as how they’d go about looking it up when necessary - would they turn to Google or social media? And what sort of terms would they use in their search?
Oftentimes your customers will have totally different words to describe your offer than those you, as the business owner or practitioner, would use. They’ll often be less technical and more conversational, and you should prioritize their way of speaking about your business when crafting your marketing materials and messages since you want them to be easily understood by your ideal customer.
Step 4: Understand your strategic opportunities
Now that you understand what you offer and who you help, it’s time to create a strategic plan to achieve your business goals and get your message out there.
In this strategic plan, you should outline a couple of key things:
Who your target audience is - who are you trying to reach with your marketing and business? Remember, the more specific you can be here, the better. You want your people to see your content and fully relate to it, not just scroll past.
Where you are in the market - what’s your position? Are you the only one in your market or do you have a lot of competition? Is your product unique and different or is it similar to your competitors?
What your goals are - what do you hope to accomplish with your marketing in general or with a specific post? If you don’t have clearly defined goals with what you’re doing, you’ll be spending money and doing work that vaguely meets a goal but won’t move the needle for your organization.
BONUS Branding insights
It helps to think about your brand as a person. What’s the story they’re telling? What motivates them to get up in the morning? And most importantly - would you sit down for coffee with your brand? If not, there’s likely some disconnection there that’s worth addressing.
Remember that consumers care more about your brand’s story than you may think. As such, you should always keep your brand’s mission in the back of your head when making decisions, as well as your unique selling proposition (USP). This is what will make your brand truly extraordinary.
If you’d like some extra help with your brand, be sure to download our Creating an Extraordinary Brand guide and start elevating your brand today.