Brand building is a key responsibility of any marketing team.
Through hell or high water, marketers face the challenge of staying on top of the industry by developing a successful brand strategy that remains relevant in any situation.
In the last few months, the economy has scrambled to keep itself afloat because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses. Some have chosen to close shop while many grapples with the task of transforming their operations and reinventing their brand’s voice to keep up with the crisis.
Yet the process of developing a brand remains the same even in the middle of a pandemic, whether you’re a start-up or a long-time company. Below are 5 crucial tips for brand building:
1. Get to know your market and the context
The first step to any successful brand strategy is having a firm knowledge about your target consumers.
If you want your market to patronize your brand, you should first study who they are. This includes diving into their interests, demographics, and purchasing patterns.
On the other hand, getting to know the social context in which both your brand and market exist is also crucial to business success. This is brilliantly shown in how businesses learned how to tailor their marketing strategy to the pandemic.
Learning about and adapting to the social climate will help you build brand strategies that are relevant to consumers at a specific point in their lives.
Taking these two factors into account, you can build a brand strategy that responds to your market’s needs, even while they are changing such as what’s happening in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
For example, consumers’ purchasing decisions were starkly different before the pandemic, which sparked transformations in business strategies. This includes shifting to online operations and changing products to cater to new customer needs.
2. Distinguish yourself from your competitors
A successful brand strategy also pushes you to develop your brand’s individuality.
In any field, competitors abound; learning how to stand out among these other brands is a challenge all businesses face. Being known within the industry can help you acquire new customers, establish brand loyalty, and gain repeat purchases.
To effectively build a brand strategy that stands out from the competition, you should first learn who your competitors are. Know how they promote their products, and converse with their consumers to help you determine what strategies to use or reject.
This can help you build an identity of your own— one that is unique in the industry and refreshing to consumers.
3. Develop a visual identity
One of the first stages of brand building is developing a unique visual marketing identity.
This includes even the seemingly minute details of images, color, and typography. Your visuals are powerful tools to reel audiences in.
This is especially true in the time of the Internet and social media, wherein millions of posts are streamed in users’ feeds and brands fight to stand out.
Creating a visual identity that eloquently showcases your brand’s messaging is one of the staples of developing a brand. Use images and colors that easily catch the user’s eye to successfully draw them into your website.
Capitalize on the psychology of marketing to form campaigns that speak to your consumers and stand the test of time.
4. Foster a friendship with your audience
Gone are the days of the proper and business-like manner of brands on the Internet.
Over the recent years, companies have created brand personas that cater to the specific demographics of their market.
Brand personas are a brand-building strategy mainly used for communicating with consumers and establishing an identity online. They’re quirky yet relatable, but most importantly, they are founded on the brand’s values and mission.
Taking on a brand persona is like humanizing your connection with your audience; it’s fostering a friendship with them. Brand personas feel like good pals whom any user can talk to or ask questions from.
5. Open the table for discussion
With the accessibility of the Internet, your consumers have opportunities to critique your campaigns.
Even without you choosing to hear their ideas, your market is still likely to comment on the hits and misses of your brand. That’s why it’s better to maximize online platforms to gain an insight on how your users respond to your marketing campaign.
One of the key parts of a successful brand strategy framework is openness to feedback from your audience. You can only tell that your brand-building strategy has worked if it’s received well by your market.
Take the time to employ social media listening tools, and utilize analytics to see how your campaign fares. Collecting feedback from your market is a good jump-off point for your future marketing strategies.
However you go about your brand-building process, always remember that at the core of it should be your audience. Create a brand that aims to acquire and keep consumers.
Having a consistent brand voice is the most solid foundation of brand awareness and loyalty. Consumers are more likely to buy products from a brand that has a consistent image.
Connecting with your audience also requires keeping up with current events. Make sure that the brand strategy you craft is not dissociated from what your consumers are actually experiencing.
This can help you stay relevant in spite of the overwhelming changes outside and inside your industry.
Examples of brands successfully navigating the pandemic
To help you visualize how a brand successfully adapts to changing social climates, below are two examples of brands effectively navigating the COVID-19 crisis:
1. Giving back: DoorDash
One of the biggest challenges of the common worker during the pandemic is hunger.
To help support families in need, DoorDash partnered with United Way Worldwide to provide groceries and meals. DoorDash also provides health financial assistance to their employees who are in need.
DoorDash is only one of many other brands that have used their platform to donate to households, realigning their resources to respond to consumer needs during the crisis.
This is a powerful way to establish your brand as one that cares. This can bolster brand awareness and trust, and even catalyze customer acquisition.
2. Play for the world: Nike
Aside from donating to underprivileged communities, brands are spreading awareness about the current crisis.
In line with the social distancing recommendation of the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control , Nike launched the Play For The World campaign which encourages staying fit indoors.
Nike launched free workout plans on the Nike App, and even streamed live workouts to help people stuck in their homes. This is a brilliant way to spread awareness about the crisis and their brand at the same time.
During hard times, like the COVID-19 crisis, brands have a choice: stay relevant or go on as if nothing is happening. It might exhaust most of your time and resources, as you strive to keep up with the crisis; but, ultimately, this is the right path for any brand.
A successful brand strategy considers the context in which it’s rolled out because it’s concerned about its market’s situation. Transforming your brand to cater to your market’s new needs is one way to sustain their loyalty and spread awareness.
Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search of new consumer trends. She uses the information to create viral and useful content as part of the new media strategy. She’s interested in technology, market behavior, new media, environment, sustainability, futuristic scenarios, and businesses.