If there’s one thing your business can’t exist without, it’s clients. No clients, no business. This is why forming and maintaining strong client relationships is vital to the growth of your business. The way you create your brand is a big part of how you do this.
Branding is all about building relationships. That’s really it’s main function, if you think about it. Everything you do, in terms of your branding, is to strengthen the connection between your business and its audience. Whether its defining your core values, or designing a memorable logo, or refining your website, everything comes back to the question of, “How can I improve the experience of my audience so I can serve them better?”.
It starts with understanding your target market
The first step to creating your brand is to understand exactly who you want to serve. That itself is critical to the ability of your business to build long-lasting client relationships.
Makes sense, right?
The more you know about your audience, the better value you can give them, and a relationship can only work if both sides are providing value.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What does my target market value most?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What’s stopping them from achieving that?
- What concerns do they have about getting help?
Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you to develop a brand and business that your target market will find genuinely engaging.
Also read: Why you need to define your ideal client
When you’re a brand, rather than a commodity, you’re irreplaceable
Many business owners make the mistake of believing their brand is all about their services or products. Fact is, no matter what you do, you’re probably not the first and only one of its kind. Even in the event that you have come up with a genuinely new and unique offer, if it has any level of success, you can be sure it won’t be the only one of its kind for long.
Your brand is not about the services you offer. Your brand is about people. The people who are creating the business (you plus your team, if you have one) AND the people who buy it. This is something your competitors can’t simply copy. They might have the same services, but they can’t have the unique insight and personal touch that you bring to your business.
That’s what you have to focus on when building your brand. The values that are important to you and the people you serve. The personality and voice you give your brand.
These are the things that are the basis that you build all your client relationships from. Your clients might be able to get the same services as you from someone else — but they can’t get the same relationship. And if they like the relationship they have with you, then they won’t look elsewhere. Your business becomes irreplaceable.
Just like relationships, branding is based on emotion
The way people feel about your business — that is your brand. It’s a perception. Thoughts and feelings. It’s very much based on emotion.
When you understand that, it’s clear that the relationship you’re able to develop with clients is going to be heavily influenced by the brand you build. Consider things like:
- The experience a client goes through during the process of working with you.
- The values you stand for.
- The language you use in your copy.
- The aesthetics and tone you deliver through your graphics.
All these things (and more) blend together and will prompt particular feelings from your clients.
Questions of if they enjoy working with you, want to continue working with you, or would recommend you to friends, all comes back to how they feel about your brand. In this way, your brand is directing the relationship you have with your clients.
Building a brand is a collaborative activity
Here’s an important note: you don’t get to say what your brand is. You can’t control what people think of your business, and what people think of your business is your brand. What that means is, you can’t control what your brand is.
What you can do is choose the image you want to portray — through your visuals and words you use — but ultimately, your brand is going to be what they say it is.
My advice about this? Embrace it! Recognise that building your brand is collaborative. You get to work with your clients and decide how best to move forward.
And guess what?
When you do this, your chances of success and vastly improved. Listen to what your clients say, and act on it. Grow your brand in a way that serves both sides of the relationship, and the relationship is strengthened.
You can build a whole community
One of the best things about having a brand is that you get to build a community around it. The client relationships you nurture are great. But when you can give your wider audience a way to connect with one another, that’s can become an even more powerful thing.
People follow brands that give them value and stand for the things they want to stand for. If your business is providing these things, then each member of your audience have something in common. A great way to further strengthen the relationship you have with people is to give them a community to join. It encourages engagement and gives them a way to more visibly rally behind your brand.
Related post: How to build a community around your brand
Branding is always a long-term strategy that is based on building trust. It’s all about the relationship you’re creating with your audience and clients. What it boils down to is being generous with value — before even asking for something in return. No one wants to be in a one-sided relationship. Your clients want to know how they will benefit from engaging with your brand.
So, show them!
Create content based on what you know they need. Your audience will recognise you as someone who can help because you have helped. And when they have the opportunity to give back, they will respond.
Looking for more content? Try these!
- Why brand values are important for connecting with clients
- How to build brand awareness organically in 4 steps
- Examples of client profile questions that go beyond demographics
- Using exclusivity in your marketing to build a desirable brand
- How to generate quality leads to your service-based business
- Defining a brand purpose that motivates your ideal client