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How to build a brand image

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How do you build a brand image? It’s quite easy really.

First, you need to identify the target audience you are aiming for. Your target audiences will consist of a mix of external and internal groups, including customers, partners and employees. It’s important to be very specific when defining your audiences.

Once you have determined your key audiences and critical business goals, you can start to build out your brand persona. Your persona should appeal to customers and articulate your most important differentiators and product benefits. Since your brand persona defines your image, it’s important to keep it simple and relevant.

After you have drilled down and laid the foundation for your brand image, you can ramp up your promotion activities to build a loyal customer following and generate sales. The three components that are necessary to promote your brand on a wide scale include:

  • Content is the fuel that drives integrated PR and digital marketing activities. To elevate your brand profile, you’ll need to deliver a steady stream of white papers, contributed articles, blog posts and other rich content assets to target audience segments.
  • Social media is a valuable tool for sharing information relevant to your industry and interacting with customers and influencers in your field. A robust social media presence can significantly increase website traffic and enhance your image with both new and existing customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tactic that improves your company’s ranking on popular search engines like Google. To make an impact with key audiences, you’ll need to rank well for specific keywords and key phrases, increasing the amount of traffic to your company website and other digital assets.

Second of all, when building your brand, think of it as a person. Every one of us is an individual whose character is made up of beliefs, values, and purposes that define who we are and who we connect with. Our personality determines how we behave in different situations, how we dress and what we say. Of course, for people it’s intuitive and it’s rare that you even consider what your own character is, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have that understanding.

You must aim to build long-term relationships with your customers. Don’t dress up your offering and raise expectations that result in broken promises, create trust with honest branding – be clear who your company is and be true to the values that drive it every day. You must also speak to your customers with a consistent tone of voice. It will help reinforce the business’ character and clarify its offering so customers are aware exactly what to expect from the product or service.

It is important that you don’t try to mimic the look of chains or big brands. Try and carve out your own distinctive identity. There is a big consumer trend towards independent establishments, and several chains are in fact trying to mimic an independent feel to capture some of that market. Truly independent operators can leverage their status to attract customers who are looking for something more original and authentic, that aligns with how to feel about themselves.

Good advice when making a brand image is to be innovative, bold and daring – stand for something you believe in. Big brands are encumbered by large layers of bureaucracy (which means that important decisions are only made by the top of the company – not being a demo racy, in which everybody votes), preventing them from being flexible and reacting to the ever changing needs of their customers. Those layers of decision-makers can make it hard for them to be daring with their branding.

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