If there’s one thing 2020 has done it’s to force each and every brand to step up their game. Arguably even before Covid, that’s the way things were trending. It’s no longer good enough to merely provide a product or a service. Consumers need to be fully engaged and resonate with your brand as a whole to get their buy in. And now that every business has flocked online en masse, you may be wondering how the heck you can get some cut through?
The good news is that this has brought with it a lot of opportunity. There are more tools and technology than ever before to allow you make a real impact with your business. It’s an exciting time to revisit your brand positioning and ensure it not only survives but thrives in 2021 and beyond.
There are a couple of trends we’ve seen amongst the strongest brands we’ve worked with this year which has seen them grow from strength to strength. Apply these to your own business and watch the magic happen!
Know your ideal client and then obsess over them
One big mistake I see happen again and again is that businesses obsess over – well – themselves. Founders and teams spend hours and hours thinking about how they can improve their numbers, product and marketing strategies. What I’ve seen is that when you put this much focus and attention onto your customer, that’s when you start to see big results.
You need to know exactly who they are, where they hang out and the biggest fears and frustrations in their lives. Not only that, but you should even know the exact wording they use to talk about these pain points. Then, you need to mirror this language back to them to show that you get them. You want them to feel as though your product or service was made for them. This applies to your visual brand too. It’s not always about what you personally like but the aesthetic that is going to engage and connect with them.
A lot of people are scared to get this specific as they don’t want to limit themselves. But often this is just coming from a place of scarcity when the truth is you will become a magnet for this ICA (ideal client avatar) rather than a ‘meh’ for 100 randoms. This gets incredible cut through and is something that so many brands just do not do. Which puts your way ahead of the game!
Make sure your branding is on point
It takes 7-20 interactions with your brand for someone to know, like and trust your business. That’s a lot of interactions even with incredible branding! However, if your brand looks and sounds different at every touchpoint, then it stops being recognisable. And if your audience doesn’t recognise your brand at each of these touchpoints, then it’s not having the compounding effect desired.
It’s so critical that your brand connects and converts your ICA and once you’ve got that down pat, it’s about staying top of mind for your audience and becoming recognisable and trusted. This means that everything needs to look cohesive and uniform so it resonates with your audience each time.
It’s so important to develop brand style guidelines that will keep your brand cohesive. If you’re not ready to invest in branding just yet, then you could create a brand Pinterest board for now to use in its place. Pin the colours, fonts and imagery you will use for your brand (we recommend 2-4 fonts and 4-6 colours) and make sure to use the same styles each and every time.
Use your personal brand
One thing that no other business will have is you! Don’t be afraid to put your own personal stamp on things to make it quintessentially ‘you’. People relate to people and so creating a strong personal brand can only ever benefit your business. There are tonnes of things you could try to develop your own thought leadership from writing blogs to doing guest posts to writing a book – just choose one thing that feels right for you and you can start small!
We’ve seen time and time again that customers respond really well to real, relatable, personal stories so infusing this narrative through your brand will really distinguish you from any competitors and make your brand more unique. This is especially relevant for service based businesses where you can start to brand your customer experience.
Branding your customer experience
This is a topic I love to talk about and something we try to infuse into every web design project we do. It’s so great to not only think about your brand and website, but also to ask ‘what happens next?’. What is the desired action you want your audience to take when they land on your website and how can we steer the customer journey in that direction, all while getting them more and more engaged with our brand? It’s such an interesting topic and honestly something I could write pages and pages about but in short – it’s about tailoring the customer journey for your ideal client. If you have a time poor ICA that’s always on the run, are you making your copy short and sharp and optimising your site for mobile? Or is your ICA a deep thinker that takes a lot of time to make decisions? Then perhaps a long format sales page with an FAQ section and lots of social proof and testimonials will be a better fit.
It’s really about taking the time to show your ICA that you get them and putting things in place that will make their journey easier and even delight them. This can be done at every touchpoint, whether it’s the automated emails that get sent with orders to things like sending hand-written thank you notes.
Be relentless in your consistency
I once saw Marie Forleo speak (at a Business Chicks event!) and afterwards heard her credit her success in an interview to being “a relentless motherf*cker”. And I just loved this because so often I see business owners get disheartened when they get one no or something fails. However, building a brand takes time and you need to stick with it. I know we always hear ‘consistency is key’ but honestly most people give up or they’re consistent for a while and then drop off the face of the earth. You need to be relentless in your consistency and this will differentiate you from the rest. Now I by no means am saying that you need to be on every platform and posting 500 times a day. What I mean is choose one thing and stay consistent with that.
There is a psychological phenomenon called the mere exposure effect by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. So by you staying relevant and top of mind it will pay off in dividends.
Kady O’Connell is a Business Chicks Premium member and the Founder of Kady Creative, a branding agency based in Sydney. Want some more advice on building an epic brand? Head to kadycreative.com.au to check out their blog or join their free facebook group, Brandfluence.