Having worked in agencies and in house as a Brand and Product Manager, Vicki has 16 years experience in consumer and corporate brand strategy. In this article she gives her top tips on how to build a brand.
Branding is the combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that make a brand unique. It can be described as many things, but it’s best defined as a promise… a promise of the value of the product… a promise that the product is better than all the competing products… a promise that must be delivered for a brand to be successful.
Your brand is one of the most valuable assets of your business and it needs to be carefully crafted and nurtured to ensure it properly and authentically represents your business.
Here are my top tips on how to build a brand.
Stand for a purpose
You will need to do some exploration. Take a long look at your company to get a clear picture of its purpose. Purpose is about a willingness to achieve more than just profitability. Define your brand’s vision, mission, personality and value proposition. By working on these you will be able to create your unique purpose.
Be meaningfully different
Here you want to set yourself apart from the competition by clearly pointing out why your offering better serves the needs of your audience. Are you faster? Are you less expensive? Are you easier to implement? Don’t be different for the sake of being different but ensure that you have a unique proposition and stick to it.
Have a personality
Create a personality for your brand; your brand’s character. This is how the brand communicates with the outside world. It might be expressed in a certain writing style or voice, through key messages or a tagline, design style, colour scheme or even by way of ambassador endorsements.
Once you know what your brand personality is, be consistent. To give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all your messaging is cohesive across all your channels. For some, creating a “style and messaging guide” which we do for a lot of our clients, helps to keep you on track, especially when there may be multiple people within the business communicating about your brand.
Surprise and delight
Customers need to be surprised and delighted at every touchpoint, whether that be product packaging, a promotional offer or customer service call. You want your customers to feel positive about you at all times. By embracing a strategy of surprise and delight across the whole customer journey you can drive emotional connections and create long-term customers and brand advocates.
Provide an emotional connection
This is vital and separates great brands from mediocre ones. Customers aren’t rationale, people have a need to feel closely connected to others, and therefore a brand is worthless if it doesn’t connect with audiences on a deeper, more emotional level by using emotional triggers they can tap into; family, community, charity, peace of mind etc.
Have competitor awareness but don’t copy them
You need to know what competitors are doing so you can be reactive in your own activities and strategies. Whether you’re an SME, an established brand or just someone with the beginnings of a great idea, it pays to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Through competitor analysis, you can future-proof your business and anticipate what’s around the corner for your industry or sector. Plus, it is healthy to continually benchmark your business against others in the sector. Knowing as much as possible about your five closest competitors is a business necessity.
To finish with a quote from Michael Eisner, previous Chief Executive of the Walt Disney Company, which sums up how much work goes into creating and maintaining a great brand.
“A brand is a living entity, and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures.”
Genoa Black is a recommended agency on the Recommended Agency Register for B2B brand strategy, branding design and B2C brand strategy. We’d love to hear about how we can use our know-how to help you build your brand, so why not contact us.
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