Brand-building is often a long-term process. While any good strategy involves short-term campaigns and planning, it’s not unusual for companies to only see brand recognition really develop over the course of months or years.
With the right strategy, you can accelerate this process — speeding up growth without losing sight of your long-term business goals.
A two-year brand-building plan can help you balance the long and short term of your marketing efforts. Executed well, this kind of strategy can boost your brand game and help you build a business identity people recognize and are willing to trust.
Laying the Foundation for a Brand Strategy
To start, you’ll need to make sure your company’s brand is one that can be counted on — one that reflects your values, current customer base and how you want your business to grow.
Most branding strategies begin with audience research. Truly knowing who your customer base is will help you construct a brand that can appeal to them while also solving pain points they may have. Research will also help you communicate your company values with your branding.
There is a wide range of research strategies you can use. Some, like qualitative audience research, can be resource-intensive. However, they may provide you with a deep understanding of who your customers really are.
Next, you’ll want to research your competition and the market you’re in. Knowing what your competitors are doing and how they’re branding themselves will help you develop your USP, or unique selling point. Your USP is the reason why customers should pick your brand over other options.
Once you’ve got a solid idea of where you’re at and where you want to go, you can get into the specifics of your branding — like logo, name, tagline, colors and style.
Even if you already have a brand you have faith in, it’s still a good idea to research your audience and consider small tweaks that may make things even more effective.
Major rebrands can also be a good move in some situations — but often, they come at a cost. The rebranding process is often expensive, can confuse your audience and may even turn off some current customers. If they weren’t familiar enough with your brand, you might lose them during the rebranding process.
For this reason, you must start with an image you feel confident in — one that’s capable of growing with your business over those two short years.
Key Brand Concerns for the Next Two Years
As you continue to launch short-term campaigns, you also want to build frameworks and invest in resources that will be useful for your long-term strategy.
This may mean expanding your web presence to accommodate new landing pages or content, like blogs and articles. A web presence — including a professional website — is almost always a great tool for building your brand, and helps provide a stable touchpoint that persists through short-term ad campaigns.
It may also mean investigating long-term investments that can help keep you on top of your branding, like customer relationship management software.
Relationships with other companies can be an invaluable asset, as well. For example, a brand that creates products may get a lot of mileage out of developing a close working relationship with a business that designs special, branded packaging materials.
Talking to your employees and team members can also help. Often, workers who are close to clients — like customer service agents or salespeople — have unique insights about what people need and what kind of pain points they may have.
If you don’t have a large team to turn to, branding strategies for solopreneurs and small businesses can help. Networking and a social media presence can be a much more powerful tool for individual entrepreneurs and may help you with the branding process.
Small businesses sometimes have fewer resources when it comes to branding, but often, you won’t be too outclassed by your competition.
Small businesses generate 75% of all jobs and create 96% of all exported goods. They make up a huge chunk of the economy, and much of your competition will have the same tools at their disposal as your business.
Balancing Long-Term and Short-Term Thinking
Short-term wins are often critical for driving sales, but long-term branding will ultimately boost business growth and help you build strong relationships with your customer base.
There are a few schools of thought on how to balance short-term marketing needs and long-term brand objectives. Some recommend spending goals — dedicating 60% of your branding budget to long-term work and 40% to short-term campaigns.
Others recommend that you don’t think about the two as being separate or opposed to each other. Instead, you build long-term branding frameworks and invest in creativity. Your short-term campaigns and long-term thinking will come together over time, building up to create brand recognition.
In general, even as you pursue short-term term ROI from your marketing efforts, you should never lose sight of your big, overarching brand goals.
Having formal brand strategy documents and branding guidelines can help keep you on track. If you find you’re prioritizing short-term marketing over long-term branding, you could try working with your team or your business contacts to develop a plan that works for you.
Creating a Two-Year Brand Strategy That Works
Building a brand that lasts can be a real challenge — but with the right planning and execution, almost any business can find success. A two-year brand strategy will help you use the near future to solidify your business’s identity and begin building stronger relationships with your customer base.
Researching your audience and investing in brand-building resources can also pay dividends well into the future.
Knowing who you’re selling to and what they need won’t just help you build your brand — it can also make it easier to determine everything your business does, from product development to customer service.
Branding is important because not only is it what makes a memorable impression on consumers but it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice.
Branding leads to customer loyalty. Good branding elevates a business and builds recognition and loyalty. Customers are attracted to brands that share similar values with them. When you showcase what you value through branding, customers will develop an emotional connection to you.
Brand building is an ongoing process which defines your company’s vision and position in the market. From developing your Brand Guide to creating crucial brand elements such a logo and slogan, brand building process represents your company’s true spirit.