Often, the strongest brand is the one that fully understands itself, identifies its unique selling proposition (USP), and brings it to bear in all of its marketing efforts.
In a recent article by Marketing Magazine, marketing author, consultant, and professor, Philip Kotler notes: “A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitor.”
Taking this idea as a starting point, the most effective way to build a brand is to identify what specific characteristics differentiate you from your competitors, and then ensure that all your marketing efforts are fully aligned.
Step 1: Identify your unique selling proposition.
Your brand story should emphasize what makes your business special. Before content marketing strategies are crafted and content duties are handed out to copywriters, create a clear description of your USP.
What do your services or products do exceptionally well that is unmatched from a competitive standpoint? What characteristics does your organization have that you can build a memorable marketing hook around?
Your brand’s main USP(s) or distinguishing characteristics do not exist in a vacuum. It is not enough for you to have them, they must be absent from the offerings of direct competitors, or more convincing.
Step 2: Learn what makes your customers tick.
Once you know what brand values and characteristics you want to convey, think about how you can effectively communicate them through your content strategy. To start, you must first understand who your customers are and what is important to them.
When identifying what is important to your customers, you may even find additional USP’s you can leverage. A certain amount of this can be extrapolated from who your customers are likely to be, based on your products or services (e.g., age, gender, income, etc.). But don’t stop there. Create online surveys to conduct customer research. This will provide you with much more specifics and ideas you can use in content marketing.
Step 3: Determine your tone and style of communication.
Only once you have completed the steps above will you be able to determine how you should communicate. Your USP will, to an extent, determine the tone of voice you should use.
For example, if you plan to corner the market as an affordable and convenient service provider you will carry yourself differently than you would if you’re aiming further up market. This is determined from step two – who your customers are should inform your content marketing strategy and copywriter’s communication choices.
To ensure brand parity across different marketing platforms, create a document which sets out tone of voice and style guidelines that in-house copywriters and external copywriting agencies can follow.
Step 4: Emphasize your USP across all content efforts.
Once you know your USPs, who your customers are and how you’re going to communicate with them, all that remains is to complete the circle by consistently communicating your USPs to customers. Work them into the natural flow of the content using a strategy of “show not tell”.
Following these steps will help you to get the most out of your marketing budget and help you communicate with customers and stakeholders more effectively. Perhaps most importantly, they will help you differentiate your brand from a sea of look-alikes.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Chris Glithero is a UK copywriter at Big Star Copywriting, a Devon-based copywriting agency who create content for top brands around the world. Chris frequently blogs about content marketing, copywriting, search engine optimization and other matters relating to the ever-expanding world of online marketing. Find out more at bigstarcopywriting.com.