Proof of Concept: What It is and How to Do It Right
Before developing an idea into a product, there’s a crucial step that every business must take: executing a successful proof of concept. Learn more.
Having a strong business brand presence is important, but more than half of business leaders (51%) struggle with it. They rate their knowledge of brand building as average to very poor, which can tank their marketing efforts. After all, how do you market to customers without a brand?
As you head into your holiday marketing, take a cue from a holiday classic and be the true love to your brand. No, you don’t have to send yourself a partridge in a pear tree — but you do need to build your brand. Here’s how to do it, in 12 days if you’re feeling ambitious.
If you haven’t created an ideal customer profile (ICP) yet, your first day of brand-building should be all about identifying your partridge — in other words, your target audience. These are the people you’ve decided are most likely to be in the market for your offering and buy from you. Figure out what that person looks like: demographics, interests, wants, and needs.
For your customer profiles, determine what’s relevant for your business. More and more companies are using demographic data to give their marketing a personal touch: according to Econsultancy, 45% used demographics in 2017. Knowing characteristics like marital status, income, and hobbies will help guide you in developing the ideal language, products, and ad creative to use when marketing to your target audience.
A company's mission is its reason for being, so it's important to know what's the purpose behind your brand is. Even the largest brands have mission statements. For example, Best Buy’s mission statement begins, “We at Best Buy work hard every day to enrich the lives of consumers through technology…” Other brands focus on providing sustainable products, or lower cost but high-quality items. Defining your mission provides unilateral direction for everyone in an organization and ensures that teams collaborate seamlessly towards an easily-defined, common goal.
While you definitely don’t want to copy your competition, it’s helpful to know what they’re doing. Take a look at their messaging and products and identify places where they’re lacking. Conducting competitor analysis is a great way to highlight potential opportunities where your brand can capitalize on your competition's weaknesses. For example, they might not be very thorough describing products, or you could discover on their social media pages that their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
Next up, come up with your positioning statement. How do you solve your ICP’s problems? What makes you different than the competition? Write down how your brand meets their wants and needs and why they’d be interested in you. Give them a reason to choose you over the competition. It’s not just a list of your products but the “why” behind it.
If you don’t already have a logo, now’s the time to create one. Even if you already have one, it’s worth revisiting your logo to make sure it aligns with the message you’re trying to convey. If your brand has moved toward a more modern aesthetic, your logo should reflect that. For example, Mailchimp's recent rebrand saw them change many aspects of their brand identity, including their logo.
Your tagline is a quick, quirky way for your visitors to remember you. One of the best-known is Apple’s “Think Different.” A more specific one is L’Oreal’s “Because You’re Worth It.” In both cases, when you hear one of these taglines, you immediately think of the corresponding brand. Having a good tagline can strengthen your brand by making a short yet powerful statement about your identity and values.
Your brand voice is how you communicate with customers. Depending on your industry and your target audience, it can be serious and authoritative or casual and whimsical — or anywhere in between. Consider the words and phrases you’ll use, as well as sentence structure when crafting your brand voice.
You have the “why,” your target audience, and your tagline. Now it’s time to create messaging to go with it. This goes beyond the tagline and into who you are, what you offer, and why your visitors should care. Make this simple and clear, and address why this is important to your visitors.
Get your message out to your visitors and customers: on your website, social media, videos, and ads. Everything that your visitors see should be consistent, from the tone of voice you use to the images. Your customers don't only work, live, and play on one digital channel; your marketing shouldn't either. A holistic marketing strategy will ensure you stay top-of-mind in shoppers mind this holiday season.
Don’t compromise your brand to get ahead of the competition. For example, if you’ve historically competed on the high quality of your products, don’t do an about-face and pivot on pricing. You’ll confuse your visitors and dilute what makes you unique. Staying consistent with your messaging and brand values will help build trust with customers and eventually, improve customer lifetime value (CLV).
You and your employees are the biggest advocates you can have for your brand. Make sure they understand your brand’s mission and vision, and invite them to contribute to the company blog or post behind-the-scenes photos on social media. According to a report produced by Hootsuite, nearly half (49%) of respondents identified employee advocacy as an area of focus in their marketing strategies.
As you’re getting your message out to potential customers, consider the benefits of digital advertising. You’re able to target your ideal audiences, quickly change your ads, and test different variations of the ads to get the best results. You’ll also be able to get in front of people who have already expressed interest, further building your brand in their eyes.
If you start now, by the time the holidays roll around, you’ll have built a stronger brand to see you through the season. While there may not be twelve drummers drumming, your visitors will know who you are and be ready to buy from you, and you’ll be the pipers piping a happy tune into the new year.
Are you interested in learning how to launch your very own holiday marketing campaign? Check out some of our other pieces of holiday-related content.
Last updated on September 20th, 2022.