Some people think branding is overrated. The product should do the talking, not the fancy packaging. Before we completely obliterate this point of view, we’ll make a single concession: you’ll never get away with having a substandard product or service.
Branding matters. Think about it. Coke is not just a soda. Nike is not just a sports brand. Gatorade isn’t just an energy drink. All of these companies provide a story, an experience, they blend memories with expectations to establish a relationship between them and the consumer.
In this guide, you’ll get a roadmap to branding in 2020. Combined with old school tactics that still work to this day, we’ll also tell you what you need to tweak to succeed in 2020.
‘Who’ Is Your Brand?
Think of your brand as a person. What would they look like? What’s their personality like? What kind of people would they hang out with? Look to create your brand’s DNA:
- Humanize your background story. People relate to stories, where you’ve come from is key to establishing your makeup. What inspired you to create your company? What hardships did you have to overcome? What elements allow people to relate to your story?
- Target market. Who will you ‘befriend’? In other words, who are you looking to sell to? This is super important, as it sets the tone for the rest of this exercise.
- Your price point. Are you the kind of brand that likes going to your inexpensive local cafe? Or are you all about fine dining?
You Must Be Consistent
Your company can’t be two things at once. Once you’ve decided on who you are, don’t try to be someone else. Stick to your proverbial guns and give your (potential) customers an identity that is relatable, consistent, and on point:
- Your visual identity. Everything from packaging to your website, everything visual needs to have a purposefully designed branding element. It’s not enough to look good, it has to fit your identity. Either hire a design agency or if it’s not in your budget, make sure you spend an appropriate amount of time ensuring you get as close as possible to a coherent visual identity.
- Your printed products. In 2020, most business owners will spend an inordinate amount of time on their websites, Instagram, Facebook, everything digital. But they mistakenly forget the tried and tested. We’re talking business cards, letterheads, signage, the works. It must all ooze the same message. If it’s clunky or each element looks like it’s been designed by a different agency, scrap it. If you already have printed products, it may be time for a print refresh.
- Your ‘voice’. This goes back to the ‘who’ part of the guide. This mainly has to do with your tone, how you sound to your customers, the kind of company you seem to be. Whether it’s your website copy, your social media posts, or YouTube videos, make sure they align and conform to your brand’s voice.
Invest In Your Tribe
Your brand should be designed to draw people in to buy your product or service, that much is clear. However, if you don’t treat your brand and company as a community, you’re missing a trick.
To succeed in 2020, invest in your tribe. Yes, this is part of the branding exercise. It’s about creating a feeling that buying your product means an all-access pass to an exclusive and welcoming community.
Always focus on adding value. You want to go above and beyond for your customers. If they pay for your product, make sure you let them know you appreciate it. Welcome them with an email, invite them to ask questions, make them feel appreciated. You should always go for added value, no matter what you do.
Businesses don’t like to think about their branding. At least not in a strategic way. Most business owners like to tinker with cool logos. They like to order the shiny new business card. But planning the branding process using data? Doesn’t sound like fun.
However, we’ve left this piece of advice for last for a very good reason. It’s perhaps the most important facet of coming up with a decent brand from top to bottom. You need to plan it out meticulously. Invest time, effort, and money (but don’t go overboard!) to ensure your brand will stand out in 2020.
Follow this advice and you’ll be set for 2020 and beyond.