Building a successful brand

Having the best name, logo and advertising alongside all of your best efforts won't compensate for a having a weak brand. But, what is a brand and how can you build a strong one? The tips presented in this article will offer you answers to these burning questions and summarise the golden rules of powerful branding to help ensure your brand is prepared for sustainable growth.

1. A strong brand starts with positioning

Your position is where your brand begins. It's the unique space in your customer's mind that only your offering can fill. You need to determine and stake your position before you develop the brand that will live there. Positioning is the process of finding an unfulfilled want or need in your customer's mind and then addressing that need with a distinctive, unique and ideally suited offering.

Rules to remember:

  • Your position must be open
  • Your position must be based on a unique point of difference, that's believable and truly attractive to your customer
  • Your point of difference must be delivered with such consistency that every experience they have with your brand reminds customers why they chose you and will ensure their ongoing loyalty

2. A brand is a promise well kept

Brands are promises that your customers can believe in. It's the promise you make about who you are and the unique benefits your brand will deliver. It needs to be reinforced every time someone comes in contact with your business - whether as a customer, prospect, investor, employee, supplier, friend etc.

Your promise is the pledge upon which you stake the reputation of your brand. It's the expectation you must live up to every time people experience your brand, whether through advertising, promotions, buying experiences, service encounters etc.

A successful brand strategy results in an accurate reflection of who you are and what you promise to those that come in contact with your business.

3. Branding happens from the inside out

Your brand is a reflection of what you stand for. It must align perfectly with the values and purpose of your business. If it doesn't, the identity you present to the world won't synchronise with the identity residing at the heart of your business and your customers will sense a lack of credibility, tuning out your marketing efforts as a result.

To arrive at a brand that perfectly reflects the essence of your organisation you should begin the branding process by writing three essential statements:

  • Your vision statement
  • Your mission statement
  • Your brand statement

4. Consistency builds brands

Once you're clear about what you stand for, you're ready to deliver your product, promise and brand experience with total consistency. Doing so will put the odds strongly in your favour to take on and win against brands that shift with the wind, no matter how visually polished their identities or beautiful their marketing materials.

You need to create a consistent brand that consumers can count on by:

  • Displaying a consistent look
  • Projecting a consistent tone
  • Delivering a consistent level of quality, as demonstrated through consistent communication and consistent products and services
  • Be consistently true to the heart of the brand

5. People power brands

Brands are made or broken by human encounters that either advance or erode your brands promise. Passionate employees and passionate customers - in that order - power great brands. By developing clear brand understanding, enthusiasm and commitment within your business be assured that customer understanding, enthusiasm and commitment will follow.

Great brand names, logos, promises and communication programs are essential ingredients for brand success and to attain future sustainable growth. However, it doesn't end there. You need to develop brand champions. You must begin with the leader of your business and ensure you include every single person that affects the consumer's experience when they come in contact with your brand offering.

6. Brands live in your customer's minds

When people see or hear your name; they automatically conjure up impressions and memories that determine what they believe about your business. Their notion may be the result of firsthand encounters with your product or service, their notions may be based on communications they've seen or heard i.e. your brochures, promotional materials, advertisements, displays, signs, news articles, even your logo. Their notions may have even been formed by listening to second hand recaps of other customers' experiences, passed on by word-of-mouth or online. Regardless of your customers' beliefs about your brand being many or few, good or bad, accurate or inaccurate, they build the image of your brand in their minds and influence how they think and buy.

Your brand lives in your customers' mind whether you intentionally put it there or not. Compelling branding is the way of making sure that the brand image you have is the brand image you want!

7. Brand names unlock brand images

Your brand is a set of memories that are recalled when people see or hear your name. Choosing the perfect name establishes your brand from the day it's announced and it grows with your business and your vision as you reach into new market areas, new geographic regions, and even new product areas.

8. Brand experiences trump brand messages

When it comes to branding, what you say pales in comparison to what you do. When customers gravitate to one brand over its competitors their decisions are rarely based on reactions to marketing messages alone. Instead, customers rely on their own experiences. As we have discussed earlier, they choose and stay with brands that they believe will keep their promise to them as customers, based on what they have personally seen and sensed.

To create a brand experience capable of moving markets and instilling loyalty you should convey, reinforce and amplify your brand promise through every encounter your customers could possibly have with your business. From the office of the CEO down and from the first inquiry to the last service call you must live your brand internally. All it takes is one poorly handled phone call or one erroneous invoice and your brand image will suffer, undoing all of the work you have done and budgets you have invested in building your brand to that point.

'Being the brand' isn't just talk, it's the key to branding success.

9. Brands need to start and stay relevant

To win and keep a coveted place in your customers' mind; your brand must begin and continue to be credible, competitive, current and relevant to customers' wants, needs and interests. That means you have to stay tuned to market conditions, consumer preferences and cultural trends not just when the brand first establishes itself but on a regular basis as your brand matures.

Markets and businesses change, when they do, the brands that remain stuck in the past pay a high price in terms of credibility and competitiveness. You must ensure you keep up with your customers no matter what influences your businesses.

10. Brands are valuable assets

For most successful businesses in the world, brand is often the most valuable single asset those businesses own. When companies with great brands are sold, the value of the brand often accounts for as much as half of the sale price. But brand value also translates into everyday economic benefit to you as a business. For example you can:

  • Offer premium pricing structures
  • Lower the cost of sales and promotions
  • Gain a much larger market share
  • Reduce the threat of competition
  • Offer greater employee satisfaction
  • Significantly increase recognition by customers, industry leaders, media, investors and analysts

The success of your business is important to us and it is our hope that in sharing these 10 top tips we have given you some helpful suggestions that will move you in the right direction for preparing your brand for sustainable growth. Your brand is a valuable asset that requires serious attention and consideration and in so many ways can, when dealt with correctly, make a significant contribution to the sustainability of your business and its growth.

If, having read this article, you believe your business needs to review or evolve its brand then please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements in more detail.