Your brand is possibly the most valuable asset in your professional services firm. If this is the case, then building a stronger brand should be your top priority (which is why we created our Brand Building Guide). Still not convinced? Consider the definition of a professional services brand.
What does Brand Development mean?
The process of creating and strengthening your professional services brand is known as brand development. We divide the process of assisting businesses in developing their brands into three stages.
• The first step is to ensure that your brand strategy is correct and aligned with your business objectives.
• The second step is to create all of the tools you’ll need to communicate the brand, such as your logo, tagline, and website.
• Finally, there’s the phase of solidifying your newly created or updated brand.
Your brand development strategy will guide you through the process of completing these tasks. To make things a little easier, we’ve put together a 10-step guide to building a company brand.
1. Brand Development and Business Strategy
Growing your company will be much easier if you have a strong, distinct brand. But what kind of firm are you looking for? Do you intend to grow organically? The context for your brand development strategy is your overall business strategy, so start there. If you know where you want to take your company, your brand will help you get there.
2. Determine your target audience
Who are your ideal customers? If you say “everyone,” you’re making a huge mistake. Our research clearly demonstrates that high-growth, high-profit firms are focused on having a well-defined target client base. The more focused the effort, the faster the growth. Your marketing efforts will be diluted as your target audience becomes more diverse. So, how do you know if you’ve chosen the right target market? That brings us to the next step.
3 Research your target audience
Companies that conduct systematic research on their target customer group grow faster and profitably (see figure below). Those who conduct research more frequently (at least once a quarter) grow even faster.
Research allows you to understand your target client’s perspective and priorities, anticipate their needs, and deliver your message in a language that they understand. It also tells you how they perceive your company’s strengths and current brand. As a result, it significantly reduces the marketing risk associated with brand development.
4. Create your brand’s positioning
You are now in a position to determine your company’s brand positioning in the professional services market (also called market positioning). What distinguishes your firm from others, and why should potential clients in your target audience choose to work with you?
A positioning statement is usually three to five sentences long and summarizes your brand’s positioning. It must be grounded in reality, as you will be expected to deliver on your promises. It should also be aspirational so that you have something to strive for.
5. Logo and visual tone
People are visual creatures. We process visual information more quickly than we do words. That’s why it will be so important to pay attention to the way everything looks that represents brand. Consistency in the visual tone will eventually create an emotional connection with the target market. Visuals are powerful tools that we can use to differentiate your brand. By using positive images, we can make a powerful impression at every brand touchpoint.
To build this unique visual tone we recommend:
- Selecting a brand colour palette that is evocative of brand values
- Establishing a typography style and type treatments that will be flexible enough to use in all marketing material but strong enough build on the unique visual tone.
- Defining the photography style that should be used. This should be unusual enough that the photographs on their own will have a distinctive “look” that represents the brand
- Graphic elements, if to be used can be designed to support the overall brand tone. These could be inspired from the logo and the shapes that can be created from it and / or elements that nod to the manufacture of the shower doors here in Ireland (drawings / sketches of the plans). Only during the design of the brand visual identity will we know exactly what these will look like.
Remember that your name, logo, and tagline do not constitute your brand. They are aspects of your brand’s identity, and ways to communicate or symbolize it. To make it real, you must live it.
6.Tone of Voice
A crucial stage of any brand development process is deciding on a definitive tone of voice.This along with high value content that showcases results will establish trust over time. Again, this will be informed by the brand story and main brand positioning. Consider the words that describe your company and what words you would like customers to use. These will help determine your messaging and how you write and promote your content going forward.
7.Develop Brand Guidelines
If properly prepared, the brand guideline can help with not only business development but also brand development. The brand guideline should include visuals as well as tone of voice style guide. It impoacts every single marketing channel that the user engages with and how the company looks across each one. This ensures consistency and consistency builds brands over time.
One-page “sales sheets” that describe core service offerings or key markets served could be included. There may also be a brief “pitch deck” that summarizes the firm or key offerings, as well as an e-brochure about the firm. These are rarely printed these days.
Brand development takes time and consistency. It’s not an overnight fix but it will be the most effective tool in your marketing arsenel in getting a competitive advantage long term and ensuring you futureproof your business.