Building a brand has never been more valuable
Many make the mistake of thinking that a brand is just a company logo or the company name or website. A brand is also not just your products or the services you provide.
A brand is all of that…and more.
When it comes down to it, building a brand is far more about the intangibles than anything else I just mentioned. Sure, you need all of that for your brand to have meaning and to get recognized, but if your brand fails to invoke an emotional reaction in people, it doesn’t really matter if you have a stylish logo or fancy website. People aren’t going to engage nor remember your brand.
A brand strategy is your guide to making that happen. It lays the foundation for how you, others in your company, and people outside think and feel about your company. It’s a long-term plan that won’t play out overnight. Building a brand requires patience and commitment and if you’re not meticulous, it can all come crashing down with just one bad decision or mistake.
What a Brand Strategy Looks Like
Every brand makes a promise, that much is given. What separates the Apple’s and Disney’s from the world is that they go a step further in defining their purpose. The why you wake up and go to work every day is important and will always carry more meaning.
According to Business Strategy Insider, your brand purpose can be thought about in two ways:
- Functional – A focus on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons – i.e. to make money.
- Intentional – A focus on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.
Once you’ve decided on what your brand’s purpose is, you need to go shout it out to everyone in the company. Get every single employee on the same page. Practice and preach it. It’s not enough to just write your purpose down on paper and leave it in your top desk drawer. You need to become a student of success and practice what you preach. Your brand’s success will lie in how well you are able to clearly express its purpose, and how effectively you deliver on it.
Is your brand consistent in what you talk about and how you say it? Consistency has become a critical factor as people expect the world from brands nowadays. Are the topics you’re writing about and sharing on Facebook related to your brand? If you’re Marvel, sharing a dessert recipe instead of a video promo for the next movie is probably not going to help your brand. Your brand strategy should establish specific guidelines for visual content, fonts, colors, styles, etc for everything you create. Cohesive messaging is key to being consistent. These are the types of questions you should be asking when you’re building a brand strategy as it relates to consistency.
Does your brand invoke an underlying feeling or sense of community? The key is to provide people with an opportunity to feel like they’re part of a larger group. They have a sense of belonging. At the end of the day a phone is a phone, but why do people flock towards Apple more so than Microsoft? I’ll let you answer that one.
Our world today is constantly changing and brands need to be able to adapt and change in order to stay relevant. This provides marketers with a certain freedom to be creative but there are obstacles that arise from that as well. If your tactics are no longer working, don’t be afraid to tweak things here and there. Take it as an opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways.
Where consistency sets the standard for your brand, flexibility enables you to make adjustments that raise awareness and distinguish your brand from the rest.
Are your employees all brand ambassadors? The people behind the brand are just as important as what it displayed publicly, if not more so. If your brand is lively and edgy on social media and in ads or emails, this needs to carry through to the front desk receptionist and your customer support team.
It’s not easy building a loyal fanbase, but once you do, don’t let them forget about you. If you already have people that love your brand, reward them for that love. They’ve likely made it a point to promote your brand to their friends and followers over others. Just like employees, they serve as brand ambassadors as well. Sometimes all that’s needed is a simple thank you. Other times, it’ll be appreciated to go above and beyond the normal call of duty. Write them a personal letter or send them some brand swag! Loyalty is a critical part of every brand strategy.