How to build a brilliant brand: 10 tips from a marketing strategy expert

You’ve got an ace business idea or product to market, but what next?

With two successful businesses under my belt, and as a marketing strategist, I’ve figured out the key things you need to do in order to build a brilliant business and most importantly: how to build a brilliant brand.

What does “brand” even mean?

Firstly, we need to think about what a “brand” and “branding” actually is. It’s more than your colour scheme and logos. Branding is a way of defining your business. It’s the identity of your business. It’s what your business is – everything from its name, communications, any trademark, and the overall visual appearance (logos etc).

For me, a brand identity is – quite simply – how your brand looks, feels, and – most importantly – speaks to people. Because, ultimately, your brand identity is the way you communicate with the world, stand out from your competition, and create a brand experience that encourages people to choose your product and be loyal to your business.

Branding and love have more in common than you’d think…

Across industries, customers are much more savvy nowadays and they see straight through vapid attempts to charm and mystify their way to sales. So we have to be clever about how we build our brands. It’s all about trust and relationships.

Funnily enough, the benefits that come with having a strategically defined brand are the same as the benefits you feel when you fall head over heels in love. You create an emotive connection where you share the same values and beliefs as the brand and the strength of your brand encourages loyalty. Romantic, right?!

So, now we know what a brand is and should be, here are my ten top tips for building a strong brand:

1. Begin by defining your brand.

Review what your business currently offers. Think about the needs and concerns of your customers – both emotive and rational – and pinpoint the gap that you fill in the market. Your brand character should promote your business, connect with your customer base and differentiate you in the market.

I have an awesome tool for this – a Brand Essence sheet that’ll get you fired up and ready for action!

2. What’s driving your business?

Why did you decide on this business? What do you believe in, what is the purpose of your business and who are your brand heroes? These things can help establish your emotive brand positioning and inform the identity and character for brand communications.

3. Get personal when building your brand.

Think of your business as a person. Someone who’s got beliefs, values and a purpose, just like you! This’ll help you figure out your messaging. What your brand looks like, sounds like and feels like is nearly as important as whatever it is you’re selling.

Sales have become much more intuitive so when building your brand it’s essential that you have an understanding of your brand persona.

4. Have a consistent tone of voice.

Tone of voice (TOV) is so important and is often an after-thought, but good copy is worth its weight in gold. Being able to clarify your offering so that your audience is aware of why they need your product or service, but this is also an opportunity to reinforce the business’ character. Think about brands you love and how they create character through their copy – Innocent, Ella’s Kitchen, Lush are all great examples of excellent TOV!

5. Build long-term relationships.

Offer your customers value without expecting anything in return. This creates trust because you’ve got honest branding that they can relate to. By being clear on your company’s values and keeping everything aligned, potential customers will be drawn to your business and you’ll create brand loyalty.

6. Repeat – but innovate each time.

Instead of sending out the exact same message in every post, do it in a variety of ways. You want to make your key messages work cohesively and build your brand picture up. But don’t forget that people need to see and hear things several times before they remember – “the power of three” is key!

7. No copycats.

Copying what the big brands (or any brands for that matter!) are doing is a no-no. You really don’t need to! The “Just a Card” and “Shop Small” campaigns have demonstrated a recent trend towards customer preference for indie shops and makers, so make the most of your independent authenticity and people will be drawn to your brand. What’s your unique selling point? Shout about it! Don’t be tempted to lose sight of your individual quirks and strengths.

8. Always have your brand in the back of your mind.

As with tone of voice, the message you are portraying needs to be consistent too. Try to keep your brand positioning strong, without diluting it with salesy discounts. Remember what I said about adding value? You can, instead, offer more value for the same price. Running a competition or a loyalty scheme (or other promotional ideas) gives you a chance to strengthen your brand mission and brazenly shout about how amazing you are – without sounding like Trump.

9. Intrigue & curiosity

As I mentioned before, customers aren’t the dummies Mad Men et al assumed they were once. Give them a little credit for being intelligent – make your marketing engaging, get them thinking by not giving everything away immediately. Create some mystery around your brand that they can then “discover” more. They’ll tell everyone else how amazing your brand is.

10. Be more like Kylie.

I know, I know! I’m banging on about her again – but I stand by this! Kylie Minogue can teach us so much about innovation and growing with our audience. As small brands, we can be particularly flexible – unlike big brands who are tied up in red tape. Having to ask boards and committees for their opinions on everything makes it tricky for them to be daring with their branding. Whereas you can just be you, and go as bold as you like!

I’ve got so much to write about when it comes to building a brand and growing your business, so keep an eye out for more useful blogs that give lots of tips you can apply to your own business.

Let me know if you have any questions about branding. Leave a comment below or send me an email, or if you join my membership – We are Brilliant Business Builders – every Tuesday is our weekly “Ask Me Anything” thread in the members only Facebook group!

Every week I hang out in there, including live on a Tuesday from 8 – 9 pm, answering any questions relating to your business, my business, combining life and business – anything you’d like my help with!

Niki x