Putting together a brand manifesto complete with your core pillars and values is crucial to the success of a growing brand. This document provides a guide for your brand's story which describes to your internal team and external stakeholders the company's vision, values, and the overall look and feel of your company. In our world, we call this document the "Brand DNA."

"How can a brand DNA help my business?" you may ask. Being in tune with your brand's story helps employees emotionally connect with why your brand is important and relay that connection to your customers which in turn will inspire them to be brand loyal.

To support your DNA, it's important to have a brand Powerpoint deck that helps your employees thrive. A brand deck should include a full representation of who your target customers are and how you're going to best sell to their personas. Create a strong brand deck with content that guides your company and showcases who your brand is and what you stand for. This deck can be kept physically or digitally, and your entire team should have access to it at all times.

To create the best brand DNA, some research is necessary. A good way to start is to follow these four guidelines:

1. Create Customer Personas

Knowing your customer is at the core of your brand. If you know her, you can become her best friend. If you become her best friend, she trusts you. Trust is imperative for return purchases and brand loyalty.

You will want to understand the relationship your brand has with customers on an individual and real-world level. This includes his past, present and future. In other words, understand your customer and what her life is about. Pull real-world insights direct from the sales floor and popular culture to track customers' changing preferences. This will help you discover trends and tailor your offerings accordingly.

Using a social media listening tool can be a great way to do your customer research and listen in on their daily expressions of likes, gripes, and hopes.

2. Use Data & Analytics To Gain New Insights

While creating a customer persona can be fun, balance excitement with concrete insights. Analyzing data can quantify success and remove the emotional bias you have towards your brand and thus have a more solid brand DNA backed by both observations and cold hard data. You'll also be able to use exact data points to forecast trends, monitor customer behavior and develop guidelines. The best data points to track are those that report on behavioral data. Things like positive and negative reactions on social media, what items are being paired with others during the purchase, and results from A/B testing.

Before making the next round of products or marketing decisions, look to the success of previous campaigns. This can include revisiting past seasons to determine what items brought in the most revenue. Ask yourself, how are customers responding to what we're doing? If you don't like the answer, find solutions and update and improve our brand campaigns.

3. Understand Your Core Values

Successful brands are based on key values that guide all decisions and aspects of the company's identity. Choose inventory that enhance your brand in alignment with company and customer personalities. Moving beyond the emergence stage starts with knowing who you are and who you are not. Once you know yourself as a brand and know your customers, you can communicate to consumers what makes your brand great.

For example, fashion brands should be cautious when planning and designing product lines. Knowing your brand DNA will stop you from being pulled in too many directions, whether overextending your product line or rebranding in a way that betrays your core brand. For example, a successful brand DNA will determine that your customer doesn't wear sandals but prefers loafers which in turn will allow your buyer to know what items to stay away from when researching buying items for next season. Brand centric product lines will guide your merchandising and inspire long-term commitment from customers. As you create these long-term connections, customers will return to your brand, recommend it to others, make repeat purchases and boost your bottom line.

4. Grow Your Team Wisely

As you delegate certain aspects of your business, a strong employee base will give you the confidence to know the right decisions are being made by the right people. Build a team you can depend on to tell your story. During periods of rapid growth, hiring quickly can feel more important than hiring with intention, but you must slow down and evaluate each potential employee as an integral member of your team. Good employees will understand and connect with your brand DNA making them an integral member of your team.

For more suggestions on what should be on your checklist as you build and refine your brand, check out the Dotcom Emerge in eCommerce ebook here.

Published on: Oct 4, 2016