Build Your Brand In 3 Steps

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In addition to increased competition, one of the side effects of the age of social media marketing has been a renewed focus on brand.

In addition to increased competition, one of the side effects of the age of social media marketing has been a renewed focus on brand. While the brand behind a product or service has always been an important component of a company’s success, today it’s critical. The startup culture is lending new opportunities to burgeoning companies that are eager to carve out places for themselves in their respective industries. However, as newly formed entities, they cannot necessarily rely on product interest or trust to siphon away buyers from more established players. Instead, they focus on building out an engaging and alluring brand story, voice and aesthetic.

The opportunity to deliver facets of a newly formed brand to potential consumers has been made exponentially easier thanks to the rise of social media. Every single day consumers spend 1 hour and 56 minutes on social media networks. More specifically, they spend 40 minutes on YouTube, 35 minutes on Facebook, 25 minutes on Snapchat, 15 minutes on Instagram, and 1 minute on Twitter. Although these users don’t necessarily log into their accounts to engage with brands or glean product information, the significant time they invest day in and day out to browsing their news feeds gives brands an incredible opportunity to get on their radars with relevant and targeted marketing campaigns.

When people are browsing through social media they’re looking to be entertained, informed, or inspired, and a strong brand has the potential to fulfill all three of those needs. Because consumers are already of that mindset as they browse, they’re relatively open to being served new content from emerging brands so long as the actual brand – meaning the voice, story, and aesthetic – is appealing. Consumers aren’t going to stop scrolling through their Instagram feeds when they see a post about a new skincare line, but they will take notice if said skincare line delivers a message and tone that is eye-catching and emotionally appealing.

Every emerging brand has to focus on how it develops and deploys content across each major platform – because these individual posts may be the keys to putting a new brand on the map. Yes, coming up with the perfect brand logo is important, but it’s only the first step. Adventure Bucket List, a startup that makes it easy for tourists to book activities and excursions, is focusing on its voice and aesthetic on social media as it continues to grow. The company regularly features beautiful travel shots with a friendly and encouraging voice that help it to break through the travel content noise and connect with an audience looking for travel inspiration and support.

Essentially building a strong brand comes down to three main components: story, voice, aesthetic.

Story:

When you think of Facebook, you don’t just think of the most powerful social platform that has transformed the way we connect with one another and consume information. It’s likely that you also think of a Harvard dropout in a hooded sweatshirt toiling away at his computer and building what would become one of the most transformative developments of the 21st century. The backstory behind Facebook looms as large as its product itself, and the lore of the boy-genius behind it all has spawned an entire generation of young entrepreneurs looking to create a product with the same global reach. Although Facebook’s early product was likely strong enough to gain a global footing on its own, it was definitely supported by the media and cultural interest in the story, people, and drama behind the network. The story of how Facebook came to be was integral in putting the platform on the map in its early days. Shaping and sharing the history behind your brand, including your inspiration, your initial idea, the countless iterations, and even, the struggles you may have been forced to overcome along the way are all elements that can humanize a product or service and enable individual consumers to find personal connections.

Voice:

Especially in this age of abbreviations and emoticons, the linguistic appeal of a brand is more crucial than ever before. Consumers want to feel connected to every element of a brand; if a company’s pictures are warm and friendly but their copy is formal and overtly proper, customers will sense an immediate disconnect that will first confuse, then turn them off. The key to developing a strong brand voice is to first understand your market. Mapping out exactly who you are speaking to, and then determining how they speak to one another is key to nailing the tone and vernacular. The startup makeup brand Glossier is one emerging company that has built a cult following through both innovative products and strong branding – especially in the way that they speak. Glossier’s mission is to make beauty accessible and inspirational to a generation of young, online shopping women. Glossier knows that it is not speaking to a 65 year old who has worn nothing but Chanel her whole life, but rather, a 25 year old who is open to experimentation and looking for inspiration. Across their channels they pepper their content with culturally relevant references and catchphrases and emojis so that it feels like a friend, not a brand, is personally speaking to each customer.

Tone:

Social media has highlighted the importance of brand imagery. With more digital channels, there are more customer touch points for a brand to consumer and interact with brand information. Most social media channels are built with visuals in mind, and how a company aesthetically portrays itself can be the distinguishing factor between whether or not it resonates with target consumers. Outdoor Voices is a startup that honed in on its visual identity right from the start. The brand sought to offer new recreational wear to men and women who didn’t necessarily identity with the hardcore athlete or yogi vibe deployed by other athleisure producers. Outdoor Voices, instead, celebrates movement and activity of every kind – not just spinning and crossfit. Because they take a softer approach to fitness, their images are reflect a soft, sunny, and welcoming vibe. Muted tones, smiling models, and group shots of friends socializing, rather than competing, while moving are all hallmarks of Outdoor Voice’s visual tone.

To get started on deciphering your brand’s story, voice, and visual tone, you can try to deconstruct your brand by breaking it apart into small pieces. Sometimes viewing your brand from new angles can give you greater insight into how each piece fits together and what you really stand for. Thanks to social media, you have the tools to deliver a fully formed brand to the screens of target consumers, but you first have to take the right steps to develop each facet of your brand.