A 10 Step Brand Development Strategy for your Professional Services Firm
For an established business, your brand is often the most valuable asset you have. That is why logically, taking the time to strengthen your brand should be at the top of your priorities list. As a top web development company, we have developed an approach which we share with all of our clients and today we are sharing our 10 Step Brand Development Strategy for your Professional Services Firm with you.
Why is your Brand Important?
Your brand and brand image are so much more than a logo and color scheme. Many owners think of their brand secondarily, as something that is needed for a business but isn’t that important because it does not add value to either their products or services.
That couldn’t be more wrong.
Your brand is a representation of your business. Customers aren’t just buying a product or service, they are also buying what your brand stands for and represents.
- It makes an impression – Making a good first impression is important in both personal and business settings. That first impression is formed in seconds and for your business, it’s a reflection of superficial impressions such as a great looking logo or slogan. Back when business cards were a standard of business you could tell a lot about someone simply based on the effort put into a business card such as using a matte finish, reflective logos, or a tactile element compared to a generic card. Your branding is what makes that first impression to customers across all channels.
- It creates recognition – A great brand is instantly recognizable. Consider the biggest brands on the world stage that you recognize just by glancing at their logos such as the Nike Swoosh or the shade of red that Coca-Cola uses for its labeling. By steadily putting effort into your brand and creating a consistent brand image your business can develop into an easily recognizable one too.
- It demonstrates credibility – If you continually work on your brand, creating a stable brand image that reflects your values, the more credible your business becomes. People know what to expect from your business and what they will get out of having a relationship with it.
10-Step Brand Development Strategy
- Review your business strategy – Your brand concept needs to fit within the framework of your existing business plan. You utilize your brand to help your business grow and meet the goals of your plan. The two plans need to work together so it is important to revisit the business strategy prior to creating the brand development strategy. This is the most important aspect of creating a brand development strategy.
- Narrow your target client demographic – Far too many clients have a very wide target demographic, some going as far as listing “everybody” as a potential client. As nice as that would be, it is highly unrealistic and often prevents a firm from reaching its potential. The larger a target audience you have, the more diluted your marketing efforts will be. This leads to lower conversion rates and ROI while a more narrowed focus results in better marketing results, increased ROI, faster growth, and ultimately higher profits.
- Research your target client demographic – Once you have trimmed down your target it is time to learn everything you can about them. You need to jump into their shoes and fully understand their priorities, problems, and perspective. By doing this you can better anticipate their wants and needs which allows you to create focused messaging that will resonate. Additionally, research will help you discover how your business and brand are perceived including strengths and weaknesses. Researching your target demographic is a practice that should be done regularly for higher levels of growth and profitability.
- Craft a brand statement – The brand statement can be difficult to craft because many businesses are trying to do too many things at once. That is one reason it is such a crucial step in the process as you need to have a narrow focus to better achieve success. Your brand statement will be 3-5 sentences and will describe your brand in regard to how your business is different than the competition along with why potential customers in your target demographic should want to utilize your goods or services to fulfill their needs. It is important that the statement is something your business should continually need to work to achieve.
- Create a name, logo, and slogan – If your business is already in existence your current name is most likely the name you should use. However, if you are stuck with a name that might not fit the direction of the business a change could be in order. In either case, a new logo and slogan should be created to match the new direction of this strategy. An important note; your logo and slogan are just symbols of your brand. They are a way to communicate with your audience (and potential audience) and as such should be designed based on what will resonate with your target demographic. Just make sure not to overdo a logo. In many cases simple or elegant should be the goal. Lastly, sure to trademark your brand! All that hard work needs to be protected.
- Research the competition – It is important to be aware of what your competitors are doing. This is doubly important when creating a brand development strategy. Much like audience research, competition research should take place regularly to see what they are doing that works, what doesn’t work, how you can be unique in your products or services, and what you should focus on to stay ahead of them.
- Create a messaging strategy – Consistency is a must, especially in a multi-platform environment. The best way to do this is with a clear messaging strategy to turn your brand statement into messages that will reach your target audiences. Each group should be getting the same message regardless of their relationship to your business (clients, partners, influences, or potential employees) just with different emphasis and focus.
- Create a content marketing strategy – Take the time to develop a strategy around your brand. A goal within content marketing should be to strengthen and drive the brand by increasing your reputation and reach. This is done with quality content that reflects your brand values and goals. Help build your brand up by being useful and an authority in your niche for your customers.
- Create a website – Your website is the single most important tool for developing your brand. It is the new business card and often the location where first impressions are made. People are going to come to this place to have needs fulfilled. Prospective customers will decide to do business with you, or not, solely based on your website. It is critical that you have a site built that conveys your brand message and meets the needs of your customers.
- Apply the strategy – You would think that anyone who starts down the road of creating a brand development strategy would automatically employ it, however far too often that doesn’t happen. People are busy with tasks that require immediate attention while building your brand is something that can be done “later”. But if you want to grow your brand and thus business it needs to be applied, monitored, and adjusted.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that a brand development strategy is just as important to a business as your business plan. You simply can’t grow a business effectively without focusing on branding anymore because the world is such a crowded place that standing out has grown exponentially harder. Our 10-Step Brand Development Strategy for your Professional Services Firm can get you started on the road to increased growth and revenues.
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