Brand image is everything in today’s cutthroat business environment and 24/7 news and information cycle. Regardless of your industry, you need a rock solid brand to stand out among competitors and capture customers’ attention.
Building a Foundation for a Strong Brand Image
The best way to build and nurture an effective brand image is through a multidisciplinary approach that combines owned, earned and paid media in a coordinated, digital ecosystem constructed of PR, social, search and other elements.
There are several requirements that you’ll need to address as you develop your brand image:
- Identify Your Key Audiences. The first step is to identify your target audiences. Your target audiences will consist of a mix of external and internal groups, including customers, partners, industry analysts and employees. It’s important to be very specific when defining your audiences. You need clarity about the groups you are targeting to craft an effective marketing strategy that will speak directly to their unique needs and concerns.
- Determine Critical Business Goals. You have to know where you are going before you can get there. Building a brand image without knowing your short-term and long-term business goals is ineffective and a waste of valuable resources.
- Define Your Brand Persona. Once you have determined your key audiences and critical business goals, you can start to build out your brand persona. Your persona should appeal to customers and articulate your most important differentiators and product benefits. Since your brand persona defines your image, it’s important to keep it simple and relevant.
- Develop Key Messaging. After you’ve defined your brand persona and image, document your key messages and align them with your audiences. Your key messages will be the most important takeaways you want your audience to walk away with after interacting with your brand. They should incorporate the unique aspects of your business and value added to customers, with a splash of your brand personality.
Next Steps for Solidifying Your Brand Image
After you have drilled down and laid the foundation for your brand image, you can ramp up your promotion activities to build a loyal customer following and generate sales. The three components that are necessary to promote your brand on a wide scale include:
- Public Relations: PR disseminates your key messages and company news in online blogs, trade publications and news outlets. By positioning your company as a thought leader and expert source on breaking news and trends, PR can improve your brand image and raise awareness.
- Content: Content is the fuel that drives integrated PR and digital marketing activities. To elevate your brand profile, you’ll need to deliver a steady stream of white papers, contributed articles, blog posts and other rich content assets to target audience segments.
- Social: Social media is a valuable tool for sharing information relevant to your industry and interacting with customers and influencers in your field. A robust social media presence can significantly increase website traffic and enhance your image with both new and existing customers.
- Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tactic that improves your company’s ranking on popular search engines like Google. To make an impact with key audiences, you’ll need to rank well for specific keywords and key phrases, increasing the amount of traffic to your company website and other digital assets.