What does it mean to build a brand?
Many of us can remember jingles, commercials, and characters from our favorite brands dating as far back as childhood. From “Got Milk” to “Double Double Your Refreshment,” from the GEICO gecko to Mayhem, certain things are instantly recognizable to many consumers.
These taglines and characters are part of the collective idea we have about a company — that is, its brand.
What can you do to build a consistent, long-lasting brand for your own business? Here are some top tips to get you started.
What Do You Stand For?
Too many business owners get lost in the weeds of branding — they focus so much on picking colors and designing a logo that they forget the real heart of their company. Yes, your logo matters and colors are important, but the public face of your company is about much more than aesthetics.
Your values as a company are the core of your brand. Your mission statement should be much more than a piece of paper or a plaque on the wall. It should embody how you operate your company and the attitude that your leaders impress upon your staff.
As you build your brand, look beyond your logo and think about how you really want to present your company to the world.
Examples of Great Brands
One of the best ways to understand what makes a truly great and consistent brand is to look at companies who have stood the test of time.
One example is Coca-Cola. Instead of focusing on a specific product, they present themselves as “selling happiness in a bottle.” They use simple taglines, including “Enjoy” and “Happiness.” This allows them to market themselves around the planet without any confusion. Through changes in products, formulations, and more, Coca-Cola endures as one of the most well-known brands in the world.
Apple is another example of extraordinary branding. They sell technology, but they sell much more than that. They sell an idea of simplicity, sleekness, and professionalism that no other brand has matched. As a result, no matter what they create and how expensive it is, they have lines that stretch for blocks to get the latest release.
Finally, take a look at Patagonia. They don’t just sell outdoor clothing; they focus on selling and supporting the outdoor lifestyle overall. Their products are high-quality and carry a higher price, and their branding is remarkably consistent. Patagonia doesn’t just sell an image; they live up to their values. With a variety of environmental efforts, they let customers know that they want to keep the outdoors clean and accessible for generations to come.
How to Create Your Own Successful Brand
As you can see, there’s more to a successful brand than a flagship product or logo. The key to creating your own enduring brand is to decide what your core values are as a company. Then, embody those and let people know that these are your central focus.
It’s important not to present an empty facade, though. You have to live out, in your operations and in how you treat others, the values you espouse. For instance, if you focus on protecting the environment, make sure everything from your energy use to your packaging aligns with those values.
If people discover that you’re all talk and no substance, you can lose your following overnight — and it will be very difficult to recover. Even an established brand that takes a stand inconsistent with its operations can struggle, as Nike found out when it tried to take a social justice stand while being widely known to abuse labor overseas.
Once you have a core identity, it’s time to spread the message. Share on your website, through social media, in the press, and through your advertising. As you do, you’ll start to draw the right audience to your brand. Over time you can build a community online, and your business will thrive.
The Power of Brand Identity
Having a strong brand identity helps your business attract new customers and retain current ones. You want to be instantly recognizable when people see your content. Even if they don’t read it with their full attention, they’ll think of your company and products for at least a few seconds each time they see it.
Brand identity also helps your business in other ways. It helps potential customers see your business in a positive light, increasing the chances that they will buy from you. Having a good reputation is also an important part of attracting and retaining the talent you need to work for your company. Your company culture matters a great deal to new hires, and your brand impacts the public perception of that environment.
Branding helps you stand out from your competitors as well. Why should someone buy your product or service instead of someone else’s? The reason might be how your brand sells not just an item, but an idea about how life can be. Consumers recognize these messages as they are repeated over time, and your branding starts to draw in your ideal customers.
Consistent Brands Build Businesses
As a company, your public face is your brand. It’s the way you present yourself to the world. When you base your brand on your core principles, it will give you a powerful identity. This identity will attract your ideal customers and give you an enduring foundation for your company’s future.
However, your brand won’t mean anything if your internal practices aren’t consistent with the values you espouse. Presenting your brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%, so make sure your messaging is “on brand.”
Make sure you live up to your ideals, and your customers will respect both your brand and your business methods. As a result, you’ll have consistent customers and be better able to attract and retain top talent.
Do you have a great consistent brand? If not, start building one today with the marketing experts at Spiralytics!