At Reawaken Media, when we design a brand, it takes months, and this is before we’ve created the content. We boast a lot that we’re different and that’s because we are. It’s a competitive space to be in, and the only way to succeed is to plan well. There are a lot of crucial areas we put a lot of research into – 32 of them to be precise! But let me take you into three that you’ve hopefully thought of.
Let’s talk about Defining your niche, Researching the Who, and Being Unique.
Go with a Niche
Creating an extremely broad brand is more likely to be unsuccessful. Why? It’s hard to sell 100 different basic cakes to 100 different tastebuds than 5 tasteful cakes to 5 unique tastebuds. Don’t focus on animals, consumer technology, and movie reviews altogether. But do focus on topics that are easily bundled together by the same audience.
Let me give you a really basic example. An animals topic alone could be Cat Products. But do you really want to start just a Cat Product store? Go broader with this one. Cat Products, Cat Pictures, Cat Memes, and heck throw in some Cat News, or even CAT GAMES. These are topics that would sit well together by the same audience, can be targeted easily, and will result in better retention over time.
But keeping that example in mind, we don’t go dogs, cats, and lemurs. Sure, this collection of topics could work, but it’s going to be difficult to set that up smoothly. Pick a niche, and study your niche!
Research the “Who”
Who, what, where, when, and why?
What I’m about to tell you is about to sound like a marketing course, but that’s kinda what it is. When you create anything in your life that needs to reach an audience, you should jump into Marketing 101 – Personas. A persona is as a fictional character that you have described, who we assume will be engaged with the brands content. This persona is created to communicate the primary characteristics of that user and similar users.
Personas are important. If you’re making content for someone, you need to understand them. Otherwise, you’ll fail. Why? You need to understand your audience well. This is not an easy step to take but it should be one of the initial steps. You shouldn’t even give your brand a name without first understanding your audience. To start, come up with 3 different names, heck use a random name generator, and make them all sound extremely different. Grab your piece of paper (or open a document processor on your computer) and write them down.
From here, start to do some research. Are you making a Cat Brand? Ok, let’s break down the three or four types of people that would be interested in your Cat Brand, and they should all be different. Write down their characteristics, where they would shop, places they would go to socialise (if they socialise). Here is a simple rundown of some you should include:
- Potential job titles
- Education level
- Political interests
- Their age, gender, etc (remember this is a persona and these attributes should be static to your persona)
- Do they use their mobile, desktop computer, or laptop? How about a tablet?
- How long do they spend on the internet?
- What are their interests? Sports? Binge-watching Netflix? Cooking? Bungee jumping?
- … etc.
Really break this down into two parts: Who the user is, and what their motivations are. Make sure your personas are not similar, I cannot stress this enough – make sure your persons are dramatically different.
With this information, you can do the more important things – keyword research, identifying your brand name, think about your design, defining your colours, everything!
Next up: You’re unique, how?
Don’t be a copy-cat.
With what I’m about to explain, I’m not saying to copy another blog. But, you want to find similar brands – or if you can’t find similar brands, find those that have similar content, and you need to map out how you’re unique. Creating an online brand is a competitive playing field, and no one wants to see a recreation of MSN, or another Gawker Magazine.
Write down a list of 10 bullet points about how you’re unique to each of those brands. If you’re not able to do something here to seem different, then let’s go back to the drawing board. You should also make a note of your similarities as those are what you need to be better at than your competitor.
Are you planning well?
I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot of work to plan your brand, and that’s well before your first draft. However, you need to focus on the end goal. The satisfying feeling you get when your team has planned and engineered a beautiful and successful brand is an end goal that you cannot ignore.