Richard Branson the founder of Virgin, famously said ‘the business branding that will thrive in the coming years are the ones that have a purpose beyond the profit’. Your businesses brand is like your reputation and if executed correctly can be your most important asset. Your brand can sell to your customers piggybacked off this factor alone. A well-defined brand encapsulates all aspects of the business and is closely connected to consumer needs. Brand Strategy goes far beyond a logo or a tagline and exceeds the demand of perfect execution, Brand Strategy is a plan that defines long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand.
Your brand is not just the stuff that you say aloud, its the unspoken, intangible stuff. Think about the feeling that separates a powerhouse brand from the mediocre. Branding is more of an art and less of a science. But, by following these points you can take the steps in the right direction you will be able to capture a piece of the branding magic for your business.
This point should be fairly obvious but is where so many businesses fail. Marrying what your brand promises to what your brand actually is, is vital for how your consumers will perceive your business. Make sure everything your business does, everything it puts its brand on is with intention. Never do anything to half the capacity and expect it to reflect positively on your brand. Be 100%.
Consistency goes beyond using your branding across all mediums in the same way. Consistency also relates to avoiding talking about things which do not relate or enhance your brand. Even the simplest things such as posting a blog need to ensure that the message aligns with your branding and nothing is random or it could confuse your audience.
To avoid sending out the wrong message it is beneficial to create a style guide. This style guide can encompass everything from your imagery, tone of voice and colour scheme. Checking off against your style guide before posting any content can help you and your employees understand the message you would like to portray and your positioning.
Westpac Australia displays brand consistency through their Instagram page. Westpac posts a diverse range of content, but nothing diverges outside of their branding. Everything they post is consistent and it creates a good flow for their audience.
What sets a strong brand which resonates with its audience apart from the forgettable. It’s emotion, it’s personality, it’s the ability for a brand to relate to its audience. People are not robots, they are not always rational.
Why do customers pay double the price for Coca-Cola when home brand Cola is on the shelf below it? There is an emotional voice in their head somewhere saying ‘Buy Coca-Cola’. Megabrands such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds are masters of emotional triggers which strengthen their audiences relationships. Both brands place emphasis on the emotional experience that their consumer will receive from their products than the actual product itself. Think about Coca-Cola ads, always friends laughing together and smiling. What about every-time you drive past a McDonalds and see the playground, doesn’t that remind you of birthday parties you shared with your closest friends and family. Think about adding emotion and relating experiences to your products next time you are creating a marketing campaign.
The brands that will see the most success and longevity are the brands which are flexible and able to adjust freely to their environment. This sounds simple, but when you’re creating or building your brand it should be considered. Branding which focus on the latest fads and are birthed from a trend are good for short-term returns. But, brands which are going to stand the test of times are the ones which are not attached to situations such as these. Making your brand functional and relevant is essential. Making your brand relate directly to your products or services can be a mistake should things change or expand in the future, think of Virgin.
The sense of belonging to something bigger than just a product. The feeling of self and identifying with a brand for social or economic reasons. This one should be fairly obvious. Imagine, you are walking down the street you notice people passing you listening to their iPhones through white headphones. This PR stunt is no accident, Apple designed this aspect of their product to invoke a sense of community for those participating, and a fear of missing out to those who do not yet own an Apple iPhone.
Community goes beyond product recognition.
6. Competitive Awareness
This point is related more to keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing and what angle they are taking to attract the audience which you share. Observing how other businesses are using their brand and to what success they are having.