Branding To-Do List: The Basics for Anyone Starting a Brand
The power of branding is often underestimated, but it is what keeps customers coming back to a product or service. Experiences and values influence consumers to continue or discontinue purchasing products or services from a brand. In this article we go through the key elements you should consider to create a powerful brand that makes an impact. You can see millions of people wearing the exact same items and eating the exact same food, all because it's their favorite brand.
Some wear the Nike sign with pride because of its quality and the athletes that represent it, while others proudly show off their Apple products and are even reluctant to buy from competitors because they won't fit into their lifestyle.
Our world revolves around brands, even personal brands that have evolved through social media platforms. A brand can easily become a sign of something else, whether that be an eco-friendly and sustainable living, local and organic supporter, active lifestyle, or many more.
Effective brands are engrained in our lives and allow us to feel in tune with who we are and who we consume from. This article reviews some of the key elements brands need to succeed.
Define your Brand Identity
This is your brand's personality, which connects with people's hobbies, values, and habits.
Successful branding allows organizations to make strong connections with their target market and audience on positive and powerful levels by forming perceptions that shape consumers’ desires and decision-making.
Brand identity is a set of values, beliefs, and associations unique to that brand.
A strong brand identity provides a clear vision of how you want to be perceived by your customers, who in turn will recognize themselves in what you do. This encourages them to buy consistently, and become brand ambassadors without even thinking about it.
This is the foundation on which all other elements of branding are built and can be considered the cornerstone upon which any effective marketing plan will rest its success--or suffer failure. A solid brand identity will allow people to see your company as an extension of themselves
Create a Brand Culture that Resonates
Brand culture is the set of values, norms, and behaviors that characterize a company. While it may not necessarily be something you share with your customers, brand culture builds strong and engaged teams within a company, and that can ultimately transfer to how your brand is perceived. It's how collaborators communicate, what they talk about, and how they think about themselves and their role in the business.
Brand culture is related to but distinct from corporate culture, which refers specifically to workplace customs such as dress codes or office etiquette rules; brand culture refers more broadly to how people feel about working for you — including whether they see themselves as part of an elite team or a replaceable member under a structure.
It is the essence of how a brand behaves and operates behind closed doors, and it will shine through when it presents itself to customers.
Understand your Brand’s Purpose
Brand purpose is the reason for a brand's existence. It should be something that customers can relate to and that differentiates it from other brands in the same genre.
Nike's purpose example: “Our purpose is to unite the world through sport to create a healthy planet, active communities, and an equal playing field for all.”
In order for a company's brand purpose to be successful, it needs to be unique and authentic—it must resonate with people on an emotional level. The best way to ensure this is through careful consideration by those who are involved in creating and implementing the brand strategy.
Think about the following:
- What is important for you to achieve through your brand?
- How do you want people to feel when they think about your brand?
- What type of impact do you want your brand to leave behind?
Keep it consistent throughout all marketing efforts (including social media). Once customers get a feel for what makes your brand unique, they won't be easily swayed by competitors who try to sell them something else.
Establish a Realistic Brand Promise
The brand promise summarizes why consumers should choose your product over all others available on the market. It’s important to remember that a brand doesn't exist in isolation. It exists relative to its competitors in the market, and it needs to be positioned for a competitive advantage.
So it's not just about what you do, but how you're different from everyone else as well, and why when a customer chooses you, they are making a decision that aligns with their values.
In other words: Your customers will know exactly what they're getting when they buy something with your logo or name attached to it, and they will be proud to represent themselves through it.
Nike's promise example: “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
Identify your Brand’s Values
Brand values are the pillars of your brand. They help guide decision-making, communication, and behavior—everything from how you talk about yourself as a company to how you treat customers.
Brand values should be consistent with your overall identity and culture, which is why it’s important to understand the difference between them.
Brand values are authentic and meaningful statements that capture what your company stands for. For example eco-friendly commitment, inclusiveness, and transparency.
They should be things that resonate with both employees and consumers alike because they represent the core beliefs of an organization.
Nike's values example: “inspiration, innovation, every athlete in the world, authentic, connected, and distinctive.”
All the elements that go into a brand will undoubtedly affect consumers' reactions toward it. Branding has a direct impact on consumer behavior. It drives the way people think and feels about a certain product or service, which can lead them to make purchasing decisions based on those feelings.
Consumers are more likely to form positive impressions of brands that reflect their own values. Strong branding strategies allow organizations to connect deeply and authentically with their target markets, and succeed in the long term.
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