As the internet and social media are increasingly equalizing market reach, businesses that flourish are often those that develop creative and effective branding strategies. Although providing a quality product or service remains essential, establishing a unique brand identity and recognizable value is also a decisive element of business success.
A brand is more than just a name and a logo, it is the idea of your company in the public consciousness. It is the emotional bond between business and consumer that envelops not only the messages and values that your marketers put forth but also the sum of experiences that the consumer has with your company.
Using skilled and strategic branding effort companies are able to shape that bond into a powerful marketing tool with the following essential qualities.
- Be Distinctive
Unique and recognizable characteristics are required for creating brand identities. Whether it’s the unmistakable Nike swoosh or the minimalist apple design, obvious and well-defined brand attributes facilitate brand awareness and simplify marketing rhetoric.
It doesn’t just have to be visual. Service guarantees or environmental friendliness can set your brand above your competitors and give you a unique brand identity that speaks to your customers. Once you formulate your brand’s distinctive niche, you can easily apply focussed marketing to gain recognition.
What is your company’s distinctive characteristic, product, or service within your market niche? If you’re not sure, this second essential quality will help you create one.
- Know your Audience
Having a clear and thorough understanding of the wants, desires, and demographics of a target market is essential to a successful brand. Even widespread chains with diverse markets still have comprehensive attributes in their target markets. Understanding your customers is essential to creating cohesive and coordinated marketing campaigns that can truly strengthen the bond between brand and customer.
Knowing your audience also means understanding that you can’t always appeal to everyone. Broad attempts to cater to all markets can be futile; blanket marketing campaigns often ineffective and unprofitable. Intelligent branding requires identifying both your market and your goals in order to create a unified strategy.
- Stay Passionate
Genuine enthusiasm and passion is central to create a lasting brand, business, or product. It is a continuous impetus for hard work and constant improvement and can be found in any successful business.
Consumers, especially those on social media, want to feel that enthusiasm that you bring to your brand. If you can instill a bit of your passion into them, it can be infections; turning your consumers into marketers and generating referrals and advertising on your behalf.
- Be Consistent
Whether with branding, marketing, or product delivery, consistency is key. Reliably good service or products will keep consumers coming back for repeat sales. However, if the service or product ranges between excellent and fair, trust in the brand will be undermined, even if, on average, a customer receives a better service or product. Unreliable service, products, or quality will often force customers to find other, more dependable, sources.
Restaurants and food services rely heavily on consistency to promote their brands. McDonald’s isn’t successful because it has the world’s best hamburgers. What it does have is consistent menus, consistent order times, and consistent venues, whether in Beijing or Berlin.
Once that relationship between brand and customer is made, it is reinforced and maintained by reliability and consistency- of message, of service, of product.
- Get Exposure
Becoming a successful, instantly recognizable brand also depends greatly upon exposure. Although once market reach was heavily constrained by budgets, favoring larger companies, social media and the internet have have leveled the playing field dramatically. Bolstering your presence online and on social media networks can create substantial market reach.
Brochures, advertising campaigns, and TV commercials are still important parts of branding and marketing and are reinforced and supported by a strong online presence. However, it is important to understand social media, staying particularly aware of the previous four traits, in order to use it effectively.
- Stay Competitive
Just like any service or product, for a brand to have continued success in today’s markets it must stay competitive. Recognizing changes in the market and continuing to improve and adjust accordingly will allow your brand to remain vital and relevant.
Especially now, with social media, stagnation can mean decline and obscurity for a brand. The most prosperous players in an industry are those that do not sit back and observe but rather continue to interact with their customers and analyze their markets.
- Lead your Brand
Leadership and engagement are possibly the most important components to creating a successful brand. Whether a CEO of a large company or the owner of a family business, confidence and consideration of not only products and customers but also staff and associates will strengthen and promote your brand from within.
Developing and promoting a strong and lasting brand requires coordinated, collaborative effort but it also requires a firm vision of the brand and the tenacity to get it there. Engaging with your team and consumers, letting them see your hand on the tiller, will instill your passion and confidence into them and invigorate your business and your brand.