Written by: Anna-Karin Lingham, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Some people love to start working with the visible marketing stuff when they launch a company—things like a website, giveaways, and a fancy logo. That is all fine. However, if you don’t have some basic areas in place first, these things are likely to send out a split picture of what your brand stands for.
Your target group—if you know who you are aiming for—will have a hard time determining whether they want to spend time and money with you or not. Honestly, people will not understand whether they belong to your target group or not. So instead, make sure that you put your feet on the ground first with a steady and easy-to-use brand platform, a clear target group, and a plan for your visibility on the market.
1. Shape your brand platform.
The purpose of a brand platform is to give you a compass that leads you in the right direction in both big and small questions. The more focused and consistent you are, the clearer your image will be on your market. Depending on the size and ambition of your company, your brand platform can be more or less extensive. Make sure to include a few things:
Vision. Your view of the future, like a shining star on the horizon. Your vision may not ever be fully reached, but it gives a true meaning and direction to your work.
Values. The way you do things. 3-4 values should be enough. Make sure that you define what each value means to you and your company. If you are a group of co-workers or a larger company, everyone needs to agree on the same definitions. For example, if all colleagues radiate ”passion” in everything they say and do, your brand will eventually be associated with ”passion” on the market.
Positioning. How you stand out on the market, in contrast to your competitors. Draw a map of every alternative brand that your target group may consider choosing. How do they differ from each other? How do you differ from them? Do you need to add or subtract anything to stand out and make a true difference for your target group?
When you have decided on these things, make sure to live them! Every day, in every decision and context. You will find that many things will fall easier into place.
2. Define your target group.
If you aim at everyone, you aim at no one. Your message will then be too wide and neutral to attract engaged customers who need and want your service. So who do you want to talk to, interact with, and convince to be your client?
I suggest that you reflect on different areas. Many companies define a target group based on geography, age, education, and other common demographic parameters. Could you instead think outside the box and define your target group based on new ways of buying, searching, and networking? Will you find the right people through social media as supporters of a certain influencer/artist/educator? Do they have a niche interest that is connected to your products and services?
When you define your target group from a different angle, you may very well have found a great competitive advantage for your offer.
3. Boost your visibility.
So now you have your brand platform in place and your target group defined. It is time to let them know more about you, become interested, buy your products and services and eventually start loving them.
These are some pieces of advice that I would like to give you.
Choose the right marketing channels. Put your effort and money where your target group spends most of their time.
Send out consistent messages aligned with your brand platform. Ensure that your target group gets a clear picture of what you stand for and why they should choose you.
Be present over time. One post or banner now and then is not enough. Make a plan for a long-term and consistent presence in your main channels.
Interact with your target group. Answer their questions and comments. Use an attractive language that suits your brand and your target group. Align with them, and they will align with you.
Working with your brand may seem tricky at first, but once you get some basics in order, you will probably find that it is a lot of fun. It is both strategic and tactic. It involves both products, services, and people. I love to work with branding and wish the same for you!
Anna-Karin Lingham, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Anna-Karin Lingham is a branding expert with a great interest in both business and people. Since more than twenty years back, she has worked with marketing, branding, and business development both in Sweden and in an international arena. She has had leading roles in companies like the Axfood group, the global premium brand Hästens Beds, the health company Apotek Hjärtat and the sports fashion brand Björn Borg. She has launched the concept of Ambassador Branding, where corporate and personal branding meets great financial results, strong job satisfaction, and brilliant ambassadorship on the market.
Anna-Karin has been appointed Mentor of the year by the Stockholm Marketing Association. She has written a guidebook in personal branding and is an active business developer, speaker, and mentor. She is also an artist and outdoor adventurer, with a special fondness for high mountains. Her mission is to help companies and individuals to open their own windows and take place in greener and greater arenas.