When we think of a brand, we often think of logos, colour schemes and taglines. But it is so much more than this.
A brand is the experience your company provides to customers throughout their buying relationship with you. Every customer touchpoint is a branding moment.
Developing your organization’s brand is the first step in creating effective marketing and sales strategies. It allows your entire company to understand your place in the market and that means you’re better equipped to reach your audience with the right messages.
A solid brand is the foundation upon which your corporate culture and future growth is built. Businesses like Lululemon, Zappos and David’s Tea are great examples of companies that have built success by living and breathing their brand.
Successful brands are built on three essential elements:
Focused, consistent branding makes it clear to customers what they can expect from you. We talk a lot about omnichannel marketing, and a focused brand is at the heart of this concept. You need to be presenting consistent images and messaging to customers in each of your marketing channels, whether it be your website, social media, email, advertising, signage or the in‑store experience.
How do you define your brand? Consider these three core elements:
Vision statement—What do you want to achieve? What are your core values? How will your brand reflect this? A vision statement helps you focus and rally your team to achieve your business’s over‑arching goals.
Value proposition—What value does your organization provide to customers that no one else can? Defining your unique value proposition allows your team to focus on one or two differentiators that make you to stand out from the crowd and deliver the right thing to the right people.
Positioning statement—How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? Branding is about matching customer expectations with how your organization wants to be perceived. Your positioning statement describes this balance.
Your brand establishes firm ground on which to bring your organization to life for customers. It makes it easier for your marketing, sales and cutomer service teams to all speak with one, consistent voice.
This consistency across the customer experience is what breeds trust. Trust produces sales and encourages loyal, repeat customers.
Once you have a clear definition of your brand, you can zero in on the right market for your business. You can target customers that share the values, behaviours and personality traits you have defined for your organization.
A well‑defined and consistent brand experience allows you to not only attract like‑minded customers but also like‑minded employees. Now you are creating a community. In this way, clear branding clarifies how your organization behaves both externally and internally.
Now that you have a clearly focused brand, it’s time to bring it to life. Content is the vehicle to achieve this. Good content allows you to interact with your community. You position yourself as their ally by sharing your expert knowledge through how‑to blogs, videos, webinars, infographics, eBooks etc. With this content, you are building engagement with customers and framing how they can use what you offer to fulfill their needs or desires. If your brand definition allows you to be more aggressive, you might consider email or advertising campaigns that explain why your organization is the best, or only, solution for them.
A brand for now and the future
These three essential elements provide a foundation for building a successful brand and can also become the litmus test for your organization’s branding efforts moving forward. Refer back to them to assess whether you are creating the experience you set out to create, and whether it continues to be relevant. Ask yourself: Do we still have the same pinpoint understanding of what our brand is? Are we presenting it consistently? Is our community growing and becoming more and more engaged? Is our content reinforcing our branding or diluting it?