“Brand” is a term that gets thrown around so constantly and casually that it can be hard to define. A helpful way to think of branding is that it is the avenue to the general public’s perception of your company and product. As such, it is vitally important that you steer the public towards a representation of your business that is both accurate and positive. Here are some tips that will help your brand identity resonate with your base of potential customers.

Learning About Your Customers

While it may seem like the most elementary of steps towards building a business and branding strategy, a surprising number of companies don’t take the time to learn about their customers. Specifically, it is critical to understand how they make their buying decisions, and what influences them. For example, if your target demographic is younger, they may be looking for the lowest price. If they are older, they may be more concerned with higher quality materials and better warranties.

There has never been a better time to access insights into your customers and audience. Using the analytics provided by search engines and social media ad accounts, you can see where your customers are coming from, how long they are visiting you online, what your sales conversion rate is, and where they are going after they leave your sites. This information is out there. Don’t ignore it!

Crafting Your Narrative

One of the key elements of branding is to build a narrative that both tells your business’ story and carves out a specific market position for your offering. Are you a challenger, how can prove that they can compete with the market leader? Or are you an underdog with a niche product or a different approach that will disrupt the competition and change your category? How you present yourself ultimately makes a huge difference in how the public perceives you.

Connecting Emotionally

Building off the idea of crafting a strong positioning narrative, you must connect with your customers on an emotional level as well. Use the insights you’ve gathered to chart their values, and the problem your product can solve for them. Build your advertising messaging and branding statements around this.

Building a brand requires long term thinking and commitment, but always track your progress. If you’re not making the impression you want, thoughtfully tweak your strategy. Use these guidelines as a road map to help you plan.