May The Better Brand Win

Written by: Fargo Inc

At some level, every single one of us is aware of the effect that branding has on our daily lives. We know which brands we prefer and which ones we can’t stand for one reason or another. Coke or Pepsi? Nike or Adidas? Microsoft or Apple? But a brand’s influence is not limited to just nationally known “big” brands. In fact, for many local brands, their survival depends on whether their target audiences will pick them over their competitors. It’s for that reason that local businesses should invest in polishing their brand. But where does that start?

Let’s explore six key elements every company, especially local ones, should perfect for their brand.

1. Brand Purpose

What Is It? Besides making a profit, brand purpose is the core reason a company exists. It’s the “why” that drives a business owner to start a business in the first place.

Why Does It Matter? Defining your brand’s purpose means identifying your North Star. It allows everyone at your company to make decisions that help your brand fulfill its purpose.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Fix it Forward

Besides being heavily involved in the community and working hard to spread their message, Fix It Forward features their brand promise prominently on their website. Their vehicle-related ministry is no mystery, making their purpose immediately clear and admirable

2. Brand Promise

What Is It? Brand promise is the experience or value customers are assured they will receive each time they interact with a company.

Why Does It Matter? Companies that confidently know their brand promise can focus their efforts on improving how they deliver that promise to their customers.

Customers in turn will build a stronger connection with that brand and keep coming back for more.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Red River Zoo

For nearly 25 years, the Red River Zoo has promised to not only provide our community with a family-friendly fun destination, but serve as leaders in local conservation. They make this promise apparent through their free community events, education opportunities, and thoughtfully designed exhibits that support their mission.

3. Brand Values

What Are They? Brand values are the principles and beliefs that a company stands for.

Why Do They Matter? Clear brand values give customers something to relate to personally with the brands they choose to support. Today more than ever, audiences care about brand values and not just the products or services companies have to offer.

Local Brand Doing It Right: The Vanity Bar

Spas and aesthetic clinics can easily come across as shallow and vain. But for a company with “Vanity” in their name, they make it clear that their values are anything but that. They make it known that their values lie in improving each individual’s sense of worth to allow them to be their best self. They value positive mental health and the power of self-confidence, not just the superficial stuff.

4. Brand Positioning

What Is It? Brand positioning is where a brand takes up space both within their market and their customer’s minds. It’s how a brand distinguishes itself from its competitors.

Why Does It Matter? Brands must own a unique place in their market and within their customer’s mind. If a brand tries to sit in the exact space that is already dominated by another brand, the already established brand will force them out with little effort. It is critical to position your brand where it has room to put down roots and grow.

Local Brand Doing It Right: ReadiTech

The tech, IT and internet provider space is a heavily saturated one in our area. There are several large companies that dominate a good portion of the market, making it tough for smaller companies to establish themselves. But ReadiTech did just that by identifying a lack of high-speed fiber internet options for nearby rural communities and making it a possibility for those areas. By positioning their brand in that portion of the market, they have been able to grow their fiber service offerings, helping to grow the other portions of their business as well.

5. Brand Identity

What Is It? This is what most people think of when they hear “branding.” A brand’s identity consists of elements like your name, logo, color palette, fonts, jingles, and more.

Why Does It Matter? Brands require identity to stick in a customer’s mind. It’s how customers will recall and remember your brand. This makes it unbelievably important for success. There’s a good reason “big” brands spend millions upon millions of dollars perfecting their identity year after year.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Brewhalla

Even though Brewhalla is a brand new destination to our city, the logo and branding has already become seared into the brains of tens of thousands of people in Fargo-Moorhead. The expertly designed logo and graphics, the vivid and contrasting color palette, and the experiential neon elements all secure Brewhalla as one of the best brands in the area.

6. Brand Voice

What Is It? Brand voice is the personality and tone used by a brand to give itself recognizable characteristics. It’s intended to humanize your brand and allow customers to resonate emotionally with it.

Why Does It Matter? A brand without an established voice can often come across as sterile or uninteresting. The tone a brand uses, whether that be in ads, on social posts, or even in their face-to-face customer interactions, should be consistent. Your audience will more easily establish loyalty with your brand when they feel they know your brand as a person.

Local Brand Doing It Right: Do Good Better Consulting

Patrick Kirby has done a commendable job creating a brand that is not just an extension of himself, but also its own unique entity. Do Good Better has a light-hearted, optimistic and even wacky (in a professional way) tone that immediately makes audiences feel comfortable and welcomed by the brand.

The Next Steps For Your Brand

You may be asking yourself if all of this is really all that important for your brand. The answer is undoubtedly “yes!” From the smallest sole proprietorships to the largest multinational mega-corporations, an expertly executed brand is crucial for success. Even in smaller communities like Fargo-Moorhead, every business has competition. Your brand is what will set your business apart.

Start by simply checking in on how you feel your brand is doing in each of these six areas. Put your brand’s purpose, promise and core values on paper and workshop them until you feel they are bulletproof. Publish them to your website and share them with the local community on your website or social pages.

Ask yourself if you’re drowning in a crowded market and if it’s time to consider repositioning your brand. Have a local marketing agency or freelancer review your brand identity and look for opportunities to make adjustments or improvements. And finally, consider your brand voice and make plans to identify what you want it to be. Start taking care to use that voice consistently and turn your brand into a character your audiences can relate to.

Perfecting these 6 brand elements, while not always easy to do, will ensure your business will have loyal customers who back your brand for years to come. When faced with choosing between your business and your competitor’s business, may the better brand win.

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Brady Drake is the editor of Fargo INC!