The process of elevating a company to the level of a recognizable brand is to hike a difficult path—branding has come to mean so many things and involve so many diverse tactics that it seems impossible to keep up with the pace of new trends and branding innovation.
Even with the sands constantly shifting, there are rules and specific strategies to follow. The several years of concurrent development which has intertwined branding and inbound marketing have given us a good idea of what does and doesn’t work.
But with so much content written about how to brand all over the place, it can feel overwhelming to seek it all out. Keep these points in mind to ensure your brand is on the right track:
- The first and most obvious step—ensure that your brand’s aesthetic from the logo to the color scheme and fonts is recognizable on all branded platforms. Your website’s blog, the company’s Facebook page, emails sent to prospects and clients, and everything else should be properly draped in the signature visual style of your company.
- How does your brand engage with people? It doesn’t solely have to be authoritative or irreverent, but the brand’s voice must be a fleshed-out, unified one.
- What does your company take seriously, what are its values, and what does it find entertaining or funny? Think of the brand as a person with diverse interests—having a consistent voice when covering any subject will help readers and watchers identify that voice with your brand.
- Keep your company’s differentiators in the minds of your visitors. What it does differently and better should come across in branded content and be a part of the CTAs in any given piece of inbound material.
Remember who your target demographics are
- Developing thorough and dynamic buyer personas will help stay you on message when covering different topics.
- Those personas represent not only specific groups of your consumer base, but also their concerns, desires, and pursuits—the things which flesh them out as humans. Those traits likewise flesh out your buyer personas and make them far more effective in guiding the tone and topics of your inbound content.
- If you’re reaching the right segments of people they will respond to engaging content, first by revisiting your brand’s page and then by commenting and sharing.
- Regardless of how pretty a piece of inbound content looks or how interesting the message is, consumers are not dumb—they’ll still recognize it as marketing material. There’s an inherent skepticism which leads people to assume that the content is a one-way ticket from the brand’s page to their eyes.
- Giving visitors little assurances that your brand is paying attention to what people are saying—replying to comments, doing a follow-up Q & A with actual readers’ questions, thanking people who share the content—does a lot to assuage that skepticism.
Create a community around the brand
- Leverage that communication into more fulfilling interactions. The more that each visitor to your brand’s pages feels like they’re being heard, the more they’ll feel welcome in the brand’s presence.
- Create a platform through your inbound content that fosters not only interactions with the brand but with their peers who are also engaging with it. Social media makes it easier for the place where you post your inbound marketing material to also become a community of devoted fans who share your content with their wider group of connections.
Track, gather, and adapt
- In a word: Learn.
- Robust data-gathering and analytics are essential for determining whether current inbound efforts are effective and what sort of content should come next.
- Branding isn’t rigidly permanent, it’s adaptive and needs good data to inform those adaptations.
It’s by no means the entire picture, but this checklist is a set of important guideposts. Sometimes the basics bear repeating as a reminder to execute the fundamentals well, just like an athlete. With the core concepts down and the tasks above coming naturally, you can build your brand’s presence to a higher level of efficacy.