Building a brand is one of the most important tasks underlying the success of your business – your brand is one of the most valuable assets you have. A well-constructed brand is like a beacon for the consumers you’re targeting, telling them your business is the right one for them. Direct advertising tells them what products you have for what prices, but your brand tells them that your business is the right one for them, where they would feel at home.
Today we’re taking a look at what makes a brand, so you can make better, more informed choices as you go about building yours.
One of the most important things that creates a brand is scale: you need to acquire size in order to be able to create and grow your brand.
One product does not a brand make: that product can communicate your values and aesthetic, but in order to be a brand, a customer needs to be able to look at two or more products, services or locations and see a similarity between them. If they recognise all your products as belonging to your distinct brand then it’s an indication your efforts are paying off!
It’s important to ensure that as you continue to grow you maintain a strong brand: the logistical stresses of expansion can lead to a dilution of the aesthetic and practical motifs that unify your offering. A continuous programme of domestic and international research can keep you on track with what customers see in your brand, helping you to course-correct as you go.
Building a brand is a difficult task because every decision you take goes into it. Your price point helps to define your brand (are your products a rare luxury or a practical everyday necessity?), as does the colour scheme of your marketing materials, the ‘voice’ used for the copy on your website and what your customer service staff say when they pick up the phone to customers.
It can create a problem when your decisions pull in different directions. If you’re creating two different versions of your brand it can leave customers unsure what to think and lead to them shopping elsewhere. If your conscious ‘branding’ decisions are trying to create an image of your business as reliable, considered and expert, but customers don’t find that image backed up in person, with staff who aren’t knowledgeable about the industry and don’t provide the experience your advertising promises, it can seriously harm your reputation!
Brand tracking surveys can tell you what customers perceive your brand strengths to be, so you can ensure you’re leaning into them at every level and providing a consistent, comprehensible experience.