Starting your own business is a journey in itself, but sustaining it poses a challenge for any young business owner. The market is becoming increasingly competitive, and gone are the days when only the top well-to-do entrepreneurs can make a name for themselves.
Business success isn’t an overnight endeavor. Top companies had to start from the ground up to get to where they are now, and many startups eventually quit the market before their second year in operations as they could not break through the market. Branding accounts for a huge chunk of the factors of success for businesses.
The benefits of branding are certainly worth the costs and research, as branding is what shapes the image of a company in the eyes of consumers. Think back to the last time you saw a red soda can and immediately associated it with Coca-Cola. Branding aims to ingrain your business in the minds of consumers, effectively solidifying your position in the market.
Contrary to popular belief, however, branding is not just going with the flow of the current trends. In fact, businesses that tend to follow short-term trends end up changing their branding often and fail to establish an image unique to their brand. Consistency and research are often deprioritized, though these factors weigh heavily on the outcome of your branding.
1. Know Your Target Audience
What use would a stunning brand kit have if you don’t reach your target audience? Marketing your business as a high-priced company when your target market is middle-class income earners would create barriers for you to enter the market. You’re cutting yourself out of the competition even before your consumers have the chance to try your products.
The same goes for brand kits that just don’t hit the mark with your Bullseye Target. If your company targets gamers, then you need to be prepared to know the lingo, trends, and demographics of your target audience. What worked for audiences in the ’70s may not work for the current market, so do your market research well.
Market Research Provides You the Information Needed
Start with market research on your direct competitors, as you are most likely to be sharing target market demographics. However, you must remember your unique selling point, and what makes your products different from your competitors. From there, you can assess the age, gender, occupation, social class, and other specifics of your target audience.
Next is to gather information about consumer trends. How much are they willing to shell out and spend for your product? What is the best marketing strategy to reach your target audience? Would digital marketing be more effective in drawing in your audience, or do they prefer traditional marketing? These are just a few of the many questions you should answer with your market research.
2. Resonate with Your Branding
Just because a certain brand kit hits your target market perfectly, does not mean that it is the best option for your business. As a business owner, your company is a reflection of your own image, and your professional brand matters a lot in the overall branding you portray to your consumers.
Resonate with your branding. There is no use for a brand kit that feels detached from your company. Even if your aesthetics don’t match with the current trends, don’t try to fit your business into an image you’re not comfortable with. The best branding will always come naturally as you continue with proper market research, consistency, and business development.
Resonating with your branding also means letting go of an image that no longer applies to your company. If your business shifts its focus from one goal to another in favor of your target market, then your branding shifts as well.
The key is balance. Finding the balance between your preferred brand kit, current trends in your target audience, and the image of your company will guide you in creating branding that is unique to your business. Changes may happen throughout the life of your business, but understanding how to balance this shift will solidify your brand in the market.
3. Stay Consistent with Your Image
Consistency is the path to keeping up with your branding. Your consumers would be in constant confusion when you change up your branding too often, and sudden, repetitive changes make your business seem unfocused, indecisive, and overly complicated.
While it does take some trial and error to find the perfect branding that would fit your business and reach your target audience, you need to stick with the branding that works best for you. Sudden changes can make your business look completely different altogether, which you can tell would be perplexing for your consumers.
The Hidden Mickey
One of the reasons Disney became the huge media company they are now is because of their consistency in branding. They market themselves as a magical brand with a child-like wonder, and this branding is evident in their theme parks where Disney pulls out all the stops to dissociate their parks from reality.
You may have visited a Disneyland park, and noticed that the overall vibe of the place is out of the ordinary. Disney promotes their business with fun music, mesmerizing mascots, and the park even releases aromas like apple pie. These hidden Mickeys subliminally pull consumers away from reality and into the world of their cartoons without them even realizing it.