When someone launches a company, they have a brand, whether it’s important to them or not. Essentially a brand is what people think about a company — how they feel when they see or hear about the company. The logo and message on a website or blog support a brand. These experiences help define people’s opinion about the product, services, companies, etc. To build a great brand, it takes careful strategizing and consistently implementing these strategies. You can learn other ways to build a successful brand by joining us during our free webinar training. We want to give you a head start on your brand — check out the tips below that offer suggestion on what characteristics to implement.
1. It has a strong point of view
The Muse recommends making sure your brand has a strong point of view. This means you shouldn’t be afraid to share your beliefs and engage with an audience.
Now don’t get me wrong, building your personal brand doesn’t mean being the loudest and most opinionated person in the room—that’s just obnoxious and we’re so not going for that.
But if you’re always staying quiet or don’t add your voice to the conversation, you might as well be invisible. People take notice when you genuinely engage with others and share your beliefs, so make sure your words count. This also means actually being active on your social media—don’t let your last post be from 2014.
Don’t talk about being passionate, show it.
2. It offers something distinctive
With so many companies emerging online, it’s hard to stand out. That’s why Forbes says you should focus on making a brand that’s unique and distinctive. Below they offer some examples from some well-known companies.
Establishing a brand identity requires something distinctive. For instance, Apple has become known worldwide for their innovative products and minimalistic, aesthetic appeal. When it comes to service companies, Domino’s Pizza used to guarantee that their pizza would arrive in 30 minutes or it’d be free. In terms of a selling point, TOMS shoes donates a free pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes that are bought.
Creating an identity within a niche doesn’t demand a revolutionary idea. It simply needs to have one special thing that separates it from the competition. In reality, it’s possible to be “a one trick pony” as long as that trick is really good. Once a company figures out what that is, it can concentrate on it and should gain recognition in time.
Do you know what your unique product, service, or selling point is within your niche? If not, start there when building your branding strategy.
3. It’s consistent
Consistency is key, which is why Forbes reminds new companies to stay consistent with their customers. They must uphold a particular standard with their products and services; otherwise, their audience will have a hard time being loyal.
When consumers come back to a business for repeat sales, they usually expect to receive the same level of quality as they did the first time. Restaurants and their food and service quality are a great example of this.
No one wants to deal with a company they can’t rely on for consistency. With so many industries being saturated with competitors, inconsistency is often enough of a reason for consumers to take their business elsewhere.
That’s why it’s so important to adhere to a certain quality standard with a product or service. An example of a brand who offers amazing consistency is McDonald’s. This powerhouse of the fast food world provides patrons with a menu that’s consistent across the world. Whether someone orders in Florida or China, they know that a Big Mac is going to taste the same.
Tailor Brands adds to Forbes’ argument as to why consistency is critical. To stay consistent, you should focus on an active marketing campaign and stay loyal to the overall message you are trying to convey.
One aspect that is often overlooked during branding and consumer feedback processes is consistency. Some companies may panic when they hear that a marketing campaign or branding strategy didn’t land well. In a rush to “fix” things, they may go back to the drawing board and decide they need something entirely new.
While fine-tuning and constantly evolving is important, the only way consumers remember your company is if they have a clear point of reference.
By staying on message, even as your specific campaigns change, and keeping consistent branding in design, color choices, language, and tone, your brand will start to become associated with these individual characteristics. No matter what a specific campaign is saying, your brand will always shine through.
4. It has a smart strategy
Having a smart plan as Entrepreneur recommends is everything. Once again, your customers must know how important it is to you to continue to add value to your services and products.
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it's not just the shoe's features that sell the shoe.
5. It offers value
Having a brand that provides value to its customers is essential, according to Bond Street. Think carefully about what you can offer your customers and why that is unique compared to similar brands that are offering the same products.
One thing to consider is the idea of value.
Taken from one perspective, value could mean that your brand’s products are identified as being a better deal than the competition because you are known for your fair/reasonable prices.
From another perspective, value could mean that your brand’s products are considered valuable because they last a lifetime, provide a more distinguished experience, or will enhance a customer’s reputation or self-conception, hence justifying their premium pricing.
So, not only is pricing part of your brand, as in, how much the thing actually costs. But also how well the price matches the perceived value, and what implications that has for the consumer’s concept of your brand.
Ikea’s brand communicates utility at an affordable price.
Value is a fluid metric that takes in the satisfaction of the experience and the time and money it takes to make someone happy.
6. Understand how important it is to plan
The Balance Small Business reminds companies how important it is to plan. Why? If you don’t have a plan, how are things going to work out? Your plan may not go as perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lay out a project to follow.
How do you know if your brand is strong enough to give you the internal and external value that you need? Start by asking yourself the following:
Does the brand relate to my target audience? Will they instantly “get it” without too much thought?
Does the brand share the uniqueness of what I am offering and why it's important?
Does the brand reflect the promise made to my target audience and hold value for my internal audience?
Does the brand reflect the values that I want to represent to my customers?
Let these questions serve as a guideline in the development of your brand. If you're not sure about the answers then you may want to revamp your branding efforts.
Medium also reiterates how imperative it is to plan, but not to be blinded by the outcome. There’s always a way to change your plan and strive for greatness once more!
Don’t be depressed. This is not about working hard, planning and optimizing with data only to discover that a brand’s success will be predicated solely on hitting a particular moment in time and getting lucky. It’s not entirely the lottery. Still, it would help if more leaders understood the power of capturing the zeitgeist and how often simply being luckier than your competitors is much more truth than a best laid plan. It’s also important — as you plan for brand greatness — that leaders not look simply at the outcome (what lived up to consumer’s expectations) as the ingredients for what makes a brand great.
The 6 characteristics are a good starting point to build your brand, but there are still ways to expand your knowledge as you develop a strong brand online. We provide tips on how you can grow your business and earn more money during our free webinar training.