Brand is made up of quality and service. The logo is the image of the brand, and people remember it through the experience your business delivered.
Your brand is your reputation — the most valuable thing you possess. A strong brand and the trust it engenders are the only aspects of your company that competitors can’t steal.
Brands are also the most powerful business tools in business as they help customers to understand the positioning of products in their market contexts, and encourage customers to come back for repeat business.
The path to brand awesomeness is 1) a promise 2) a personality and 3) unwavering focus on that promise that will ultimately deliver you brand equity.
What remains key for a brand to be successful in its industry is consistency. It must consistently deliver great services and great results from its product lineup or multiple services.
Research into current trends and your own brand’s data will improve your products and services in the creation of a successful brand, and enable the company to compete efficiently. This is why research and development is a must in any business.
What do great brands share?
- a compelling idea that captures customer’s attention and loyalty by filling an unmet or unsatisfied need.
- A resolute core purpose and supporting values. These remain in place even through the business strategy, where tactics are regularly revised to address and take advantage of the circumstances of the changing business environment.
- A central organisational principle. The brand position, purpose and values are employed as management levers to guide decision-making. This becomes so ingrained in leading organisations that they consciously ask themselves, “How will this decision impact upon the brand?” or “Is this on-brand?” According to Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather: “Once the enterprise understands what the brand is all about, it gives direction to the whole enterprise. You know what products you’re supposed to make and not make. You know how you’re supposed to answer your telephone. You know how you’re going to package things. It gives a set of principles to an entire enterprise.”
- An ability to stay relevant. Leading brands constantly maintain their relevance to a targeted set of customers, ensuring ownership of clear points of differentiation compared to the competition.
Not all brands are successful and successful brands can lose their way, the most common cause being that of lost leadership taking the brand for granted. This usually happens when brand owners treat their asset as a cash cow, eroding the original brand idea and marginalising the customer experience. It goes without saying, a good product is only as good as the accompanying service.
How do you create a great brand?
– Brands should look to relevance, differentiation and credibility. Never lose touch with your customer or ignore a potential new audience. Make your customer real. Determine your ideal customer and market to that person.
Be authentic and consistent in your messaging, visuals, and experience. If you claim customer service is your most important differentiator, then return calls and emails in a reasonable amount of time and don’t leave people in an automated telephone maze to get the help they need. If you claim quality, make sure your products are up to scratch.
Bear in mind that people need to experience things multiple times before they stick. Be clear but be consistent – they need to see your message seven times before they are likely to remember it. The Nike swoosh did not see overnight success, it spent years and lots of money making that mark mean something to people. Don’t expect one ad to get you to your sales targets, or a website to get you all your customers. Branding is not the same as direct response marketing – it takes time and it should be integrated across all your customer touch points.
Brands that communicate unique selling propositions are the most convincing to clients and the easiest for them to remember. Ensure all of your communications – not just advertising and marketing pieces – are consistent with your brand. Everything your company distributes must reflect it.
Continually promote, publicise, and invest in your brand. Building a business brand can be compared to training and conditioning an athlete: The harder he works, the better the results.
Who is a brand manager?
Brand-building skills require creative, intelligent, innovative, adventuresome, nurturing, disciplined and service focused managers. Brand managers are role models who portray appropriate behaviour and act in the best interests of the brand and company. Conversely, they must also challenge convention to keep the brand fresh by questioning what has become the status quo. They must be continually searching out what makes the brand unique. Customer preferences, competitive frameworks and market conditions are incredibly dynamic. Renewing and refreshing the brand to ensure continuing relevance, differentiation and credibility are the most strategic tasks and perhaps the most consuming tactically. Brand managers must determine what cannot change and what must change.
The questions CEO’s should be asking are:
How can my company ensure delivery on its brand promises to customers?
How can I meet sustainability concerns and protect brand value?
And how do I develop the type of workforce associated with a world-class brand?
Ultimately, brand custodianship should not just be left in the hands of the brand manager or CEO. Rather, each and every staff member should carry their own brand loyalty through their every spoken word, action and service orientation… at the end of the day it is people who interact with brands and it is their emotional dynamics that the message is tapping directly into.