It's a crowded marketplace out there. No matter what kind of business you have, and no matter what you're selling, you're competing with someone.
Remember that competition isn't just a matter of selling the same products.
Your blog content and your Facebook ads are competing for attention with tons of other stimuli in a person's immediate environment.
You're not the only item in their news feed, after all.
One of the most important ways of setting yourself apart from the pack is creating a strong, well defined brand identity.
When it comes to many product categories — especially B2C items like jewelry, apparel, and home decor — people aren't buying a product.
They're buying a brand.
Brands are an entity with which consumers form an emotional relationship.
When you can harness that, and you can make your customers feel something, you've got a serious edge in the marketplace.
In a recent blog post, Hubspot talks about seven of the most important aspects of brand identity.
How can you define your business' purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:
Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business is to make money.
Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.
While making money is a priority, operating under that notion alone does little to set your brand apart from others in your industry.
Our advice? Dig a little deeper.
If you need inspiration, check out the brands you admire, and see how they frame their mission and vision statements.
In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive.
Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty.
To avoid leaving potential customers struggling to put the disconnected pieces of your business together, consider the benefits of creating a style guide.
A style guide can encompass everything from the tone of voice you'll use to the color scheme you'll employ to the way you'll position certain products or services.
By taking the time to define and agree upon these considerations, your brand will benefit as a whole.
Customers aren't always rational.
Why? People have an innate desire to build relationships.
Find a way to connect with your customers on a deeper, more emotional level.
Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier?
Use emotional triggers like these to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty.
In this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant. On the plus side, this frees you to be creative with your campaigns.
So if your old tactics aren’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to change. Just because it worked in the past doesn't mean it's working now.
Take the opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways.
Are there some out-of-the-box partnerships your brand can make?
Are there attributes about your product you never highlighted?
Use those to connect with new customers and remind your old ones why they love you.
5) Employee Involvement
As we mentioned before, achieving a sense of consistency is important if you wish to build brand recognition.
And while a style guide can help you achieve a cohesive digital experience, it's equally important for your employees to be well versed in the how they should be communicating with customers and representing the brand.
If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn't make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?
If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there.
Reward them for that love.
These customers have gone out their way to write about you, to tell their friends about you, and to act as your brand ambassadors.
Cultivating loyalty from these people early on will yield more returning customers — and more profit for your business.
7) Competitive Awareness
Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand.
You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.
Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail?
Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company.
And while staying in tune with your competitor's strategies is important if you want to enhance your brand, don't let them dictate each and every move you make.
Sure, you probably sell a similar product or service as many other companies, but you're in business because your brand is unique.
You can read more about the essential foundations of brand strategy in the full blog post from Hubspot.
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