It’s your job to lay the groundwork for what you want people to know about your business and then supporting that identity by demonstrating your expertise and capability to deliver what you promise.
However, your customers will be the ones who decide what your overall brand image is based on their interactions with your business.
A well-defined, strategic brand message can build instant credibility in your industry, while helping you gain authority in your market and shape how customers perceive your business. It’s quite often the key difference between a well-structured online presence, and a faltering business that is struggling to connect with its audience.
So, how can you build a recognized brand that provides a clear message that resonates with your market?
Start by thinking about your target audience and what is most important to them. Once you’ve evaluated your audience, you will be able to position yourself so that you are directly addressing their most burning questions, concerns and needs.
To do this, you need to gather as much intel on your market as possible, which you can do easily just by looking at the competition.
What are other business owners and product developers offering your audience? What kind of products and services are they successfully selling?
Take things to social media and begin by evaluating social signals – which are clear indicators as to what is currently in demand, popular and selling well. The higher level of interaction, the more advertising dollars spent, and the more engagement; the better.
Knowing how to develop a strategic brand message begins by recognizing what is already successful and improving on it within your own business.
You want to become the go-to person in your niche market, the obvious choice when customers are considering who to turn to when making their purchasing decisions.
When you work towards building an unwavering presence in your market, starting with a strong foundation of trust, you’ll eliminate the initial barriers standing in the way of you connecting with your target audience.
To do that, you need to learn as much about them (your customers) as possible so that you can build a brand around what is most likely to capture their attention.
You’ll also be able to lower the barrier of resistance and leave a lasting impression on them. When you do that, they’ll come back to you time and time again.
And how do you do begin? It starts with what is called a U.S.P.
USP stands for unique selling proposition (or unique selling point), and it is critical that you establish what yours will be right from the start.
What U.S.P Really Means
Contrary to popular belief, a USP has nothing to do with logos, slogans or graphic design.
Sure, those are components of your overall brand that help people identify your products and recognize you, however, a USP is far more important than that when it comes to building your customer base, and breaking through the barriers of resistance that most businesses experience when they first appear in their market.
A USP is what truly tells potential customers how you are different from the competition. It helps to align your goals with your customer’s. Your USP tells them that you can be trusted, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you fulfill all promises. And most importantly, a USP ensures you aren’t a faceless brand.
This would include key factors that differentiate a product or service from its competition, such as the lowest price, an extended, no-risk guarantee, a unique or exclusive product or offer not found anywhere else, or the first-ever product of its kind.
Your USP should also demonstrate your dedication to satisfying customers, and provide reassurance that you stand by your products, and that there is no risk to your customer when doing business with you.
To start, think about what your product or service has that the competition doesn’t.
Consider ways you can highlight those differences and emphasize the benefits. Paint a clear picture as to why a prospect is making a wiser, sound decision to purchase your product instead of someone else’s.
Your USP is the driving force behind clearly illustrating value and giving potential customers a reason to purchase from you rather than the competition. That’s its one and only job.
Creating a unique brand that stands out in your industry and communicates to customers that you have something better to offer than your competitors can be an up hill climb at times, and nobody said it would be easy.
The key is to focus on defining how your brand is different than others and why customers should choose you over the competition and then going the extra mile for them.