Ever notice how the “how to build a brand” tutorials never tell you how to build a brand. They begin with esoteric and philosophical perspectives. They end with an explanation of how each brand is different, and must be handled with skill–skills that they neglected to impart. You are in luck. Today, you are reading a blog that is all about the how. It is written by an educator, so that may be the reason it so on point. 🙂 Brand building begins with three components: Market, Convenience, and Sponsorship.
In my work as a consultant, I speak of market as first and foremost behind content. Your market tells you how your content will be best packaged and distributed. Your market also tells you what sales you can expect.
Market can be used to describe two important features impacting your brand. First, it indicates WHERE you will put your energy and other resources attempting to inform buyers about your product. Second, market indicates WHO you will target as buyers, testimonials, and sponsors.
I suggest an ecological systems approach with both indicators. Begin by putting your energy WHERE your market lives. Secure a presence in the places your market frequents. Add your information in places where they typically get their information. Provide them with nuggets of information concerning your brand that they can share in their networks. Grow your influence in that immediate sphere. Allow those early adopters to evangelize to their networks. Provide them with brand-based information that makes them better able to expand their network.
It is common to provide free products to select people. You want to select people WHO have access and influence over your market even if they are not representative of the market in and of themselves. Provide them with both items that illustrate your product, but also items that advertise your brand. Make your brand synonymous with quality and charisma. Make your products indispensable.
Once you have your market defined, primed, and supported, you will want to enhance the convenience of access to your product. Many talk about “user-friendly” as the byword of convenience. It breaks into two important considerations.
First, convenience will include a responsiveness to the needs of the buyers in the sales mechanism. Ask yourself how people make the decision to purchase your product. If they need to see it, feel it, try it on, you need to ensure that your sales portal provides those opportunities.
Second, convenience will include a mechanism, responsiveness, and promotion of solutions to complaints and suggestions. Buyers want to feel like they have input and redress in the products. This need is reflected in valuation and respect for the brand.
Beyond free samples and the WHO of your market, building your brand hinges upon the relationships you make with trendsetters in the market you have targeted. You will want to personally and intentionally build relationships with influential people who touch large swaths of your target market. More than having them seen with your product, you want to get their endorsement of the brand.
Endorsement can be as impersonal as a commercial or as intimate as utilizing your product on a day off. It could be as personal as sharing your product with their mother or close friend. Either way, you want to collect these stories and popularize them.
In the lesson two of Building a Brand, we will discuss diversification of products.