While defining your brand online in a constantly evolving digital era can be a challenge, there are ways to find that edge and stand apart in your industry. You’ll need to revisit strategies throughout the year, especially when new features roll in to your go-to social media network.
If you take the following steps and lay the foundation of your brand, you’ll be successful when presenting your brand online.
Define Your Vision
Before you can describe your brand story online, you will need to consider the big picture and define your vision, purpose, values, and passions. Is your product high-cost or on the lower spectrum of cost? Narrow it down, because you can’t be everything to everyone.
When outlining your vision statement, keep it short and simple, so that it’s easy to recall. You’ll need to grab the attention of your online audience. Think of it this way, what stands out when you scroll your news feed online or visit a new website?
Your vision statement itself should be a filter for decision making. Will X (your decision) help achieve Y (your vision)? Without a vision statement, it will take longer to achieve your goal.
- Think about one problem you would like to see resolved and write it down in the present tense. This is your vision.
- The more information you can gather, the clearer it will be to see the steps that need to be taken. Write as much detail to support your vision.
- Re-read your vision statement often. This will keep your mind focused and create momentum.
Another way to define your purpose is through guided imagery. Close your eyes and imagine you are in a comfortable, stress-free environment surrounded by family and friends. They are talking about you and how your brand has changed their lives. What do you think they would say? Write it down. Now, choose three action verbs that most appeal to you and would resonate with your talents. Examples would be accelerate, cultivate, deliver, or validate.
Narrow The Focus
The process of building a brand is highly involved, but the most critical and most useful aspect is creating a new category. It’s necessary to narrow the focus of a brand to the point of nothing and start completely new.
Becoming the first brand in a new category will allow you to become a leader in a new segment of the market.
You’ll need to do these two things to build a brand in a category that does not exist:
- Launch the brand so it is perceived as the first of its kind, as a leader or the original. Use these types of terms to describe your brand and share it in the description sections of your social accounts.
- When tweeting or updating your LinkedIn Company Page, promote the new category, not the brand.
In all reality, consumers don’t care about new brands, they care about new categories. They want to know how your product or service will make their lives easier.
Being the first in a category, then aggressively promoting it creates a powerful brand and an instant escalating market.
Define Your Target Audience
Understanding who your customers are will help you determine where to market online and how to be prevalent in their lives. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone. Narrow down your audience from the get go.
Detail your customer demographic into the following categories:
- Marital status
- Household income
Once you have a clearer idea of your customer profile, brainstorm where they would likely live online. Do they read blogs? Are they frequent subscribers of email? Or maybe they religiously listen to podcasts.
Before moving on to your next step of content creation, you must define where your prospects get their information. Take time to map out potential online avenues for sharing.
Provide Relevant Content
Deciding what content to create is easily achieved when you breakdown your categories into topics. What are your top four services or products? What type of business do you want to attract? These are just a couple of questions to ask while developing your content calendar.
Addressing how your brand can help is a guaranteed way to grab attention from potential clients. What are their frustrations or desires? Other than creating a frequently asked questions section on your website, dive deeper into common concerns in your industry. Provide easily downloadable material your viewers can benefit from. Become that reliable resource willing to educate and you’ll soon be known as the go-to brand.
Other than creating content to be a resource, share recognition, case studies and testimonials. When viewers are searching online, they are ultimately looking for someone they can trust to help them. People work with people they like. Plain and simple. Testimonials can help with the early stages of the buying cycle. By sharing how others know, like, and trust your brand, you’ll build the foundation of a relationship and lead your viewer into the buy stage.
There’s nothing more frustrating than visiting a website or social media page to find the content you most enjoy is gone or has been changed. Or maybe the content has suddenly gone from fun and witty to serious and dull.
If you haven’t established your brand voice already, now is the time. Defining your brand voice is critical when defining your brand online. Showing that human side of your brand is how your audience is going to connect. If your voice is playful, don’t sway too far from that. Being consistent in your brand voice will bring viewers back to your page to see what’s new.
On the other hand, while it’s important to be consistent, it’s also important to allow your brand’s personality to grow – this is when your brand’s authenticity shines. Testing new strategies will allow insight into what is working for your audience at different stages of your business.
If you are rigid in your current strategy, you could miss opportunities to connect. As long as you do not abandon your brand’s defining attributes, it’s perfectly fine to show different moods to draw in your community.
Now that we’ve reviewed a few ways to define your brand online, what will you implement into your online brand strategy for 2015?