When you’re trying to grow a business, brand is everything. We teamed up with Canva to shed some light on how to make sure yours noticed.
Earlier this year, we joined forces with Canva, the graphic design platform, to create eye-catching templates for your Linktree. And in case you missed it, we recently ran a workshop with Canva to educate small businesses, entrepreneurs and marketers with everything they need to know to build an irresistible brand.
Jacky Barker, B2B Social Lead at Canva, and our very own Katie Smith, Head of Marketing and Communications at Linktree, shared game-changing advice, trade tricks, and hot tips that’ll help take your brand to the next level and ultimately grow your following. We’ve distilled the session down to 10 key insights to accompany your own brand journey.
Why build your brand? The facts.
A strong brand is the backbone of a successful business in today’s digital world – it’s worth a thousand words. It’s how you can relate to your target audience, show them who you are, and help to differentiate you from competitors. It’s what you need to make a powerful first impression, and we all know first impressions stick.
Essentially, your brand is what you stand for. It’s bigger than just selling a product or service, and you can bet that audiences resonate with this. In fact, 83% of millennials want brands to align with their values, while 65% say they have boycotted a brand that took an opposing stance on a social or political issue. (Source: 5Wpr)
When we think of some of today’s leading brands, the ones that come to mind are the ones that are transparent, have a strong social stance, and are giving back in one way or another. Brands like Australian toilet paper company, Who Gives a Crap, GoFundMe, Savage X Fenty and Thinx.
If your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room, how can you make sure that they’re only talking positively? In short, how can you build an irresistible brand that’s here to stay? Here are 10 tips that will help.
1. Be authentic, be human
Customers like nothing more than a brand that says it how it is and voices their opinion when it matters most. It’s all about joining a conversation authentically: knowing when to provide your viewpoint and when to stay silent. Owning your mistakes is just as important. If you get it wrong, show your audience that you’re operating with full transparency – that’ll allow you to really build ownership of your brand. Your company was created by humans for humans, so keep this at the forefront of all your decisions.
2. Live and breathe your values
If you have a set of brand values, how are you going to live and breathe them every single day? Simply writing them down on a piece of paper or publishing them on your website isn’t enough. Your brand values should be in your DNA and should drive everything you do. Take a step back and assess how you’re living up to those values, across every single brand touchpoint.
3. Build rapport with your customers
An irresistible brand always reflects its customer. Whether it’s the tone of voice, imagery or colour palette, your brand needs to resonate with your target audience. Social media is the perfect playground to find out what your customers relate to, aspire to, or have a general bias towards; and the perfect place to build that rapport. It allows your brand to test, poll, get instant feedback, and get instant engagement that can steer you in the right direction. Plus, bringing your customers on the journey of discovering and shaping your brand identity can have them invested for the long term.
4. Be part of the right conversations
For small businesses, staying on top of trends and participating in the right conversations can be the difference between being known for the right or wrong reasons. If there is a sensitive topic, don’t get caught out feeling like you have to say something unless you’ve got actions in place to back up what you’re saying. A lot of brands got swept up taking a stand in the Black Lives Matter movement but their words weren’t followed up by actions which caused the general public to question their authenticity. Ask the question: does what I’m saying add value or am I just saying something for the sake of it? Sometimes staying silent is just as powerful.
Here, listening is key. Listen to your audience and to the trends out there to help you understand where your brand stands, and therefore allow you to connect in a more meaningful way.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of brand guidelines
Brand guidelines allow your company to remain consistent in how you portray your brand, in every situation. Who is your brand? How does it behave in different circumstances? From customer service to blog posts, product packaging and EDMs, how does your brand show up? Brand guidelines help you achieve consistency in the way you look and feel; but they also help you shape the ‘feeling’ you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand. Think about how you want them to feel every time they connect with you, and make sure that comes through in your guidelines.
6. Less is more on social media
As brands, we have a lot we want to say and a lot of content to share with the world; but putting all of that out there can often be overwhelming for your audience. As well as these social media tips for small businesses, brands should be tactical with their posts and think about the one takeaway they’d like someone to gain from a piece of content. This helps achieve cut-through in the clutter that is social media, and ensure that your message comes across loud and clear.
7. Make your content native to each social platform
The average social media user has eight different social platforms. When it comes to social media, one size doesn’t fit all. In fact, audiences digest content differently on every single platform. From TikTok and Instagram to LinkedIn and Pinterest, your brand’s social identity is complex and should vary across platforms, ensuring your authenticity. While consistency is key, be creative in how you adapt your key messages to each channel. For insights into your audience, native tools that are already embedded into social platforms – such as Facebook or Instagram Insights – can work wonders in analyzing your content performance and honing in on what resonates with your audience.
8. Your best growth tool? Ask your customers
When trying to find out information about your target audience, qualitative research is key. We’re talking about focus groups, polls, comments, and surveys. Find your community touchpoint and get to know them. Try the ‘give to get’ method where you offer education, resources or support in exchange for that information, and find out what they do and don’t like about your brand. These insights are invaluable, so once again, listening is key.
9. Audit brands you love
Becoming a customer is often the best way to understand what your customers want. Sign up to, follow and order from brands you love. Keep a spreadsheet of your interactions and findings. What is it you love about them? How often are they posting? What do they post about? Learning from others can often be the most powerful growth tool out there.
10. Connect your online and offline brand experience
Seamlessly connecting your online and offline brand is easier than you think. That ‘feeling’ that you want to instill in your customers online, can be achieved in brick-and-mortar too. Simple things like placing your Linktree on your menu and making sure your QR code is visible in store are some examples of how today’s businesses are bridging the gap between online and offline.
Loved these insights? Watch the full recording of the virtual event to learn more.
But remember, these tips and tricks only graze the surface of how to build an irresistible brand, and how companies like Canva and Linktree can help you do just that. Check out our Linktree to discover the many ways you can build your brand.