We all know the stuff of brands; it’s the unique design, sign, symbol, words – or combination of these things – that together create an organisation’s image. This image, and the story that you tell, helps people to identify your organisation’s product and differentiate it from your competitors. If your brand is proactively built, and positively sustained, over time it accumulates credibility, quality, trust and value in the mind of the consumer. As a result, it helps consumers identify the benefits of one organisation over another.
In all manners of business, a strong, positive brand is essential. However, creating a valuable brand is not a simple and static process; your brand must be constantly looked at to ensure it stays relevant and continues to increase in value. Simply having a nice logo isn’t enough. If you want to establish and fortify your own business’s brand, you must first develop a clear and uniform understanding of your brand identity and, with this understanding, develop a brand strategy for how you’ll best communicate just what makes your business so amazing.
Foster your brand
All businesses’ brand identities are determined by their business plan. So, to create and maintain a strong brand strategy, you need to keep an eye on what your businesses goals and aspirations are. Defining a clear brand strategy from your business goals will help you to develop, deliver and manage the brand going forward.
To develop a brand strategy, consider the 3 Ps (Purpose, Potential, and Promise):
- Purpose: What is the purpose of your brand and business? What does it value?
- Potential: Realistically consider your ability to achieve your brand goals. For instance, if you aspire to be the top performer in your industry, do you have the time, money and resources to achieve that? Create your own niche and unique position in the market in comparison to the competition.
- Promise: What do you have to offer to your audience and how are you going to deliver this? What makes you stand out from your competitors? How do you fulfil the brand’s purpose within your potential?
Understand the organisation’s goals, ambitions, and capabilities
To further establish and maintain a successful brand identity, be very clear on your organisation’s goals, ambitions and capabilities. Some key things to consider include: What do you want the business to be? Is it that already? If not, how can you become that? Or, if it is, how do you communicate what makes your business special to your customers?
The answers to these questions will allow you to develop an in-depth understanding of the business’ current situation, where it wants to be and what it can achieve. Whilst doing this, ruthlessly assess what the business really is, considering what is good and bad about it. Only by honestly assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your organisation, can you develop a brand communication strategy that will improve the business.
Consider your customer
Another key component to building and maintaining a strong brand within today’s competitive market is understanding your customer – what they need and want. The customer should be at the forefront of your mind when you are developing your brand because they are your most important supporter. Before you can communicate your brand message to them, you need to ensure that it appeals to them and will be unique within the current market. Today’s market is incredibly competitive and your brand needs to have some sort of X factor – that can be positioned along with your unique story – to cut through. It’s all about figuring out what your point of difference is and owning it!
The product isn’t everything
When it comes to building, and maintaining, a brand it’s not just about having a good product or service and distributing it. The brand’s story must be brought to life in everything the business does, including its products or services, price point, packing, staff, stores or distribution methods, communications, and corporate social responsibility activities.
On a similar note, however, don’t try to be everything to everyone. Even the best brands understand that they can’t appeal to everyone, so they develop an intimate understanding of their distinct target audience. Essentially, in everything you do, develop a unique position and stand for something.
Love your brand
A brand is something that needs constant TLC to maintain its value and credibility in the market. To do this, everyone involved in the business must be involved and present. A brand identity should be treated like a living, organic thing that must be sustained and nurtured, otherwise it withers and dies. This is especially true in today’s digital age, where business never sleeps and social media connects everyone 24/7.
People can now engage with an organisation at any time, from anywhere and information can spread globally in an instant. As a result, social media should be constantly monitored and utilised to protect and share your brand. Depending on how it is used, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for accumulating supporters and/or opposition.
Businesses today need to be vigilant and constantly monitor their story and how people feel about them so they can quickly respond to issues and share positive developments. This also applies to all aspects of a business and its communications. Constant monitoring, in-depth planning and proactive action will develop and maintain a strong brand, which paves the way to successful business.
If you want to look at how you can better communicate what makes your brand special, get in touch! We’d love to chat.