Businesses face a high level of competition in just about every industry out there. With such pressure, it is important, now more than ever, to try and stand out from the competition. Your identity and value proposition should be unique and your branding should be strategic.
“Branding is everything today, and part of it has to do with getting the right talent in your company that is going to promote that brand,” says Annabel Caret, an HR manager at EssayOnTime.
Of course, that isn’t to say that it isn’t important to have a product or service that is of the highest quality, but you can’t ignore branding because it is the main reason why companies thrive when all other factors are held constant.
So what, exactly, is a brand? To put it simply, it is all about perception. It is the picture, feeling, or concept that comes to mind when someone thinks about your service, product, idea, cause, or organization. Building your brand, therefore, is all about purposefully and deliberately building a desired perception in the minds of people.
Not every company gets the branding thing right. If they did, they would all be successful. However, there are some companies that just seem to kill it. It might seem like it’s all random, chaotic, and mostly a matter of luck, but there is a science to the art of successful brand building. In fact, the most successful and famous brands out there have quite a bit in common.
Here we’re going to look at 7 characteristics that the most successful brands have. If you try to implement even a few of them, you will be surprised at the massive positive effect they have on the success of your own brand.
Know your Audience
The very best brands have an understanding of their target market at their fingertips, right from the demographics to the dynamics. They know who the target market is, what they are interested in, and what communication mode they most commonly use.
Most businesses exist in something called a niche, where they have a highly specific target market. There are, of course, some businesses that have a wide and very general target market, like large chain supermarkets, but they’re in the minority.
Understanding your target market at an intimate level is important because it is what ultimately informs the direction and tone of your marketing campaign. It is also what will determine the reach of that campaign. It will help you build a concrete identity for your brand and also help to create an authentic and human connection with your audience.
You can’t please everyone, and so you shouldn’t try to. That can actually work against the success of your brand by heavily diluting it. The right approach to building your brand is to first deeply understand your target market.
If you’re going to establish an identity for your brand, then you had better make it unique. If you can’t find a way to stand out from the crowd then you’re going to get lost in the sea of brands your audience comes across every day. Apple, for example, has become known for minimalism, innovation, and aesthetics. There was a time when Dominos would promise pizza delivery in 30 minutes of a free pizza.
There are plenty of such examples across the famous brands. The whole point is to build a unique identity. This doesn’t mean you have to be revolutionary with your identity and do something that no one else has ever done before, though that would definitely be great. You can simply look for something special that separates your brand from the competition; your selling point, so to speak. Yes, you can be a one trick pony and there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you figure out what makes you special, stick to it and you will be recognized for it eventually.
It’s possible to build a brand without much passion behind it, but that only works in the short term. If you want something that will live in the long term, then you need to fuel it with passion.
Look at the most successful people in the world. They have an intense passion that continually pushes them to keep working hard and aiming for greatness. That kind of passion in a leader translates to enthusiasm and usually gets infectious, affecting the entire workforce and making them just as passionate.
You need to figure out what it is your business is passionate about doing and use that to build your brand. Without it, you won’t get very far.
What makes consumer keep coming back to a brand? What brings in repeat sales? Well, usually the customer loved the quality of the product or service so much the first time that they decided to come back a second and third time. Each time they come back they expect to get the exact same level of service, if not better. They want consistency. You see a good example of this in the restaurant business where, as long as a restaurant serves great food and offers great service to its customers, they keep coming back. The minute the quality of either the food or the service declines, the customers flee to the next available option.
No one wants to deal with an unreliable company where they can’t be sure what quality they will get on any specific day. There are many industries out there that get saturated by competition. In such a place, where everyone is stumbling over everyone else to do better, being inconsistent is more than enough of a reason to convince your customer to take their business elsewhere.
That is why it is so important to have some standard of quality to your product or service and stick to that standard. There is an excellent example of this in McDonald’s. They are a fast food giant that makes sure their menu is the same no matter which McDonald’s you visit around the world. Whether you’re buying the Big Mac somewhere in the United States or somewhere in China, you can be sure that you’re tasting the same Big Mac everyone else around the world is tasting.
The level of competition that exists in the world of business today cannot be overemphasized. Getting ahead of your competitors is something that gets harder and harder every day. If you want to make a name for yourself as a brand, you’re going to have to embrace competition. In fact, you’re going to have to thrive on it. That is something that a lot of the most famous brands in the world get right every time. Don’t hate competition, or try to avoid it. Instead, take it as a natural part of life and thrive within it.
Look at all of the major players in business, no matter what the industry. None of them just sit back and rely on hope. Hope is no strategy. They don’t just hope that the consumers will come to them. Instead, they are constantly working to optimize and build their brand so that they exceed the expectations of the consumers at every turn. They become proactive, rather than reactive. In the end, they become the trendsetters; the movers and shakers in their industries.
Expose your Brand
Another characteristic of the most recognized brands out there is their ability to utilize different channels to reach their consumers. It might be true that the larger brands have an advantage when it comes to exposure because of their superior marketing budgets, but that advantage is only minimal. While such companies can easily buy slots for commercials on televisions and popular magazines, the playing field is a lot more level when it comes to the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social media.
The cyber world has made it easier for the little guy to catch up to the big guy in terms of exposure. You now have more tools at your fingertips than ever before with which you can establish your brand. It all starts with something as simple as setting up a presence on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the range of other social media platforms out there. With social media, you can reach your consumers anywhere and at any time.
Be a Leader
Your company is like any team, whether a sports team or a community team. The only difference is that it is a business team. The thing about all teams is that there is always a great leader behind a successful team. For the most successful companies out there, that leader is the CEO. For a smaller business, it is usually the owner of the business.
You need to have a general strategic vision for the brand and then coordinate the members of your team to work toward achieving that vision. A great ship won’t go very far unless it has an able captain. The leader solves problems, takes care of complications, and acts as the common link that keeps everyone on the same wavelength. They also act as the main motivators of the team and know how to use the different strengths of the team members to move the company forward.
The most important thing in building a powerful brand is to focus. Find the one thing you want your brand to focus on and actually focus on it. Use design to make your brand stand out, motivate and inspire your team, and stay on an even keel. The horizon always holds greater things.
Serena Dorf is an enthusiastic content writer. She is passionate about writing, personal development, psychology, and productivity. In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.