According to Entrepreneur, branding is the widely used phrase in the business world, and meanwhile, the least understood.
For CEO of Ascend Agency, Jonathan Jadali a form of public relations that works with leading Fortune 500 companies, a brand is not a solid thing. As he told me recently, it is “a strong feeling that a business creates in the minds of its customers, that creates an emotional bond and passion for their businesses and produces loyalty.”
Here are some more examples of Jadali’s three-step approach to building a lasting brand.
Find your soul
A business without a soul can get sales, but it can never attract followers. “I have worked with scores of companies, and I always noticed which ones had a strong brand the moment I received their initial emails,” Jadali explains. “I could feel the soul of the company oozing out from the letters as I read them. Until you find your soul, the ‘why’ behind your business, it’s hard to make any kind of impact.”
This phase of research should begin with an internal audit of your brand’s marketing approach, services, products, and an external audit of your customer base’s relationship to your industry in general and your company in particular. Then you need to remove those features that you don’t like and enable the ones that you need.
Once that’s done, add that emphasis to your designs (logos, graphics, etc.), Staff training, social media content, customer touchpoints, and email campaigns. The ability to consistently reflect your purpose across all areas of your business is what begins to form that sense of oneness in the hearts of your customers.
Develop cult devotion
They say respect is mutual, so is loyalty. It is unwise to expect extreme commitment from a customer base to which you are not very loyal, and you cannot be dedicated to a base whose needs you do not know.
According to Jadali, many brands want to build a cult accordingly to their customer base, but when we delve deeper into brand strategy, most companies either don’t know exactly who that audience should be, or they haven’t taken the time to develop cult loyalty to their base.”
Each company should spend its time in “base discernment.” The first step is to find commonalities in your base, be it age lifestyle, range, gender, health conditions, fashion preferences, locality, etc. Then you should start building your brand image based on these discoveries. For example, an all-black marketing theme might work for a menswear brand, but it can fail miserably for a women-focused line.
Always show up with value
“With all content you put out, every campaign you start and every place you appear, you are animating your company in one direction or the other,” Jadali says. “It is similar to how we perceive people; your brand has a personality that is discerned by what you associate yourself with, where you show up, what you say, and how you say it. If all you do is marketing, you reduce your chances of making sales.”
Also, the key is appearing on the right platforms where you are sure to meet your customer base. For example, a brand serving teenage girls needs to take TikTok more seriously than other variants. “Authority positioning,” as Jonathan Jadali calls it, is the art of getting your brand visible where it matters most. You need to take an empirical approach to guest posting, social media marketing, and SEO. It is much better to appear in fewer places than to appear in the wrong places; businesses should spend more time researching than just trying to get attention.
When you show up, you have to sell effectively, but also, you have to find all possible ways to identify with your customer base and create a chemistry that they share with your brand. This usually means offering non-marketing value to your customer base and learning their sentiments.
One of the most necessary parts of your PR strategy is an active presence on all relevant sites. It doesn’t just allow you to identify more with your base; it also helps you track chatter so you know how customers are feeling. This way, you can always change the direction of your business to make sure your goal is being met.
Marketing, sales, people, products, and services can form the necessary infrastructure to do your business profitably. However, mastering the art of effective branding is the key to remain profitable on an ongoing basis.