Would you be surprised to learn that the majority of business owners are disappointed by their sales performance?

We are starting an article that’ll show how you can easily create your marketing and brand strategy to succeed and grow your business nowadays. Often marketing companies want to show you that creating your marketing strategy is the most complicated thing in the world. But it is not true. We will show you how you can do it yourself, step-by-step.

Our first step is about yourself. And in this case, it’s even appropriate. We’ll take a close look at your company and thanks to our direct-action items we create tangible results together.

Who are you?
This is the first question in our piecemeal branding blueprint and one of the most important. And it’s entirely different from the philosophical question “Who am I.” In opposite, it’s clear and has a direct impact on your branding as we’ll see in later lessons as well.

If your company character is consistent in all your brand presentations, marketing communication and promotions, the customer will start to build trust with your brand. If not, they begin to doubt your ability to keep your promises. Well, it will look like your changing your opinion every five minutes.

To get off the ground, we’d like you to clarify the following questions and write down your answers:

  1. What’s yours why? Why did you start this business anyway?
  2. What are your company values? What does your company stand for?

After those more profound investigations let’s take a look at something less abstract:

  • What makes your company stand out? Why should I buy from you and not from your competitor?
  • What is your company culture like? Is it conservative or playful? Dress code or home office?
  • What are your goals? Think about what you want to contribute to your customer with your product?

If the answer to the last question is a quarterly figure, please think again.

Try to sum up the core of your findings in two or three sentences. You´ll have a clear image of who you are and want to be. This is your company’s mission statement and works as a good reminder of your upcoming logo design and branding work.

Now that you have some definite answers to the question of who you actually are and stand for, we built half of the foundation for your marketing strategy. You are now able to communicate your brand message in a consistent and meaningful way. Wasn’t that hard, was it?

Who’s your target customer?
We have already demonstrated the importance of having a clear and consistent brand image to build trust with your customer. To further hone your message, image, and products, you also need to know who is likely to buy what you sell. For example, promoting sugared sweets to health-conscious people would likely not succeed.

Experience shows that marketing to everyone produces mediocre results, with consumers remaining rather indifferent to your product. You want potential customers to say “I love this product” or “I hate this product.” Polarizing is one of the most powerful branding tools, though it’s often misunderstood. You need to know who buys from you and then create a suitable brand strategy.

How to find your ideal customer
You can build trust with your customer by making an emotional connection. To help you with that process, please ask yourself the following questions and record your answers:

  • What are the demographics of your ideal customer? The demographic information should include gender, age, marital status, parental status, education, and income.
  • What problem can your product solve, or why does the customer need your product? Think about your customer’s pain and the relevant benefits of your commodities.
  • Where does your customer access information? Most probably this is the primary place where you should market yourself.
  • What builds your customer’s trust? This often comes down to the customer’s education level. If your customers are highly informed, they won’t trust cheesy sales letters. If your customers are hard-working folks, they probably don’t want to dive deep into theories about your product.

There are potentially many more questions, and every question could be explored in more detail. If you need a more in-depth and precise analysis of your target customer, consider calling a professional branding agency. Otherwise, the above questions can give you the basic knowledge you need.

Now you have a better understanding of yourself and your target customer – knowledge that will help you create your branding strategy. But first, we will look at competition and market analysis to round up the information we already have. 

Now we’ll tell you all the basics you need to know about competitor analysis and market research.
As always, we’ll give you just the essence of the information, so you can gain a quick understanding of your marketing strategy.

First, let’s dig deeper into market research.
Research, of course, is where Google comes into play. If you use Google efficiently, you can find almost any information you need. If a Google search doesn’t suffice, you can also try some of the following sources:

  • Market-related communities and forums.
    For example, if you sell HDR cameras, you can check out tech communities to learn the likes and dislikes of your customers.
  • Niche magazines.
    Go to the local magazine store to research the fine details in your market.
  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
    Visit social media sites to find out what moves your customers in their everyday lives.
  • Phone calls.
    Make a direct connection with your existing clients by giving them a call.
  • E-mails to your competitors.
    Send your competitor a quick e-mail. You can ask about almost anything that might interest you or affect your branding strategy. You will be surprised by the response rate!

After you complete your research, the real work begins with evaluating the information.

