It is a common stereotype that when a company works with a graphic designer to create a website or marketing material for their business, it is the sole purpose of the designer to “make it look pretty.” While the aesthetic of your content is important, it should not be your only end goal. This is where having a brand strategy becomes crucial to the success of the content that you are creating.
By having an understanding of why you are in business, what you offer, and who you offer it to, the message you communicate will become more clear, and in turn will:
Bring focus to your entire business
Attract clients that are the right fit for your product or service
Build credibility around your expertise
As a business owner, sometimes the overwhelm of ideas can clutter our decision making process. Other times, the idea bank seems depleted and our motivation becomes stagnant. When either of these situations occur, our response is often the same, we begin to produce content that does not clearly communicate to our audience what we do, why we do it, and who we do it for.
When we keep these points in the forefront of our minds, it begins to show in every aspect of our business. From the layout we use for our website to the posts we share on social media, when people see our business, they should recognize a cohesive focus. You can emphasize this focus through employing predetermined design guides for your brand such as your colors, fonts, words and phrases, and image styles that look similar across all the platforms. This can include, but is not limited to, your physical storefront or office, your website, social media accounts, printed marketing material, your customer service, your packaging or delivery methods, and how you speak to others about your business.
When these pieces are aligned, your message becomes cohesive and clear.
Attract Customers that are the Right Fit for Your Product or Service
Notice that I didn’t just say, “attract clients.” When we get specific about what we do and why, we allow ourselves to get specific about who we do it for. By knowing who benefits the most from using our product or service, we can begin to articulate the value in a way that speaks directly to them.
There are two types of value that we want to highlight when we are trying to share our products or services with our ideal customer, the external and internal value. To do this, we need to know a few things about our ideal customers:
What problem do they have that they’re seeking a solution for?
Think of this as both an external and internal problem. The external problem can be simple to come up with. For MDD, our customers need a new website that is cohesive with their brand and that is easy to manage on their own.
The internal problem may take a bit more consideration. What frustrations are your customers feeling? For MDD, our customers are often overwhelmed with the idea of having to create a strategy to market their business on their own because they do not know where to begin and do not have a strong background with marketing and design.
How do they describe that problem?
What words do they specifically use when they explain their situation? When we can use the same language that our clients use, we set them up to believe that we truly understand them and can relate to their frustrations.
What do they gain when this problem is solved?
While the external gain to this problem may be an obvious answer, it is equally important that we are able to articulate what they gain emotionally when we solve their problem. These can be feelings such as reduced anxiety, reduced workload, or gaining more time.
When we have the answers to these questions, we can use them to speak directly to our customers and make them feel like we started our company and created our products to serve someone exactly like them.
Build Credibility Around Your Expertise
Studies have proven that your potential customers need to come across your brand at least 7 times before they actually notice you and start to take action? We call this the ‘Rule of 7” in the marketing world.
How does this apply to your brand though? By integrating some predetermined design guides to your content and using the same language as our customers, you are setting yourself up to look cohesive across every platform and make an immediate connection. Throw in the rapid rate at which we consume content today and consider the effect that having a quickly recognizable and relatable brand will have on your business.
It is important to note that building credibility does not always mean being the smartest person in the room. As the designated “expert” of our field, when we discuss our businesses it can be easy to use industry lingo and speak over our customers heads. If we were to rank our conversations on a scale of 1-10, from basic to advanced, we typically speak on a 9-10 level. When we try to “tone it down” so that our audience can understand, we usually only reach a level of 6-7. The problem with this is that customers build trust and purchase from us when we communicate at level of 1-3. When we communicate at a 1-3 level, we clearly communicate our message and speak in a way that is relatable and relative to where our customers are.
These 3 benefits of branding do not come instantaneously and may even require a few reflective adjustments to your overall message to make them happen, but by bringing a focus on your why, what and who, and purposely attracting customers that are the right fit for your product or service, the credibility will begin to follow.