Updated: Dec 5, 2019
The swoosh on the side of a sneaker immediately evokes a sense of familiarity.
The words “Just Do it” come to mind.
You associate the one wearing those sneakers with athleticism, strength, and power.
Because that little swoosh REPRESENTS a brand.
While there is lots of talk regarding what a brand is and is not, it’s time to demystify the word and get to the root of what creates a brand.
Many people believe a brand is based on a visual design like a logo or color scheme. For example, the Nike swoosh. However, unless the fundamentals of your brand, are in place, the visual representation of your brand won’t pack much punch. However, when you’ve got your brand firmly established, the visual components will instantly connect with potential buyers.
Brands are perceptions in people’s minds based on their interaction with a company. These perceptions are based on the emotions that are evoked through customer experience. This means that brands reside in people’s minds and the experience a company gives to its audience is going to determine how the consumer thinks about it and relates to it.
Think about a few brands we all know.
Apple: When I think of Apple I think simplicity and sophistication.
Oprah: Thinking of Oprah brings me to thoughts of transformation and her ability to influence change. By using her mission to get her voice heard, she built her Angel Network and is changing lives.
BMW: When I see a BMW vehicle, I think of exceptional performance.
Facebook: Facebook, to me, is a revolution.
These are all entities of my own perception based on the way the brands present themselves to the world.
Your brand is an intangible asset and the emotions your brand evokes influences the perception of your potential buyers and their purchasing behavior.
How do you establish the foundation of your brand?
There are 9 critical elements for building a magnetic brand. They include:
Brand Consumer Target
Brand Voice and Messaging
Brand Visual Identity
Today, I want to discuss the first three elements of building an epic brand.
So, let’s dive in.
Consumers are the first pillar in brand building. The emotions they experience through interacting with your brand and the drive for purchasing are the reason they must be at the top of your list when building your brand. Truly infusing human centricity into your brand strategy will allow you to stand out and connect in a more memorable way.
Before you can effectively communicate with them, you must understand exactly who they are and what they need. Once you nail down who they are and how to communicate with them, you can begin to build a “cult-like” customer loyalty.
Behind every reaction a consumer has with your brand, is an insight. Learn what the motives are of your ideal consumers. What problem are they looking to solve? What needs are they looking to have met? What fears are they operating out of? What hope and aspiration is propelling them forward?
Do they want to feel a sense of belonging?
Are they looking for simplicity and balance through a more basic lifestyle?
Are they seeking a purpose? Do they want to live a life full of meaning and make an impact on the world?
By meeting their demands, you’ll be able to accelerate your brand. Great brands are able to solve a problem that's in the market by addressing the needs of their target consumers.
A great way to navigate this step of the process is to integrate empathy, compassion, and reciprocity into your business strategy. Empathy is the art of making connections with consumers in order to understand their feelings and emotions. This allows brands to engage the people who use their products in real conversations to inspire further connection.
The first step in building the foundation of your brand is getting inside the minds of your potential customers and creating what they want and need most.
Brand Fundamentals are essentially the anchor of your brand. They make up the 5 elements that lead to brand clarity. If a brand does not have a strong foundation, it will not be able to stand out in this competitive market where consumers have infinite choices. Without this foundation in place, you will waste tons of money on marketing and visual branding with little to no ROI. Eventually, your business will crumble. However, getting these things in order will create a base for your business that holds everything together as you seek to grow and scale.
This is your desired end state or vision for your brand.
This is your road map for what steps you’re going to take in order to execute your vision.
These are the principles your brand stands on. This is what you’re here to act on.
Is it creativity? Is it to promote transformations? If you have a team within your business, these are the tools you will use to build morale. Values define the culture within the brand. For those who are working as solopreneurs, these values are what you are all about. They are the core of who you are, and what you want your business to be.
These are business-related, specific goals such as profit or sales goals. These are the tactical goals for your business.
Ultimately all of these elements combined reveal your purpose. This is bigger than your profit or revenue goals. Your purpose is why your business and your brand exists. If your purpose is strong, it pushes you to continue working towards your goals and developing a stellar brand story.
Brand Positioning is the conceptual place you want to own in your target consumer’s mind in relation to your competition. In order to effectively position your brand, you need to be:
Relevant to consumers
Brands must be appealing to consumers otherwise, they will blend in with the crowd. Consumers have more options today than they ever have. This is where knowing exactly who you’re speaking to becomes very important in your role as a brand in the market.
Differentiated from main competitors
Brands must be unique. What are you doing to be different from your competitors? This is crucial for producing a strong positioning in the market.
Credible and attainable
Being credible essentially means that you deliver what you promised. If you have a brand that is highly relevant and not differentiated, you tend to have a commoditized product. Alternatively, if you have a brand that is highly differentiated but not relevant, you tend to have a very niche product which means you’re attracting a very small portion of the market.
Think about your business and the positioning you’d like to have within your market.
Do you have your foundations in place? Do you fully understand your ideal client? Do you know the gap in the market that you are best able to fill? Do you have a clear picture of where your business is headed and why? Take a few minutes to work through the elements listed above, then stay tuned for my next blog where I dive into the next set of brand considerations you need to make.
If you’d like to speak with me for some help walking through this process, I’d love to talk with you!