Developing a brand is important, but making sure that your efforts are being invested towards a strong brand is perhaps even more so. It goes with the age-old saying (and Marstudio’s motto): If you are going to do it, do it right. In other words, if you are going to invest the time, effort, and money into creating a brand, do it right and take the additional steps to ensure it is a strong brand.
A strong brand is:
There are several ways you can develop each of these 8 important traits of a strong brand.
Your company’s position in the market should be unambiguous, and distinct from your competition. Can your clients and/or potential consumers easily answer the questions “What does this company stand for?” and “Why are they in business?” If so, you are on the right track! If not, it is important that you put some effort towards creating this level of clarity for your clients. You can emphasize the distinguishing features of your brand through a well-written mission statement, a well-defined set of company values and goals, and a well-designed visual representation of your brand. Remember, clarity involves both content and design.
Your brand should be experienced the same way during every interaction, everywhere. In a world dominated by media, consistency is especially important. Your brand should be represented the same way across all media platforms. To do this, you should use the same voice and writing style for all written communication. You should develop a corporate identity and ask for a branding sheet that provides logo options for various kinds of implementation (for example, a dark vs light background, a black and white vs color option). Create brand standards for your marketing materials and use those elements on everything from your Twitter page to your brochures and website.
A strong brand is easily recalled in the minds of consumers. The different elements of your brand, like logo, slogan, and colors, should be recognized independently from one another. Consistency plays a key role in recognizability, as does differentiation.
As stated earlier, your brand should be distinct from your competition. In order to differentiate your company, think outside of the box. If your industry is full of outdated standards, take a risk and stand out! Choose more contemporary colors, a creative company naming concept, or invest in a stylish, custom website to emphasize your company’s unique features. The more differentiation, the more memorable your company will be within your industry, aiding in recognizability.
Your brand should not appear forced. In the current Marketing Era, consumers are more skeptical than ever, and more aware of artificial business attitudes and actions. Your brand should genuinely and readily reflect your clearly defined values, mission, and goals. These aspects of your brand should also be reflected in your corporate actions. To accomplish this, simply be true to your brand! You have created a certain personality, a certain brand attitude; stick with it.
Your brand should be used as a tool to sell your company, services, and/or products. Not only should a strong brand provide reassurance and appear trustworthy; it should also add an emotional layer to your company, service, or product. More than likely there is a similar company in the market who is selling a similar service or product for the same price. By adding emotional value to what you offer, you are further differentiating yourself from the competition as well as tapping into a huge consumer buying force. A powerful means to creating an emotional connection is a brand story: an omnipresent narrative about your company that focuses on the human interest of your brand. Another means is social good. Perhaps you strongly believe in giving back to your community, using renewable resources, or promoting equality. Take these noble convictions and incorporate them into your company! Not only will your company be acting benevolently and benefiting others, consumers will take notice and want to be a part of it.
A strong brand is felt both internally and externally. Your employees should be inspired by the brand and committed to its goals. A unified company with happy, dedicated employees will resonate with consumers. You can create this by writing a powerful and positive mission statement and set of values and goals for your employees – something greater than profit. This will create unity and cohesiveness within the company as you all work towards a common goal.
As you take steps to establish and amplify each one of these brand traits, your overall brand will also become stronger and increasingly beneficial to your company.
A strong brand positively effects everyone: employees, consumers, owners, and investors. Internally, a strong brand focuses and motivates employees, resulting in higher employee loyalty, more efficient and effective operations, and, because people will want to work for your company, a larger hiring pool. Externally, it attracts consumers, increases your company’s trustworthiness, and facilitates the development of strong customer relationships. In other words, a strong brand creates customer loyalty which attracts business investors and increases your market value. According to Interbrand, a high level of customer loyalty is ideal for a company to keep generating demand and profit for the future.
Also, a strong brand increases your competitive edge, allowing your company to respond better to change in the competitive market. This competitive edge may result from successful differentiation, which will help your company stand out in the tumultuous marketplace.
To summarize: A strong brand is clear, consistent, recognizable, different, authentic, emotional, and inspirational. A strong brand is an important and necessary business investment because it fosters employee and customer loyalty, increases market value, attracts investors, reduces competition, and increases recognition.
This is the second article in the Marstudio Info Series: All About Brands. Read the first article here.