… And How To Recognize It!
I know you want to be visible. You want to be known and you want to raise awareness among potential customers with your business. This only works if your brand is built for success, if your brand is strong. A strong brand has more potential to attract new customers. A strong brand adds value to your business and builds a lasting relationship with your customers by earning customer loyalty, which means more regulars for your daily business. A strong brand is visible and can be seen everywhere you’re present. Nowadays a strong brand has to be visible online as well: on your website or online shop, and on social media. Be consistent with it, especially online. Make sure you can be seen with the same branding, using the same logo or at least variations of your logo, and the same fonts. If you don’t, it is not only confusing for everyone, but it will also make the impression to your followers that you don’t really know what your brand is about. On social media, make sure your header photo is in line with your branding, as well. It is the first thing your online community sees when heading to your fan page. You want to be seen and remembered, right? If you can afford it, invest in a branding kit. Work together with a graphic designer who can help you communicate the essence and values of your brand. Investing in a graphic designer is not cheap, but the value you get out of it is worth the investment.
What can you do to be visible for your (potential) customers? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer when creating your visual branding – is it recognizable and easy to remember? Are your customers and your online community able to easily connect with your brand; is it accessible to them? Don’t use a visual branding that doesn’t fit what you and your brand represent. Make your visual branding about the vision and philosophy you have in mind. Your customer connects not only visually to your brand, but also emotionally. Also, it is crucial that you know exactly what your customer and your online community needs and wants. Make sure to provide what he or she wants repeatedly, not just the first time, they enter your shop or when having the first contact with you online. If you can manage to provide great service and quality with everything you do over and over again, your customer/fan/follower will remember and keep you in mind when thinking about their next purchase and they likely will tell others about their experience with your brand. This is a great way of getting recommendations. A strong brand always includes a well-done job by yourself and your staff; providing quality with your products, your coffee, your food and the customer experience in your business. That means you must train your baristas, your staff and other team members accordingly, so they can provide the same quality and service every day and with every customer. Your customers are more likely to tell about a bad experience.
Provide consistent quality. It is always good to know where the strengths & weaknesses of your brand are. In what areas do your strengths lie? What needs improvement? Connect with your customers, whenever possible. Try to be approachable. Offer your new beverage/product to regulars. Let them take part in events or other business-related activities by sharing photos and videos on your social media accounts. Be active in the local community! A strong brand helps everyone understand what you stand for with your business, including your employees. It is absolutely crucial that everyone involved with your brand identifies with your values and your philosophy. So, first find out about your WHY and what your brand represents. What is your business about? What are your values? What are your goals? What niche do you want to focus on with your brand? Is there anything you want to be known for when someone is talking about your business?
Know your customer. This is the most crucial aspect of building a strong brand. If you don’t know to whom you want to serve your coffee, or sell your product, or provide your service, everything else you do will be a shot in the dark. So, no guessing, no assuming. You have to get a crystal clear image of your ideal customer in mind when building your brand. This will help you to know exactly where to fit in the local market or wherever your brand is active and visible. Remember, your brand is not for everyone! If you’re trying to serve everyone, you actually serve no one – you won’t be recognized because you probably offer what tons of other businesses out there offer, too. Find out everything about him or her: What are their preferences? When do they visit your café, coffee shop, online shop, etc.? What do they drink and/or purchase? The more you can find out, the better! Try to find benefits that your ideal customer not yet knows he or she needs, something that is surprising and no other brand offers. Once you offer it, it is going to be the reason they will come back and purchase again. Check out your competition as well, just to have an idea what other businesses are doing and how they are doing things. Check out at least 3 competitors close by! Who are they? What do they offer? What do they NOT offer? Who are their customers? When you create a strong brand for your business, you will be able to differentiate from your competition on the local market. If you know what your brand stands for, and if your brand is recognizable on a visual level, it will be easier for your customers and for your business to set yourself apart.
Melanie Boehme, founder of Simel.Coffee and host of 'adding some flavor | a coffee marketing podcast'