The first step in building any brand is researching competitors to get a feel for the market landscape. One of the best tools for this is Spyfu. With Spyfu, you can enter at least 1 known competitors, and the application will begin gathering data on that competitor as well as building a list of other competitors in the same niche. You will get info such as how much traffic their site is getting, how many keywords they are targeting, what their adwords budget is, what other sites are backlinking to their site, snapshots of their ads, and more.
Once you have some competitive data gathered, it will help you more uniquely position your brand to be differentiated from your competitors by looking at their branding, messaging, website, social media, and other aspects of their online presence to reverse engineer their strategy, and help you build a strategy to outperform them in their weak areas.
Combining the competitive data from the last step with researching your target audience, you are build a strategy to send a very specific and custom tailored message to your target audience. You can begin by researching your competitors on social media to understand their audience so you can more effectively build an audience of your own. Tools like Social Mention can help you do this much faster to map out the demographic, and customer types of your top competitors.
Using tools like Think With Google can help you identify trends in the market, and more effectively tailor your branding to what customers are looking for online when looking for the products and services you offer. Aside from having the best branding in the world, it's even more important for your products and services to solve a frustrating problem your target customers face in the most effective, and simple way possible.
This step relies more on the competitive research data we gathered in the first step using tools like Spyfu, and Similar Web, by taking a close look at the marketing channels that your competitors are using to gain new customers. In addition to reverse engineering their marketing strategy, don't be afraid to be innovative, and develop a unique strategy to outperform your competitors by using marketing channels they may not be using currently.
Now that you have a ton of data on your competitors, and target audience, it's time to organize all that data, and distill it down into a pure form of actionable insights that can help you develop a brand strategy based on the principles in the infographic below.
What is your data telling you about customer purchasing behaviors, what messages resonate with them, where they go to buy, and what emotional and psychological triggers they have a weakness for?
I know this sounds a bit cruel, exploiting human weakness, but if you are providing your customers with a truly valuable and problem solving product or service that makes their life easier and more enjoyable, you are doing them a great justice by guiding them to your solution so they don't buy a low quality solution elsewhere that doesn't effectively solve their problem.
Using data, psychology, and emotionally charged storytelling, incorporated into a brand strategy like the one above is a recipe for success!