Building things is fairly straightforward, right? You start with a solid foundation and go from there. For example, when building a new house, it’s just a case of using the right combination of materials to construct something sturdy. But can you do the same when building a brand?
As simple as it may seem, building a brand isn't easy. You see, while there are identifiable steps one needs to take when building a brand, it's not as clear-cut as pouring a foundation or adding a roof.
In fact, most brand managers will tell you that building a brand is one of the hardest aspects of their job. Why? Because there are several things you need to juggle at the same time — and you might find it increasingly difficult to balance it all.
To be successful, you need a consistent brand that stands out from the crowd, accurately reflects your brand's message, reaches the right target audience, and resonates with people. When you add all of that together, it can turn into a pretty big ask!
However, that doesn’t mean that building a brand is impossible. Sure, it’s challenging — but all of those challenges have solutions. In this article, we'll discuss a few ways to resolve some common issues that can crop up when you're building your brand.
6 of The Biggest Brand Building Challenges in 2022
Challenge 1: You’re Not Relevant
Your brand should always be relevant. It may sound like an impossible task, but the job of a marketer is clear: you're forever chasing the latest trends and consumer desires to keep your brand on the map.
But, if you ever find that you’re suddenly out of the loop — whether that’s regarding new technologies or emerging trends — you're at risk of losing valuable customers.
These days, consumers expect companies to meet their evolving expectations and be ahead of the curve. If you’re not, you’ll find that your level of customer engagement may start to drop.
The Solution: Increase Audience Engagement
You need to engage with your audience more! It really is as simple as that. But how do you engage with them more? First, you need to find out who your target audience is. It's vital that you know exactly who you're trying to connect with — their thoughts, opinions, need, and desires.
Once you understand your audience, know their communication preference, and figure out exactly what it is that they want, you'll produce content, products, and services that are a lot more relevant to them.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget that your target audience isn't frozen in time — their wants and needs will change over time. But, as long as you think outside the box and adapt to these changes, you won’t lose your relevance.
Challenge 2: You Don’t Have a Brand Story
Are you ever worried that your target audience might not understand or is confused by your company’s message? That they don’t really get what it is you do? That may be because you haven’t shared your brand story yet.
But before we dive in, a definition: your brand story is the narrative behind your brand. It's the story you tell when you introduce who you are and includes your reasons for existing, how you started, and what you're helping people with.
Essentially, it's a method for connecting with consumers more effectively. Keep in mind — a good brand story should help forge an emotional bond between your company and consumers by allowing them to discover the more human side of your brand.
The Solution: Create & Share A Brand Story
It's time to sit down and get to work crafting your brand story. Remember, not sharing your story with consumers can make it more difficult to create a brand that's trustworthy — it’s the story that adds the human side to your brand and makes you relatable.
Challenge 3: Lack of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the first stage in every company's brand funnel. Think about it — if a target audience isn’t aware of a brand, then how can they become its customers?
Not fostering brand awareness is like leaving your brand in a dark room and not telling anyone it’s there. It's hardly the way to win new customers! But never dear, there are many different ways that brands of all sizes can work to grow their brand awareness levels — it just takes a bit of time and dedication.
The Solution: Use New Methods to Increase Brand Awareness
Working to increase your brand awareness is the simplest solution to overcome this brand building challenge. Here are just a few methods you can try out:
jump onto the influencer marketing bandwagon to reach new audiences
generate new, engaging social media content that resonates with users
test out new forms of brand marketing, like podcast advertising or in-game advertising
ensure that your brand packaging stands out and aligns with your brand values
start creating content your target audience actually wants to see
To start out, choose just one or two — and make sure to measure the impact over time with pre-chosen growth KPIs.
Challenge 4: Lack of Brand Understanding
Let's say you have an audience who you're constantly communicating with, but here's the catch — they still don’t really understand what it is your brand does.
