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7 Steps to Building a Brand That Attracts the Loyalty of Followers!

Posted on June 20 2014

Welcome to my next Biz Column today I thought I would write about how to attract loyal followers. Creating a brand isn’t so easy. It’s an easy word to bandy about – and God knows many people do – but creating a brand that becomes familiar, that people bang on about and evangelically share and communicate with, is pretty hard. I don’t want to put you off here – because building a brand has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with strategy.

So let’s strategize!

Who are you?

In a sentence, tell me about your brand. Just one sentence, no more. This sentence should encapsulate everything your brand stands for.  Why only one sentence you may ask? Because your brand isn’t simply a name or a logo – it’s way bigger than that. We’re humanizing it! Let me give you a fab example: Ritz Carlton has “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” This immediately communicates that the Ritz delivers unmatched experiences and its hospitality is respected throughout the world. This sentence encapsulates all of that. Everything they do comes back to that very sentence!

Drill down

Who are your customers, what gap are you filling, why should your customers buy from you? I’ll even go one step further and say why do you exist? If you can answer all these questions, then bravo! If you can’t, sit down, recalibrate, and get to answering them. As odd as this sounds, I’m trying to give your brand an identity and a personality. Customers gravitate towards interesting, exciting brands, or at least brands with something to say – the same way we do with people. If you see some drippy, boring dude shuffling around in the corner at a party then I’m guessing you’re not going to make an instant beeline. Right?

Building a brand is all about telling a story, building a narrative that people can emotionally connect to and want to buy into.

Analyse your website

Look closely at your website and your graphic design. If you’re starting from scratch, design a site that totally reflects your brand. If you’re already out there and you’re struggling a bit, then re-analyse and redesign it. Does it convey your story? Don’t worry about always tweaking and changing it – I do it all the time! (Case in point, this blog.) Take us as an example. We’re glam, sophisticated, lux, and a little edgy and dark. My website and social media channels all reflect this. So figure out what you are – fun and colourful? Modern and minimal, cool and a little rock ‘n ‘roll? And let that vibe shine!

Detail is key

Make sure you nail the details. Let’s talk photography for a second. We’re all dark, inky, swampy, bottom-of-the-lake types here, so we’re not suddenly going to schlep down to the beach and do a photo shoot on the sand amongst a whole heap of shells. Nor are we going to hire some Scandinavian location house to shoot our products in. It doesn’t relate to the brand. Always, always stay on message. Even down to font choice, consistency is key. Does it emulate what your brand stands for? If, say, you’re sleek and modern, you’ll not be wanting some floaty font gracing the pages of your site.

Keep refreshing

Never sit on your laurels, always keep evolving – it keeps thing interesting. For your brand to be easily recognised, it has got to be easily remembered. Keep things simple and the things you can’t do well farm out or ditch. For example, let’s say you’re rubbish at writing. Then don’t start a blog, or write your own product descriptions – give that to someone who’s great at it. You need your brand to be smart, unique, forever evolving, and what’s more – memorable!

Be original

Here’s where all the copycats go wrong: if you want your brand to be successful, you’re going to have to be innovative, clever, and unique. Ripping off someone else doesn’t differentiate you in the marketplace, and if that other brand has a loyal following, then why on earth would those followers jump ship and go to you? What you want to do is find your own niche by doing something that will make customers come to you because you’re different. Simple and easy as that.

Don’t be pushy

Over-pushing your brand or banging on about products you’ve had for ages will also lose people. Who has got the time or the interest? You’ll go straight to the junk mail folder. Be real, be yourself and don’t car-salesman your brand. Repeating the same message and showing the same images again and again will bore everyone!

Be nimble

If something isn’t working, the advantage you have in being a small fish is that you can instantly change things up. If sales have tanked, if enough people aren’t visiting your site, then shake it up. The big fish have layers of bureaucracy preventing them from being flexible and reactive. Your major advantage is that you don’t. You can change things now, like this minute! Branding defines your business: it’s the core of everything. What it looks like, feels like, even sounds like. Don’t gloss it, fake it, or spin it – no one falls in love with anyone who does that. (Or maybe we do for, like, a second, but we soon wise up, right?)

To create the perfect brand, you’ll need to connect with customers emotionally. That’s what it all basically boils down to. It’s taken me a while to build up mine, but I now have the best community. It feels strong and it feels like family; we learn, inspire, pick each other up, motivate and stay connected. I love it!

One last thing: remember, it’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!

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