Let’s take a look at the specific data we want to find out. First, we’ll consider the competitor analysis.
Identify your potential competitors. Then, take a look at their strategies in such areas as branding, marketing or expansion. Find out about their weaknesses and strengths. Compare them to your own. Consider price, customer support, and the product itself. This process will provide you with an excellent opportunity to think about your selling proposition and market positioning. Determine your unique marketing proposal — the brand message — that will help you stand out in the market. Why would your customer choose you over the competition? Is it your quality? Your price? Your service?

Now, let’s move on to market analysis.
The best way to get information about your specific market is to talk to your customers. Ask them about their struggles and how your products can help them.

You have already figured out some of this information in step 2 as well. Now, you can deepen your understanding and get in touch with your customer base. You’ll learn about the perception of your brand image and upcoming market trends.

Finally, think about your target audience’s demographics and age group. After you’re done with this important step, check out business.gov. Here you can get information about your market’s size and growth. Try to segment your market into several pieces. This makes it easier for you to compare data, and it will give you a deep and complete understanding of your market.

Review all of your findings as you work on your marketing strategy.

To get the best results out of your market research, consider hiring a marketing agency.

If you do your analysis homework from time to time, you’ll always have an advantage in your market. You won’t miss any important changes that might affect your business.
In our next issue, we’ll look at our specialties: logo design, taglines, marketing messages and identity design styles.

We’ve already worked out the basics of what information we need to create a solid marketing strategy. Now, we will look at what you can do with this information.
So far, we have considered your business image, the characteristics of your target audience, and the tools you need for market and competitive analysis. With this information, we can create your corporate language and graphic design.

Here are some specific points to think about:

Craft your brand language
Choose a tagline (catchphrase or slogan) and some keywords that you wish to associate with your brand. Think about sentences that express what you have discovered from our previous tool guides. Make sure your tagline is not too complicated and people can easily remember it.

  • Use your specific brand language in written materials but also in conversation.
  • Keep your text as basic as you can. Consider consulting with the advertising agency, if you have concerns or need help. A good example is a tagline we created for BCFP: “Financial planning for a balanced lifestyle.” This tagline works on multiple levels because it paints the brand as honest and clear.
  • All written material associated with your brand should match your brand strategy. This includes your products, brochure design, marketing materials and website. You want to convey a consistent image. A good example of this was the slogan Apple used for a long time: “Think Different.” Again, this worked on several levels because it painted the brand as smart and unique.

Choose a graphic design style
Your brand needs a look that’s in line with your brand strategy. Are you modern and sleek? Fun and colourful? Traditional and classic?

Like your language, branding your business, your company’s graphic design style should be synchronized with your marketing strategy across all of your media.

  • Create a great logo design. Your logo design increases your brand recognition in the market, and it will help you build brand loyalty with your customers. Since your logo must be well designed, hire a professional graphic design company to create it. Then, use your logo frequently and place it where it can easily be seen.
  • Choose colours that fit your brand strategy. Also, consider how using different colours affects the mood your materials convey.
  • Remember to keep things simple. You want your branding to be easily recognized and quickly remembered; the best way to accomplish this goal is to choose a unique and simple style.

At Art Fresh, we specialize in helping you define your brand identity style. Our professional creative team will develop your unique brand identity design and a Brand book, which will save you time and money in the future.

We’ve already worked out the basics of what information we need to create a solid brand strategy. Now, we will look at what you can do with this information.

So far, we have considered your business image, the characteristics of your target audience, and the tools you need for market and competitive analysis. With this information, we can create your corporate language and graphic design.

Now we want to take action and get your message to your customer. Digital marketing can be overwhelming; this piece will provide a quick overview so you know the basics.

Keep in mind the graphic design, tagline, message, and style we created in our last step and all of the background information we gathered in the three prior steps.

Develop a powerful online presence with a professional website design
In today’s world, a website is a no-brainer. It’s one of the inexpensive marketing tools you can use, but you need to put some thought into its development. Creating a web presentation that impresses your customer and builds your brand´s success will require careful execution.

You want to consider the written word or your web copy. It should reflect your target audience in language and thoughts. The purpose of compelling web copy is to get your message across and to sell your products and services.

But the written word is boring if graphic design is not a good fit. You have so many possibilities that it can be mind-boggling to choose the right design. How should the page be structured? What content do you want to include? Where should you place logos and web copy?

These questions represent just the beginning. You can also consider webshops, integrated systems, and so on. If you feel you want to get it right, contact us for advice.