This is where brand understanding comes in. A trackable KPI that allows you to measure how well your target audience actually understands what your brand does, brand understanding provides vital information for growing brands.
By tracking brand understanding, you can move one step beyond simple recognition. You can find out what percentage of the consumers who recognized your brand can also correctly identify the industry or sector your brand operates in.
Essentially, they not only know your brand name, they know what it is your brand does.
The Solution: Increase & Track Brand Understanding
In order to fix this issue, you need to start tracking your brand understanding levels. After all, you won't know how much work needs to be done if you don't know where you're starting from. So, in order to foster greater brand understanding, look no further than content marketing.
It’s been said for years but it still rings true — content is king (or queen). And to make it work for you, you'll need to identify which kinds of content will best resonate with your audience and allow you to share more about what your brand does.
Be it blog posts, infographics, videos, webinars, podcasts… the list goes on. If a piece of content has the potential to educate and inform your target audience, don’t be afraid to give it a go!
And in order to increase the reach of your wonderful content, make sure you tap into SEO best-practice, social media, and marketing newsletters, as well.
Challenge 5: You Don’t Utilize Data Correctly
Whether you realize it or not, your brand is always producing data. From tracking website visits to orders to customer service emails — all brand touchpoints create some sort of data that you can (and should) be using to improve.
Not using this data is a huge mistake, as continually analyzing it can help you discover important insights — such as which campaigns are bringing the results you need or which products are your best-sellers.
But remember, there's more data out there for you to explore, you just have to be willing to collect it.
The Solution: Use The Right Tools
Don’t worry if you find it difficult to make time to collect and review your data. We get it — there's a lot already on your plate as a brand manager. The good news is that there are plenty of resources that do the hard work for you, like tracking important KPIs to ensure that your campaigns are working.
So, why not start using brand monitoring software? It allows you to gather reliable data which provides invaluable consumer insights and is one of the most effective ways to build a brand.
Once you do, you'll have a good overview of important KPIs like brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand associations. You’ll also be able to track your competitors’ performance.
And remember, not all data is created equal. You need to ensure you're using high-quality data to make important decisions — otherwise, you're at risk of steering your brand in the wrong direction.
Challenge 6: There’s No Consistency
Do you find that there's a struggle to use your brand identity correctly throughout your organization? That some colleagues are still using your old brand logo or never use the correct brand colors? Are they using American grammar when your brand is located in the UK?
These may seem like small issues, but when added together, they can spell out trouble for your brand's identity.
If this is the case, you'd be smart to introduce more consistency — so that all of your touchpoints fit into the same brand identity.
The Solution: Create Brand Guidelines
In order to overcome this challenge, you'll need to take the time to create brand guidelines — and then make sure everyone has a copy. This way, no one has an excuse when they diverge from your established brand identity.
These brand guidelines should outline how your brand logo should be used, the exact tone applied to all content, and the grammar style you favor. Also, it's a great idea to work with other important stakeholders, such as designers, when creating brand guidelines like these.
Of course, it’s perfectly fine for tone to change depending on the channel, but you need to make sure everyone is aware of these nuances.
A great way to ensure all teams are up to speed is to set up a brand identity workshop — this way, you can spend some time training your team on everything from the correct logo and brand colors to the tone and diction used in brand communications.
Pro Tip: Another great tip to improve brand consistency is to create a centralized content calendar. This way, everyone then knows which topics have been covered when — and the ones that need to be worked on.
You might be thinking that building a strong brand sounds like a whole lot of extra work for you — and we won't lie, it is a lot of work. But, trust us when we say: it's worth it.
Even if you take it slow — solving just one challenge at a time — you'll still be making your brand stronger bit by bit. And keep in mind that you're not alone. Plenty of other teams and colleagues can and should help you overcome these brand building challenges.
After all, companies with teams and departments that support one another and work well together are often far more successful in building strong, long-lasting brands.
Updated By: Cory Schröder, 03.08.22