Want to build a unique, powerful brand that stands the test of time? Then read on for advice that will propel your business to the next level.
You’re here because you’re confused about what branding is, and whether you need it and if you do, what you should look for in a brand strategist.
First, you’ll learn what the different aspects of branding are, and to understand where you are in the brand journey so you know which services to enquire about.
In this post, you will find information about why having a strategy helps and what to expect when employing a strategist.
What is Branding?
Branding is essentially how you present yourself to the world as a company. It’s how you want to be perceived by your audience. You can read more about what branding is in the post: 5 Reasons your business needs a brand.
There are many ways you can be. Please read the following post on brand personality X and Y, which goes into detail on types of persona, and tones of voice you can use to present yourself.
There are several stages to creating a brand and it’s advised that you don’t skip any of them. A good agency will begin with a Brand Audit, help develop Brand Identity, develop Brand Strategy, Brand Guidelines, Content Strategy and Social Media Strategy.
I offer all these services except the Brand Identity.
What is a brand audit?
A brand audit is an assessment of your current brand. It looks at message coherency on your website and other channels, whether you have a Unique Selling Point USP, what the public perception of your brand is and gives a competitor analysis.
This audit is a foundational report providing essential data to enable you and your marketers to understand where you are at the moment. It helps to highlight any areas you are doing well in, and other areas that a missing, and also serves as a baseline to recognise what you like about what you are doing, what you’d like to do more of, and often some of the brand personality can be identified and refined.
A brand audit should be delivered as a report that you can read and understand and give you some clues as to what you are doing well and where you’re falling short – where improvements and adjustments can be made.
This foundation is essential before the strategy can be developed.
Brand strategy builds on the brand audit by taking the data and using it to develop a powerful and durable strategy that will give you a leg-up against your competitors, help you stand out and attract more high-quality customers.
A brand strategy report should include research on the intended audience, discussions had regarding options, and a summary report of decisions made for the brand.
Sometimes these are included as a package with the strategy, but sometimes they are not, so it’s important to check this with your strategist. The Brand Guidelines are an essential document for any business that has teams of people working in marketing, writing or content of any kind that communicates with the public. The more people you have working in your company, the easier it is for a brand to become diluted and inconsistent. Having a sleek document that explains tone of voice, formatting, images, colour usage and even specific vocabulary do’s and don’ts is a precious thing to ensure consistency across all your platforms.
Once you have all the above in place, it’s time to think about the exact ways in which you can reach the customers you want.
Using the data from the audit, and doing further research into buyer personas if necessary, it’s time to decide what you want to write about and how you’re going to hook people searching on google.
This is a multi-step process. We’ll look at content buckets, SEO, tone of voice, USP and opening up a dialogue with your audience. As well as list-building and lead nurturing.
If you have products to sell, you must not underestimate the last.
Social Media Strategy
Once you have your content strategy in place and have blog posts scheduled and ready to go, the next step is to choose your social media channels and plan your campaigns. Social media is a way of sharing your blog posts, but it can also do a whole bunch more! Each channel has its own quirks and idiosyncrasies peculiar to it and so different strategies are important.
How much does branding cost?
This depends on the size and scale of your business. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can expect to pay £1000-5000 for partial or complete branding services., medium-sized businesses £5000-10,000, while large scale business can pay upwards of £10,000.
What’s included in the cost of branding?
Always check your contract meets your needs. Every brand specialist will work differently and offer different things in their packages. Ideally, you will want to discuss this pre-contract stage. Make sure you ask your freelancer what is included and don’t be afraid to ask them to explain or elaborate.
What if I don’t have the budget for branding?
Most freelancers are happy to negotiate contracts, project work and payment plans, so it’s worth asking what they can do that is within your budget. Even slow incremental steps forward towards your branding goal will get you there eventually.
As you’ve seen, branding has scope and variety. There’s no one size fits all approach, and it depends on your product, industry, and scale of your business. Be prepared to talk about what you need and what your goals are. If you are interested in working with me please send me an email or query through the contact page.