How to build a strong brand? Read this before you go on to conquer the market.
Let’s begin with: what is a brand?
A brand is commonly and unfortunately misidentified with a trademark alone.
Meanwhile, it is a much wider concept, closer to an idea than just a sign. The advertisement guru, David Ogilvy described the brand as the idea of a product created by consumers. The marketing guru, Philip Kotler stressed that the brand is not a sign. He defined it as a kind of promise, a promise that should shape the overall behavior and strategy of the company, because the brand is the company’s marketing communication in a nutshell. David Edwards put it even more succinctly: a brand is a product with values and associations.
Which part of the above matters? Everything! Above all, the awareness that a brand should be a well-thought-out and complete creation.
Whose hearts do you want to win?
Define your target group, i.e. think about who your best customer is, what people most often choose your product and what do they have in common. If they are corporations, you should talk to them, if they are blondes as you are selling a lightening shampoo, talk to them too! The more specific you get, the better. Do not stop at generalizations. Refine, refine, refine and get as many details as possible. Every bit of consumer data will help you build a stronger brand. Determine how old your clients are, where do they live, how do their families look like and how do they travel, how much they earn, how they spend their holidays, where do they work and how do they spend their time.
Maybe at the beginning you will feel overwhelmed by all of this knowledge, but ultimately, you will learn where to communicate your brand, how to let it be noticed and what language to use. You’ll also see how people react to the presence of your brand in their environment. You have certainly noticed that even as a result of trial and error you can determine who your target market is. Take advantage of this knowledge!
Consciously build the image of your brand.
Everyone has qualities and everyone can be assessed. Fat, cool, kitschy, smart. You cannot avoid this. If you will not build the personality of your brand, it will build itself and that will not necessarily suit you. So build it consciously. Make it unique. Let your brand stand out and arouse emotions. You cannot and never will please everyone, so do not be afraid to be brave. Be something. Be someone. And remember, first and foremost, to be honest.
Do not pretend. Do not invent your brand by trying to adapt to it. The brand must come from you, from your experience. Only then will it be authentic. Find what is special about your brand and build your personality around this quality. If you have defined your target market well, it will probably turn out that your clients and you have many things in common. This is the way it is supposed to be – the more reliable you seem to your clients, the more you common experiences you can share. Use it.
Why I need branding?
Brands are everywhere, and even if we try to question them, they get into our consciousness. Take it easy, though. Brands can be beneficial for both the consumer and the producer. Although from the manufacturer’s point of view, introducing and maintaining a brand on the market is demanding, it also has many advantages. The brand allows the product to be differentiated, it stimulates the repeatability of the product’s sales, its’ promotion enables market control and keeping the advantage over competitors. The demand for branded products is high, which enables companies to use the production scale effects to a wider extent, e.g. by lowering unit costs, but also by maintaining a sufficiently high price level, ensuring the profitability of expenditures borne by the producer.
Both consumers and brands themselves help to identify good, available, and reliable products more easily. They also ensure the magic “something” – satisfaction associated with the brand name. We are fighting for it with a weapon called branding. Marty Neumeier stated in his bestselling “Brand Gap” that a brand is a strong, visceral emotional reaction. Branding helps consumers fell the brand. So, let’s get to work!
While looking for the Holy Grail, you do not go to compromise. Or do you?
Keep consistency, courage and mindfulness. Do not trust those who will always agree with you. Experts are there to guide you in your self-development, to help you avoid costly mistakes. If you expect the branding studio or the creative agency to do everything as you planned – let’s get honest, you will not progress. Of course, you know your business best, branding can only help you tell it. But trust the design experts, the logo designer, and photographer. You have a team of people at your disposal. Use it. Work together. To find the Holy Grail of branding, both humility and openness are necessary. The market is dynamic and so is the brand’s lifespan. You have to constantly look around and be ready to strive for perfection. Protect what you have, but always aim higher.
Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design, Berkeley, 2005.
Keller K.L., Strategic Brand Management: Building, Managing and Measuring Brand Equity, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, 1998.
David Ogilvy, On Advertising, Warsaw, 2008.