Today’s marketing landscape looks an awful lot like a war zone. Consumers are barraged every moment of their waking hours with brands logos, taglines and jingles, all amidst the struggle to stand out. Companies masquerade their advertisements as social media posts, articles or infomercials. This brand bombardment has consumers hiding, driven to pay for premium versions of streaming services that eliminate advertisements. Today’s consumers are becoming numb to messaging, utilizing their selective hearing to weed out the narrative.
As a startup trying to establish a brand, that’s not great news. So how do you stand out amidst the chaos? You create your brand messaging to add value that speaks with your target market, not at them.
By adding value, rather than noise, your target customer wants to hear more from you, not less. You must put yourself in a relevant position in which the consumer is open to receiving your content.
How to develop big brand impact on a small budget
The secret to creating a memorable brand is not about how much money you spend, but about how much time and thought you put into creating said brand.
Think about what defines a brand in the first place. Is it your company logo? Is it your company name, website or tagline? Branding is comprised of tangible items that create an intangible. This intangible is your company’s purpose, vision, values, mission and, ultimately, your promise to your customers.
Southwest Airlines is a great example of a well-known brand that made a significant impact on its industry with a simple message that resonated with its customers.
Southwest analyzed the industry and its competitors, comparing this analysis to what the marketplace was demanding. Air travelers wanted a dependable, inexpensive means of travel in which they felt valued. Airlines had become perfunctory in their treatment of travelers. The industry was reduced to the likes of a flying bus, with airports looking and feeling like a bus station. The glory and luxury of airline travel had become a thing of the past.
There was no longer that sense of glamour in flying, so Southwest decided to redefine it. In order to do so, they created a new systematic method of inexpensive travel while offering passengers a fun and friendly experience.
Define your business purpose
A great place to start is by determining what purpose your business serves to your customers and building your brand around that. Who is your business, or what does your business mean to customers?
Define your purpose (i.e. make a promise to your customer) and tap into your customer’s emotional needs. In order to define your brand differently from your competitors, stand out by creating a brand statement that promises a certain outcome to your customer. Give them a reason to remember you; strive to understand them and give them a good reason to seek out your business’ products or services.
Going back to our prior example, Southwest started by defining its business purpose as, “To connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
Create a company vision
Next, address your company’s vision. The vision is comprised of the reasons you exist and why you are different. The vision is what a company stands for and its short and long-term goals.
Going along with the previous example, Southwest then defined its vision as, “To become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline.”
Make a list of your values
Company values are attitudes and guiding principles established and taught within your organization. Your values should reflect your company vision and the reason for its existence (i.e. your company purpose).
Make a list of your values that drive your company mission.
Develop a mission statement
Your company’s mission statement should differ slightly from the purpose. With the mission statement, you are making a statement to people outside of your company, while your purpose is meant for your internal team. The mission statement is intended for your customers, partners and suppliers.
The mission statement is a culmination of your company’s values, blended with your purpose and vision.
Build a succinct and meaningful tagline
Your tagline is a culmination of your purpose, values and mission. It should be short and sweet, as well as unique and powerful. A tagline sums up the essence of your company. Consumers should recognize you when they hear this tagline and understand what it means.
For example, Southwest coined and trademarked the term “Transfarency®” to describe the philosophy of keeping low fares available to customers in a fair and honest manner. Then, they took it one-step further and boiled down another message into a succinct tagline. Air travelers felt like they were being nickeled and dimed, so Southwest came up with “Bags Fly for Free” to reinforce their values and purpose to set themselves apart from other airlines.
Create a brand strategy
Once you have a defined business purpose, vision, values and mission statement, creating a branding strategy will be much easier. You cannot perform these tasks in reverse order, either. Your goal is to create a brand that stands out, clearly defines you, and speaks to your customer, not at them.
The tangible part of branding includes things like your logo, colors, fonts, business cards, etc. All of this will be easier to execute given that you have solidified your intangible brand message.
In today’s chaotic marketing environment, you need to spend the extra time and effort thinking through your company brand, so that you stand out as special and neither bothersome nor mundane.