With so many industry voices clamoring for attention, so many new start-ups permeating the market, and so many customers waiting for the next big thing to hit the shelves or e-commerce site, it can be difficult for any business, let alone a new one, to stand out from the competition. The ones that succeed those that are truly know themselves—know what they stand for, who they’re aiming to please, and what they need to do to get there.
Sounds easy enough, right? The only issue: without proper planning, it can be easy to lose yourself before you even begin, even with the best of intentions. Between finding the right jargon for a mission statement to trying to determine the right mix of skill sets and service offerings that will please the largest crowd, many businesses find themselves stretched thin and without a true foundation or understanding of what exactly it is they’re aiming to achieve. The solution? Determining a brand identity early on, and sticking to the vision as closely as possible, ensuring it’s woven into every aspect of the company’s core principles and policies.
At its core, a brand is more than a statement of objectives. It’s more than just a logo, a web design, or a slogan. It’s what sets your company apart, and makes it distinctive, memorable, and relevant. Once you’ve determined your branding strategy, the next step is getting others—both industry peers and prospects—to notice it. Salesforce offers the following tips on taking your branding to the next platform, whether that’s the state level, national, or beyond:
Take it on the Road
In essence, you’ve got to be present to win. Especially in the early stages of a new business, engaging with the industry is essential. This means taking your brand and all it represents on the road—going to trade shows, conferences, and other events, sharing your company vision along the way, sharing your values, and setting the stage for very important relationships that could help shape the future of your business.
Today, a strong online presence is just as valuable as a brick-and-mortar one. Consider taking your brand vision online—starting with social media, which allows you to communicate with partners and customers alike in a matter of seconds. The best part? If you reach the right people, they can put you in contact with resources you’d never find anywhere else, boosting your sphere of influence. In fact, in a study by Market Force Information, 81 percent of U.S. respondents said their friends’ social media posts moderately-to-highly influenced them, and an almost equal number (78 percent) said posts by companies they follow on social media impacted their purchase decisions.
Assemble the Right Resources
From hiring people who are as passionate and devoted to your brand identity as you are, to ensuring the event merchandise, apparel, and signs you create accurately reflect your vision, every investment is important, and can determine the shape of your brand’s path. When creating your workforce, look for persons who reflect the type of business you’re looking to create. In a similar vein, when designing company t-shirts, briefcases, event signs, and more, craft them in a way that best represents what you’re trying to convey. The resources you send out into the field to represent your brand—be it manpower or material, are your company voices. Make sure they’re saying the right thing.
In the New Age, “finding yourself” can take on many different meanings. Thankfully, in the business world, the path to enlightenment doesn’t have to be wrought with challenges. Taking a few strategic steps to set the groundwork for your brand as early on as possible can help ensure against an identity crisis in the future. After all, if it really is “all about who you know”—make sure you know yourself first.
Tomita, Taylor, “Creating a Brand Identity For Your Business,” Salesforce, December 16, 2015.