Strategize your social media marketing
To extend the reach and possibilities of your branding, look at your use of social media.

Do you want to connect with your target audience on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, Pinterest and/or Google Plus? Where does your target audience spend its time? What is the most appropriate platform?

If you determine which social media platform is right for you, then you need to know how to use it. Are you creating blog articles and sharing them? Are you posting pictures related to your products and services? Are you doing market research for your accounts?

You may also want to consider other common marketing tools. For example, you can build an email list and inform your customers about news in your industry. In this way, you market your company brand as a thought leader in your niche.

Many companies, especially smaller ones, manage their own social media strategy and online marketing. In doing so, however, they may lose sight of the vast array of possibilities and neglect their core tasks.
Feel free to reach out to us if you feel stuck. 

Now that you have all of the basics of your marketing strategy, we want to give you our best possible advice on making your marketing and branding strategy a success.
Your branding rises and falls with a customer’s perception of your brand. Despite all of the new technology, word of mouth is still one of the strongest advertising tools. But how can you influence what people say about you? Here are some tips:

Deliver what you promise
Every time you create a slogan, product, or marketing campaign, you create expectations. If you have a specific branding strategy, you create expectations.

If you want to grow and last longer than the average business, you need to keep your promises and exceed your customers’ expectations. This is the number one way to influence word of mouth.

Train yourself and your employees to be aware of the promises you make and the expectations customers have; then create systems to exceed these promises. Take a look back at our guide “Who is your target audience?” and write guidelines for you and your staff to reply to customer inquiries.

Provide impeccable customer service
The biggest influence you can have on word of mouth is through your customer service. This separates you from your competition.

Instead of an automated telephone system, invest in a proficient employee to handle customer requests directly. Instead of waiting three days to reply, answer inquiries within minutes. Don’t be stingy when a customer wants to replace the product he/she bought. Satisfying your customer pays in the long run: you’re investing in keeping current customers happy instead of trying to find new ones.

Your customers will notice and appreciate your efforts. Imagine calling a large bank and not being directed to an automated system. Instead, you reach a human being who solves your problem in one call. This would make your life much easier, and you would likely recommend this bank to a friend or colleague.

Continuously improve your product
If you have a successful product, don’t stop there. Connect with your customers and find out how to create an even better product. If you ask properly, people will want to help you succeed. In the end, your customers will get a better product and feel more connected to your brand.

In summary, figure out how you can do things even better than your competition does. Your customers are the best source for answers. But if you feel overwhelmed and want some clear guidance, call us for a free marketing consultation.

You have learned the foundation of brand development and brand advertising. You have defined who you are as a company; researched your target customers; analyzed your market and competitors; considered your specialty design, taglines, message and corporate style; and learned more about the two most important marketing tools, social media market and word of mouth. That’s a long list and a lot of interesting work. But it doesn’t stop there. Now, we’re going to show you what it takes to keep your brand in top-notch condition:
1) Reassess your company brand from time to time
At some point, you should repeat all of the steps we have shown you in our branding guideline. Consider whether your company and employees are on course and if you’re still in alignment with your market. Top market players are consistently reviewing and reinventing themselves when need be. If you want to thrive, you need to continuously improve everything about your company, especially your branding.
2) Keep in touch with your customers
This is the single most important piece of advice we can give you. Your customers buy from you for a specific reason. Get in touch with your market from time to time to find out if you’re still fulfilling your market’s demands. Make small tweaks to your approach, get better and better, and stay ahead of your competition. This is an ongoing process – one you should not ignore.
Often, your customers will give you inspiration for new products. Get to know their deepest wishes and see if you can fulfill them to further grow your business.
3) Review your branding and marketing strategy
Marketing is another important ongoing task. Make sure your strategy fits your market’s needs, and find ways to make your brand strategy more efficient and less costly. Do marketing research to understand your brand positioning in the fast-changing market environment. Constant marketing will enhance your brand and company’s growth and help you gain more influence. There are many different ways to go about marketing, but we recommend hiring a professional agency.
4) Do your homework
The three previous points form just part of your homework. There are a lot of things to learn about brand identity, graphic design, marketing communication, firm style, taglines and so on. Part of your homework involves building your knowledge about such important factors.

One easy way to learn? Follow our blog at www.art-fresh.ca! We offer education about the basics of all-important marketing questions and provide free consulting if you’re in need. If you feel that you need professional help for your business marketing, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]