Building a brand is the first step in establishing a dominant online presence. Your brand, your corporate identity, should be the consistent center of every branch in your marketing strategy, from your website and social media presence to your content and paid ads. Without a solid, memorable brand to spark a relationship between your company and your customers, you’ll miss out on the enormous potential your business has.
Every business is unique, and every brand needs to stand apart as something original, especially in a competitive landscape. However, there are seven essential brand qualities that serve as prerequisites to capture and keep consumers’ attentions:
Imagine two brands. One you consider trustworthy, and one you do not consider trustworthy. If forced to make a purchasing decision between these two brands, which one would you choose? Trustworthiness should be an obvious quality to go after for your brand, but many companies neglect to prioritize it. You can improve your perceived trustworthiness by ensuring the accuracy and validity of each and every one of your posts. One misstated fact, false claim, or misleading piece of information can wreck your trustworthy reputation, so double check everything. Aside from that, just make sure you remain honest, and your reputation will naturally follow.
Asserting yourself as an authority in a given space takes some time, but it also forces you to exaggerate your expertise in a given area. That doesn’t mean inflating your capabilities or lying about your status, but it does mean choosing your words carefully when describing your business. For example, including references to your certifications or your history can make you seem like more of an authority, as can calling out the fact that your content has been featured in major publications. It also helps if your company is mentioned or gains the approval of other influencers in the industry—so start networking!
Many companies choose the logical, conservative approach when it comes to communicating with their audiences. It’s less risky that way, but it also has a way of alienating your followers. People don’t want to deal with a faceless, bland corporation—not in any context, and not in any industry. If you want to seem more appealing and truly resonate with your potential customers, you need to inject your messages with a little more emotion. Show it off when you’re happy. If your company announces some bad news, show that it’s personally affecting you. Otherwise, you’ll come off as robotic.
This goes along with the emotional element, as customers are more naturally drawn to brands that seem like people. What you really need to do is inject a bit of your own personality into the brand personality you intend to demonstrate. Add a bit of characteristic flair with some colloquial language, informal expressions, and a bit of direct humor. Doing so will make your brand seem more human and more approachable, and it’s going to lead to more people seeking you out for their needs. It also helps to show off the names and faces of your team—especially on social media.
Openness goes along with trustworthiness, but it is a distinct characteristic. People want to engage with brands that aren’t afraid to hide anything from their customers. For example, when facing controversy, many large modern brands choose the route of ambiguity—hiding or speaking in generalities about whatever subject is being hotly debated by their fans. This leads to a sense of distrust, or a sense that the brand doesn’t have the people’s best interests in mind. Instead, be open about anything and everything you can be. Develop a reputation that you’re willing to share information with your followers.
Obviously, helpful brands are going to get more attention than apathetic ones, but showcasing this trait is harder than it might seem. All you can really do is pay attention and look for opportunities where your brand can step in and do something valuable. Watch for people complaining about your products, and step in to try and resolve the situation. Find individuals with problems in forums and offer your own advice. Include tutorial or FAQ sections on your website, and go out of your way to ensure your customer service processes are unrivaled.
Finally, you’ll have to show off how passionate you are about your business. Corporations that are in it only to make profit come off as evil, intimidating, or otherwise alienating. Companies that appear to truly enjoy what they do and live and breathe that culture have a far better reputation, and tend to fare better in attracting new customers in their marketing programs. Shine a spotlight on individuals of your team, show off your latest and greatest accomplishments, and do whatever it takes to show you really care about the industry.
As you develop your company’s brand, try to keep these seven qualities at the forefront. Along the way, you’ll develop your own original brand personality, various quirks that differentiate you from your competitors, and landmark initiatives that continue to define and sculpt your brand, but these seven core qualities of your identity will serve as your foundation. If you can exhibit these qualities, you’ll have a much easier time attracting an initial audience and retaining an initial following so you can experiment with the more superficial and idiosyncratic elements of your brand.