What makes a brand stand out? Why do some companies or products command such a high degree of loyalty from their customers? Whether it’s someone who only owns cars made by Ford or only drinks soda made by Pepsi, brand loyalty is very common in modern life.
So if you’re a company just starting out, how do you build your own brand identity? Even the huge multi-national brands had to start from scratch at one point. Here are 8 important keys to building your own brand that will stand out from the crowd.
- Have a specific vision for your brand
No customer is shopping around looking for “okay.” When considering which product or service to use, consumers always look for something unique, something they can’t get anywhere else.
A good exercise here is to picture your brand as a book on a shelf at a bookstore. When a shopper is browsing the store, they are not presented with just a few options, but rather they are presented with hundreds of different books to choose from. If you can’t clearly explain what is so unique about your business, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Be courageous! Branding rewards creativity and big ideas!
- Focus Your Branding efforts on Creating Value
Consumers are selfish, they don’t care how great your company is or what you think about anything except how you can help them. Your brand identity should focus entirely on what benefits you can offer your customers and the effect you can have on their lives.
As an example, think of the classic Olive Garden ad campaign that says “When you’re here, you’re family!” Notice how it focuses entirely on the value provided to the customers and the feeling they aim to deliver. An ad campaign that simply advertised “We make the best Italian Food!” would have a small fraction of the impact.
- Be Authentic!
Creativity doesn’t just mean making things up. Your branding material should be an accurate reflection of you and your company. Consumers are not stupid and they can tell when you’re not being honest to them.
- Give your Brand Meaning
The most successful brands have a deeper meaning to their loyal followers than simply what they do. Instead, the goal is to get your potential customers to connect to your brand on an emotional level.
Here’s an Example: Too many, the Nike “Swoosh” logo and their slogan, “Just Do It.” represent so much more than sneakers and sweatpants. It conjures up images of great athletes overcoming adversity and performing to their peak abilities. If you’re selling athletic gear, you couldn’t ask for a much better meaning for your brand.
- Be Unique!
Brands are everywhere begging for our attention. With so many choices for just about everything we do, consumers are bombarded with options. If you are going to succeed, you need to convince them that there is something about your brand that they can get nowhere else.
Remember, standing out does not always mean simply talking about how you are better than the competition. Instead, it’s better to consider what it is that you can offer that they cannot. There’s a famous saying in business that “Different is better than better!”
- Consistency in branding is key
Brands are not built overnight and if you are constantly changing your branding strategy, you will never get any footing. Branding is a long-term play and not a way to make a quick buck. It can take years for a brand to become a household name.
If creating a successful brand was quick and easy, there would be a lot more successful brands out there!
- Coherent Messaging
Even if your branding is strong, all it takes is one bad interaction with anybody in your company to totally ruin a customer’s experience. Because of this, it’s tremendously important to make sure everyone in your company is on the same page when it comes to the voice of your brand. Make sure you spend the time and effort to make sure your team is fully informed about your brand and branding strategy.
- Commit to Branding
Finally, if you are going to be successful in creating a strong brand for your company, you need to understand that you need to commit to it. This means that your branding cannot simply be empty words. Every decision made at every level of your company must be made with the success of the brand in mind.
Only once your branding messaging is part of your companies DNA will you begin to see the intense customer loyalty shown to the most popular brands. Make no mistake, building a brand is not easy, but the rewards of a successful branding campaign are huge.