What makes one pair of sneakers more extraordinary than the next? How do you choose between one toilet paper brand and the one next to it? As educated, intelligent, and financially independent as we may be, we are still creatures driven by emotions rather than pure reason. Otherwise, we’d never drink Coke (or Pepsi), and we wouldn’t prefer gummy worms over gummy bears. However, with so much competition in each industry and so many potential customers on the prowl, every business needs a brand in order to succeed – because the brand is what will ultimately elicit an emotional reaction and inspire loyalty.

Even though there are other elements to consider, such as price, quality, sustainability, and of course, aesthetics, the emotional element brought by branding still tips the scales in the favour of those with a powerful identity. If you’re not sure how to tackle that particular aspect of your business, let’s delve deeper into the most effective ways to build a stellar brand in 2019 and win over the hearts and minds of your audience.

Do your due diligence

Your marketing team knows the importance of numbers. However, as soon as you get your hands on one report on your target audience, your competitors, and the entire market, the numbers have already shifted a little bit. This fluent state of the market is what makes continuous research a necessity, and not merely an option for modern brands.

You need to understand where precisely your brand belongs on the market map. Have you discovered a particular gap that will help you solve a particular problem for your customers? What about your competitors, have they become more numerous in your region? Do you plan to go global? These and many other questions can only be answered when you have an in-depth understanding of your industry and your brand’s place in it.

Brand identity - brainstorming
You need to understand where precisely your brand belongs on the market map.

Define your value proposition

Considering the choice of brands your audience faces every day, yours cannot afford to merely meet their expectations – you need to exceed them. That also means that your comprehensive brand strategy should include a thorough value proposition that reflects your promise and your core values. What makes your brand the finest option currently available on the market? What’s your market “edge” to set you apart no matter who else claims a seat at the table?

If you still cannot explain the key benefits your brand offers, in language your customers will understand, then they will have a hard time recognizing why you particularly are the perfect solution to a problem. The same will be relevant when you are about to hire new employees. They need to see the value they will receive from working with you (in addition to the paycheck) and see if your values are in line with theirs.

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Embrace and ensure consistency

Old but gold, some would say, but staying true to your brand identity once you build it is more challenging than it may seem. If you have managed to build an amazing website, can you stay consistent with your tone of voice and messaging through ongoing content such as blog posts, announcements, ads, videos, and anything else that goes into your content strategy?

Even more importantly, can you extend the same approach to every outlet where your brand has a presence? More often than not, brands are not managed by a single person, especially not the visionary behind it, unless it’s truly a one-person operation. But if you have social media managers, marketing people, and content creators, they all bring something new. Making sure their voice doesn’t stifle yours is essential, as consistency in branding is what makes any brand last and outlast its competitors.

Brand identity - designs
Consistency in branding is what makes any brand last and outlast its competitors.

Don’t neglect social outlets

In 2019, the relevance of social media will not wane, but only continue to soar. The emergence of influencers, celebrities using social platforms, and a variety of social movements that start and spread through social media into our reality, all of these phenomena have allowed 2019 to become the year when brands will more than ever utilize social media to grow. Can you imagine a fashion brand that’s not on Instagram or working with a powerful model online? Or a fitness brand not harnessing the power of this same platform and its most coveted fitness stars?

The same applies to all brands from any niche out there. Social networks are now the key source to corroborate your credibility, establish yourself as an authority, and allow reviews and feedback to spread the word for you. We ask our friends and relatives for recommendations – now social platforms do the same for our global connections when it comes to every shopping decision we can make.

Branding in 2019 might be based on the existing rules, but with a contemporary twist. No matter how much skill, passion, and expertise you pour into your business make sure your branding reflects that and so much more in order to ensure its survival and its growth in the years to come.

Text: Lauren Wiseman

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