Understand the essential components that every great brand has.
Make no mistake about it: your brand is a living thing. You conceive of it, you bring it into the world, and you nurture it. Like a person, your brand is a multi-layered, ever-evolving entity, with its own personality and voice. It communicates and makes promises to people. It lives in a world where only the strongest survive.
In our information-choked world, brands compete with thousands of bits of information every day in an effort to occupy just a small part of the consumer’s brain. If yours is a strong, consistently-delivered brand that connects with your customer, it can cut through all that clutter so that your customer can absorb its message, and respond to it.
So, good branding matters. It’s more than catchy marketing speak. It’s what builds customer loyalty over time, and in turn builds your business.
You can measure the strength of your brand through an examination of its various components. If you don’t haven’t already identified your brand’s components, read on and make note of which ones you’ve got well defined, and which ones you need to work on. These components should be understood by your entire staff and aligned with one another. When a brand’s elements are out of alignment, it’s like a person who has difficulty communicating effectively, or whose words don’t quite jive with certain actions. The confusion or the distrust that ensues can quickly turn people off.
It’s easy to allow your brand to get out of alignment. You may feel the urge to imitate your competition, or you may get excited about pursuing a new market segment. When you add to your offerings or seek out new marketing tactics, you need to have a good handle on what your brand is — and what it isn’t — so that these efforts strengthen your brand instead of dilute it.
Start by identifying the components of your brand, then work to reinforce those that feel weak or undefined. Is your brand in strong health, or is it in critical condition?
The 8 important components of your brand:
1. Brand Definition
This is a description of what your business is — who you are, what you offer, and to whom. As the foundation of your brand, your brand definition should be stable and solid, and never confusing. Though this seems pretty straightforward, it can often be communicated in an over-complicated way, making what you do the first hurdle in the introduction of your brand. Keep your brand definition as clean and simple as you can.
2. Brand Values
These are the ideals that your brand represents. What do you stand for? Whether your brand values are quality products, reasonable prices, or sustainable business practices, these are the things you believe in, that you want your customer to believe in as well. Many consumers care about doing business with like-minded companies, so make your core values known.
3. Brand Promise
This is the underlying guarantee that you’re offering to your customers by doing business with you. It’s something that everyone in your organization should internalize, and it should come through easily in your messaging, preferably as one of the first things your audience reads. Your brand promise must be aligned with both your brand values and your brand experience.
4. Brand Identity
This is the visual face of your business — its “look and feel”. Your brand identity comprises the elements that are used to visually communicate your brand definition, such as your logo, brand graphics, colors, fonts, and images. Having a well-designed and well-defined brand identity will make your company memorable, help define its personality, and greatly improve its public perception. Is your brand identity a strong one? If not, hire a professional graphic designer or design agency to develop, or refresh, these visual aspects of your brand.
5. Brand Differentiation
This is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Differentiation with a well-defined USP is how your brand will stand out in the crowd. Consumers are bombarded with brands every single day, so they need to know how to organize them all in their minds. When you’ve got a clear USP that differentiates you, such as an exclusive feature, special benefit, or unique personality — and you communicate this clearly to the consumer — your brand holds a special place in the consumers’ minds, and they will remember you.
6. Market Position
This is the position in the market that is held by your brand, based on a calculation of quality and price. Market positioning helps the consumer know how to think about your offerings, especially when there are many other businesses offering the same thing. Do you offer a premium choice for the consumer, with high quality and a high price? Or is your high level of quality matched with a medium price, making you a high value option? Perhaps you’re the economy choice, which for some is a lucrative place to be. We can help you nail down your market position and align your brand components to support that position.
7. Brand Messaging
This is the voice of your business — what you need to say and how you say it. Brand messaging includes things like your tagline, positioning statement, brand promise statement, key messages, and marketing copy. Messaging strategy is an important part of brand building, since the talking points you use and the writing style you adopt help define your brand. Your brand’s personality should come though in your messaging, which helps to lure in consumers on an emotional level. It should always be relevant, consistent, and true to your brand.
8. Brand Experience
This is the way in which your customers interact with the products or services you offer. How you deliver your offerings is critical, since the experience your customers have with your business solidifies their opinions and contributes to powerful word-of-mouth advertising. To create a successful brand experience, make sure that the quality and performance of your offerings, as well as the process of interacting with your company, is strongly aligned with your branding.
Carefully developing your brand is key to your success. It takes effort to build and maintain all the components of your brand, but it’s a process and investment that helps your business grow and stay strong… so it’s well worth it. For help in building your brand, contact us.