How Building a Strong Brand Benefits Your Business
What is a brand?
I think that if you ask most people what they think a brand is, they would point to the logo (or brand mark) of a company.
But your brand is more than your logo and more than even your name or positioning statement. Your brand is the entire experience someone has with your company; it is the sum of all the communications that you have with your prospects, customers, employees and suppliers. Your logo, colour palette, positioning lines, and business communications work together to visualise and share a sense of your brand, yet they are only the framework.
“When you look at a strong brand, you see a promise” Jim Mullen
Your brand is a statement of what you stand for. It is the promise you make about the values of your company and your product/service, and it reflects your personality. Your brand lives in your day-to-day interactions with your audience. It is formed by historic experiences of interacting with you, current conversations, and increasingly by the conversations and commentary about you that take place outside of your control.
- It’s what makes the iPhone so valuable
- It’s what makes a Rolls Royce so desirable or a Ferrari so revered
- It’s what makes Disney Theme Parks timelessly enduring
Strong brands grow strong, valued, and valuable businesses
To create a strong brand, look at the common attributes of other strong brands:
- They are cohesive and self-consistent
- They are customer-centric
- They have a clarity of offer
- They fully understand who and what they are
- There is a clear focus to everything that they do
- They understand their difference and enshrine it in all their touch points
- They can be innovative
- They can be disruptive
- They are always memorable
- Strong brands have great visibility and awareness
- They offer relevant differentiation from others
- They provide or make emotional connections
- They can be accessible or exclusive
- They always deliver a perceived value
Brands that tick these boxes will have a higher consideration value, higher favourability and return greater levels of purchase intent. Companies need to consciously craft and nurture their brand to benefit.
Can strong brands be built? Very simply, yes they can. A brand can be designed, built, nurtured and targeted to consciously engage with specific audiences.
Where do you start? Not where most people think, which is by designing a logo or brand mark. You start by getting the foundations right.
Laying a strong foundation for your brand by defining its proposition
A clearly defined brand should develop out of a real understanding of an organisation’s culture, its history, the market place in which it trades, and the organisation’s goals, objectives and aspirations. Importantly, it should connect people emotionally to these things.
A brand’s foundation is laid on the following cornerstones:
Vision: A company vision is a clearly understood roadmap of its objectives and aspirations. It is an internal proposition that every employee should understand and be able to articulate.
Values: These are the fundamental beliefs of a business that are enshrined within its culture. The values guide and influence behaviours and expectations.
Persona: This is the clearly identifiable personality that the organisation projects to the outside world. It will provide the guidance for the ‘Tone of Voice’ that your organisation uses to communicate its core messages.
Promise: The promise is the key element that your customers/clients should implicitly understand that you deliver for them.
A clear and concise vision, values, persona and promise statement provides the drivers for a brand. They also deliver a framework for the development of a powerful and fully supportable brand proposition - the statement that clearly identifies the benefits that a consumer derives out of your brand. A brand cannot be developed externally and imposed on a company, it must be drawn out from within a business.
Any brand communication should be tested against this framework to ensure that it captures the very essence of the brand and communicates this clearly. All marketing activity should use the Values, Persona and Promise as key drivers and benchmarks for its suitability in supporting and nurturing the brand.
“Your brand is your public identity, what you are trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve.” Lisa Gansky
MC+Co is a strategically driven, integrated marketing agency with a very strong creative ethos, covering a full range of on and off-line disciplines. Everyone in the business is committed to delivering to client's expectations - achieving objectives on time, on budget, and resulting in work that both agency and client can be proud of.