Research competitor brands within your industry.
You should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry.
But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail).
The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!
We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out from what’s out there already. Don’t skip this step in the brand building process.
Research your main competitors or benchmark brands. For instance, study how well they have gone about building a brand name.
For a brand name to be effective, it needs to be easy for consumers to recognize and remember.
Creating a brand competitor research spreadsheet
Competitor research is a key element of your own brand development. Start by creating a brand competitor spreadsheet for comparison. You can use Google Sheets, Excel, or even just a notebook.
Then, answer these fundamental questions.
• Is the competitor consistent with messaging and visual identity across channels?
• What is the quality of the competitor’s products or services?
• Does the competitor have customer reviews or social mentions you can read about them?
• In what ways does the competitor market their business, both online and offline?
Choose a few competitors, two to four (2-4) is a good number for your comparison chart. You might want to take a look at other local businesses, or even aim to benchmark against name brands.
One of the biggest brand building goals is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!
3. Determine your brand’s target audience.
The foundation for building your brand is to determine the target audience that you’ll be focusing on.
You can’t be everything to everyone, right?
When brand building, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. You’ll tailor your mission and message to meet their exact needs.
The key is to get specific. Figure out detailed behaviors and lifestyle of your consumers.
I’ll explain with a few brief examples.
• Instead of “all Moms”, you could narrow down the niche to hone in on “single Moms who work full-time from home”.
• “Techy people” is too broad. But “tech-savvy early adopters who manage a large team” can narrow the focus in.
• If you are targeting “college kids”, there is definitely room to get more specific. An example could be: “college students studying abroad in Europe during the summer”.
• “Anyone who needs a job” is certainly not a niche target market. However, “retirees looking to return to the workforce in an executive position” can be!
As you can see, targeting a niche requires committing to something very focused to start.
You’ll come to realize that the competitive advantage when branding your business is to narrow your target audience focus. This can help ensure that your brand message comes across crystal clear to the intended recipient.
Solidify a picture of your consumers, then learn how to create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Your Brand Buyer Persona
Brand creation relies on truly understanding the buyer persona. Here are a few of the things to document when describing your ideal customer:
• Education Level
To get even more definition for your brand’s buyer persona, dive into these details:
• Pain points
• Brand affinities
Identifying the target audience for your services or products is an exercise that will affect and benefit all areas of your brand building process, particularly marketing efforts. You want the right person consuming your content, clicking on your ads, opting in to your email list, etc.
As a result, determining the ideal audience for your business will support your overall digital brand building strategies. It’s definitely an important first step!