In this article, I offer you the 10 commandments of Brand building. Of course, each brand is unique with a unique set of challenges and hence each set of branding goals would be different. But there are some underlying common elements which form the base of most if not all branding goals and help in branding your image and building your brand.
Commandment #1: Thou Brand Shall Have Core Values?
If you have not thought about and identified your core values, then now is the best time to help with your brand building endeavours. Start the New year with a robust set of core values. What is the driving force behind your business? What factors (besides profit) affect your decision-making process? If you can’t answer these questions, your customers won’t be able to, either.
To determine if your brand core values are robust you have to start with the following questions:
- Have we identified the specific, measurable objectives for our brand and how each objective links to the overall corporate vision? – This would help you come up with a list of attributes that align with the overall corporate vision and help with brand building. Then compare these attributes with the list you have come up with to see if they align.
- Can our brand objectives be summed up in a simple, yet informative, brand mission statement? – Compare the mission statement with the set to see if they articulate the mission statement.
Read more about identifying and establishing your brand’s core values.
Commandment #2: Thou Brand Shall Have A Solid Unique Selling Proposition?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have heard this a million times and it is so cliche. In fact, the whole idea of USP has been so overused and talked about that it may seem to have lost its credibility. However, it is still one of the most fundamental things you can identify for your brand success.
Most businesses in almost every industry face a crisis. There is too much noise. Too much competition. And buyers are not using the traditional methods of making purchasing decisions. The ones that are surviving this scenario and becoming successful and gaining market share are the ones that have a clearly defined USP (unique selling proposition).
The question is: how to build a brand identity that wins over competition?
You can start with creating a set of core values and a compelling brand story. These in turn will help you craft your unique selling proposition. Gone are the days when the USP had to be truly unique. Right now, your USP is all about how you tell your brand story. Why is that? Because every one seems to have claim their service or product is better, bigger, cheaper etc. The only way to really make your USP stand out is by telling the right kind of story.
Read more about understanding your unique value proposition.
Commandment #3: Thou Brand Shall Have A Winning Brand Story?
If you do not have a winning brand story then it should be one of the most important branding goals. Storytelling is becoming more and more important for brands as the noise levels in the marketing sphere are going up at lightning speed. How do you cut through the clutter and become recognizable? By telling the right brand story. By building an awakened brand online that aligns with your target audience.
If you think that mere presentation of your product or service is good enough to give you traction, then you may find out that you may be mistaken. Brands without a compelling story are like movies without a plot. They flop miserably!
You get a story to be original and unique. You want your company to be unique. You want your business to be unique and original. If you have a service or project that is not unique or if you’re selling a unique product that no one else is selling, you need a brand story to help your brand building.
Read more about creating the right brand story.
Commandment #4: Thou Brand Shall Have Brand Evangelists?
If you have employees and salespeople only, you can not guarantee success. What you need are passionate people rallying in front of and behind your brand. People who are not merely selling your product or service but rather are building a tribe around your brand.
So how can Brand Evangelists be useful? They tend to:
- Blog often, both for their own blog, their company’s blog but also guest blogs
- Stay active on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
- Speak at industry related conferences
- Host webinars on important industry topics
- Create videos – both personal and professional that are shared online
The great Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make a big change. He urges us to do so. Watch the full TED Talk here.
You can also read more about why your brand evangelists are so critical.
What you need are passionate people rallying in front of and behind your brand.
Commandment #5: Thou Brand Customer Service Shall Be Top Notch?
One of the biggest factors that influence how your customers and target audience perceive your brand is customer service. It is more than just a part of your service or something that your customers come to expect. Customer service, if done well can end up really enhancing your brand perception and position your brand for success.
Complaining customers often get a bad rap. To employees, they can be difficult and unpleasant to deal with. To other customers, complainers ruin the experience for everyone else. And to business owners, complainants cost time and money that could be used for other things.
In reality, complainers are the best thing to happen to a business!
From time to time, as a responsible brand evangelist, you should attempt to find out the status of the attitude of your customers. A status check will enable you to see potential disasters. A negative brand attitude foreshadows an impending brand disaster.
Read more about how customer service influences brand perception.
Commandment #6: Thou Brand Shall Have Finely Tuned Buyer Personas?
If your customer service needs to become top notch and your sales to increase exponentially, then you should be on top of your buyer personas and profiles. This should be one of your branding goals. Understanding the needs and wants of your ideal customers can be invaluable not only in developing targeted marketing but also in crafting the right kind of services/offers/products. Since you are so close to your brand and business, you may have a blind spot when it comes to deciding if the offers you have are really effective.
Do you know where you can find your customers? Perhaps you do. But if you have a detailed profile of your customer, you will start seeing opening and opportunities in terms of where you can reach out to them. Perhaps your old method of print adverts or mailers is not the right way to target your customers. Perhaps your ideal buyer persona likes to get marketed through other channels.
Read more about understanding your buyer personas. And in case you are wondering, yes, that’s me with my chopper!
Commandment #7: Thou Brand Shall Have The Right Positioning Strategy?
Positioning your brand correctly can make or break your brand. Most startups that fail do so because of wrong positioning. In a crowded marketplace, it is critical to differentiate your brand and make sure you understand how you can position your brand in the right way to attract the right kind of customers, conversions and ultimately larger market share.
Establishing the right perception that aligns with your customer’s world view is brand positioning strategy. This starts with a deep understanding of your target market is and then identifying how to best to communicate to this audience and connect with them both at the rational and more importantly on an emotional level.
Positioning is all about the emotional connection that you can form with your ideal customers. How do you appeal to their sensibilities and ensure that they think of your brand when it comes time to chose. This is also called top of mind strategy.
Commandment #8: Thou Brand Shall Have The Right Pricing Strategy?
8 times out of 10 brands fail due to poor pricing strategies and models. Most entrepreneurs inherently do not understand the value of things and cannot really set the right pricing for their product or service. They take cues from the market and competitors or most often just come up with random or near random pricing structures.
Most business owners never step back to really consider who their target market is and how many clients or customers they actually need to have a profitable business. The human mind’s instinct is to have “as many as possible” or “have it all”. This can sometimes be called “greed” which our current culture says is good.
Read about how bad pricing can kill your brand.
Commandment #9: Thou Brand Shall Have A Solid Marketing Strategy?
Marketing can be the most difficult aspect running any business and more so if you are a startup. Online marketing can seem like a black box with no clear path to reaching potential customers and converting them. Your most important goal has to be educating yourself about online marketing and then implementing it or leveraging the services of an agency that specializes in brand immersion marketing.
At SpellBrand we help businesses go through this journey with strategies, tools, and support that enable you to take strangers and convert them to your customers!
We call this methodology Brand Immersion Marketing™. Your brand is at the center of the methodology. You build your brand and leverage it to get sales and customers.
What is the Brand Immersion Marketing™ methodology?
Instead of buying ads, buying email lists, or cold calling, Brand Immersion Marketing™ focuses on creating a robust brand image and providing educational and useful content that pulls people toward your brand and website where they can learn more about what you sell on their own accord.
Here is a blueprint of our brand immersion marketing methodology.
Commandment #10: Thou Brand Shall Have An Awesome Visual Language Strategy?
As your brand heads into a fresh New Year, it is crucial you conduct an internal brand audit of your brand visual language and ensure that your brand looks and acts the part. Your logo design, social media branding, website design and other visual touch points can make or break your business.
If you brand looks tired or if your visual language is not consistent with the message you want to broadcast, then you must invest in a rebranding exercise. Do not be afraid to completely change your brand if required to do so.