Branding for small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) is critical when navigating the crowded competitive marketplace. To make an impact you’ve got to differentiate yourself from the pack. Be bold, don’t be afraid to take a stand, because without a clearly defined purpose driving your brand, you’ll just get lost in the mix.
The results from purpose-driven brands speak for themselves. They focus on solving consumer problems through their brand’s mission statement, vision, operational process, company culture, and visual identity. By doing so, they end up developing a sustainable and emotional attachment to the consumer (aka brand loyalty) which is an integral part in increasing everything from margin to market share.
So, before we get into the SME brand purpose checklist, let’s explore why you should focus on branding and how a clearly defined purpose can elevate your efforts.
Why do you need a purpose-driven brand?
Branding your business is not merely writing down your mission and vision statement and taping it to your desk.. Despite the effort and investment to properly develop and integrate your ‘why’ into all aspects of your business, the benefits are always worth it. If you’re still unsure about if or how this will translate into business growth, here are some proven benefits to consider:
- Consumer loyalty and retention 83% of US consumers are likely to be loyal to purpose-driven brands because they look at what values these brands represent. It can be towards social, environmental or economic issues. Purpose-driven brands have loyal consumers at a reasonable retention rate, as a result. It’s no surprise these consumers vouch for their products to friends, family, or colleagues. A great example of this is Nike’s equality purpose in sports.
- Consumer recognition- Part of the power of purpose-driven brands is that they’re instantly recognizable and relatable. Think of MasterCard. You don’t know what the yellow and orange circles mean, but you know it’s MasterCard immediately you see them. A consistent and relatable brand identity can contribute to 91% of your customer experience, differentiating you from your competitors and driving your revenue up.
- Brand equity- You can generate more revenue when your brand’s purpose is to foster innovation and convenience to your consumers. Look at Apple’s Airpod release in 2018 and how they’ve grown to dominate 50% of the global market share. They improved their customer’s listening experience thus, attracting more clients and creating a sense of belonging.
- Build trust- Having a purpose shapes how consumers relate to your products. According to Ipsos, 70% of global consumers are likely to buy from your brand if it positively impacts the environment or society. When consumers know that your brand is better for society or the environment, they will purchase from you to ensure they’re doing their part.
Find Your Brand Purpose in 7 Questions
Purpose can be ambiguous and appear daunting, but armed with the right framework it should feel quite natural… Think about what the client’s pain points are. What do they want? What do they fear? What do they need? Answering these questions and the ones below is a crucial part of developing your brand’s purpose.
1. Why does your Brand Exist?
Generic businesses focus on one thing. Revenue. This leaves their company one-dimensional and brandless. Instead of focusing on the obvious reason you’re in business, focus on your client.
Focus on why you want to help the one client/customer that is struggling with the one problem you can help them fix—doing this will, in turn, drive more revenue because it will allow your customers to see that you really care.
To really emphasize your brand purpose, you could also incorporate your problem statement into your brand purpose. This will attract consumers that relate to the problem, and converting them into clients will be easier. All that you have to do is make it clear, concise, and understandable for your prospects to relate.
2. Who is your target audience?
A business with no target audience is no business at all. If you want people to buy your product, you need to know who you want to buy it from. To simplify the matter, you can use the ‘why’ above to get an idea of your target audience.
Create a connection with your audience by creating an avatar that you’re trying to target. What does this person like to do? What are his hobbies? How old is he? What does he value? Getting specific on these seemingly minor details will allow you to really hone in on who you’re trying to sell to.
3. What’s your brand personality?
Purpose-driven brands have unique tones that they use to communicate with clients. You can fuse your personality with your brand to develop a language your clients can relate to. Creating a consistent and relatable tone will make your brand stand out. Having a tone of authority but one that makes you relatable will help you be seen as an authority in your niche. You can add a fun personality to make your branding content enjoyable or a sincere personality to attract more customers.
4. How can you develop or improve your Brand Experience?
Your brand’s purpose is solidified not when the product is given to your client but through the experience they get when your product is delivered. What kind of emotions did they feel? You can make your clients feel a certain way by making them feel appreciated, loved, or included in your company’s family.
These psychological effects will make your client keep coming back for more because of the trust that is built into giving them what they want. This may seem far-fetched, but this is why iPhone users are so adamant about their products.
5. How Can You Increase Brand Recognition?
Define how you can uniquely serve your customers and how you are uniquely positioned to do so. Developing expertise as a trusted guide in your particular niche is essential to building authority and credibility.
The visual identity of your brand and your brand voice are also essential ingredients to help distinguish your business from competitors. What does your logo, imagery, visuals express in support of your brand purpose? What is the story behind your purpose? Whichever path you choose, make sure it’s authentic and consistent across ALL brand touch points.
6. What’s your Brand promise?
There’s nothing better than a fulfilled brand promise. Your brand promise should be unique and offer value to your clients so they keep coming for your products whenever they need them.
Purpose-driven companies offer these promises to maintain a competitive edge in the market. Look at the agricultural sector, where farms promise to provide you with fresh and organic farm produce, or the health and beauty industry, where products are labeled natural. Doing so will attract your target audience and maintain a competitive advantage over synthetic products.
7. What makes you uniquely YOU?
Running a business with no competition can seem impossible, but when it comes to your brand, there is one thing that you can integrate into the brand that sets yours apart from the rest.
Your unique selling proposition (USP)
Netflix is a perfect example of this. In a market (not too long ago) where going to the theater or buying and renting DVDs were the primary form of entertainment, Netflix allowed you to watch thousands of shows and movies, on demand, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home… They redefined the entire entertainment industry.
You may not be the next Netflix, but you should always aim high and imagine your product, service, or presentation of your brand identity that is entirely unique. Whether it’s the features, delivery, or process in which you create value in the lives of your customers. Whatever ‘it’ is for you, know with absolute clarity that one element that is unique to your business to help you stand out from the crowd.
With the crucial benefits discussed, you’re well on your way to harnessing the brand positioning that will firmly establish your business in the hearts and minds of consumers. We’d love to hear from you as you work through this checklist and would be happy to assist with some additional guidance along the way.
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