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The importance of having brand heritage cannot be overstated. Most young brands struggle when it comes to establishing creditability. This is due to the lack of brand heritage as perceived by the target audience. Brand heritage can be defined as the long-standing record of a brand’s existence in the public domain and providing services or goods.

Reputation is the currency of branding and building that takes time and effort. So how are young brands supposed to enter the battlefield without the support of heritage? How can they convince their audience that they are trustworthy even though they are a young brand? Here is an interesting video on what brand heritage should and should not be.

The visual language and the core messaging go a long way towards bridging the gap between the lack of brand heritage and the ability of the brand to come good on their brand promise. It is tough to really craft a compelling message and then couple that with effective visual language.

If your brand does not have direct heritage, then you must invent one. I am not advocating deception or lies. Instead, I am suggesting building a brand story that lends heritage to the brand. Here are a few hypothetical ways this can be achieved.

Some possible brand heritage story examples

For instance, if you are launching a beauty salon brand and do not have heritage, perhaps you can explore any stories that connect with your parents, grandparents or ancestors or where they came from to the concept of beauty or hair care.

If you are launching a travel company, perhaps you can talk about your love for travel and tell the stories of your adventures in the past. Bring your personal brand to the forefront and use photos to tell your story. This will create instant credibility and add heritage to your brand.

If you are launching a new clothing label, perhaps you could tell the story associated with the origin of one of the raw materials you would use and bring that heritage to bear. Perhaps you would be using Egyptian cotton or Indian silk or beads from Greece. If the story is told skilfully, it can add a lot of heritage to your brand.

If you are launching a baby related product or brand, perhaps you could tell the story of how you were passionate about solving a particular challenge for your own children all those years ago. Anchor the story to the current venture to create resonance.

If you are launching a real estate firm, then research and find out a heritage story tied to your location and play on that. Integrate it into your brand strategy, communication and messaging. Find an uncommon angle and then explore that. Do not go for the usual narrative that has been told a thousand times before. Instead, try and tell the story from a unique perspective.

If you are launching a construction company, then tell the story of your passion for great buildings of the world. Invest in learning about them or if possible even visiting a few. This might sound like a useless errand. How would your interest in great buildings of the world have any bearing on your customers who need your services? The point is that you would be creating a link to heritage by associating yourself and your brand with “great” buildings. By showing passion for them shows your potential customers the worldview that your brand resides in. It would help cut through the noise of the competition.

I could go on with more examples, but I believe you get my point. Creating heritage should be one of the fundamental activities of any brand. Especially if you are a new brand. Creating associations with things that your customers care about are paramount to success.

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Defend Your Brand Reputation

In business as in war, your reputation will always precede you. Thanks to the power word-of-mouth and viral marketing, many customers have will have opinions even before they step in your retail store or “Google” your website. In the era of cutthroat competition and sluggish economic growth, your brand reputation is a double-edge weapon that can be potent or blunt.

How customers distinguish you from other brands is the foundation of power and profitability. It can intimidate others even without making a move. Just the thought of Google entering in your niche is enough to make some entrepreneurs flee and venture in other industries. Now, that’s power!

There are 2 ways to build your brand reputation – offensive and defensive. First, create your reputation based on a simple yet sterling attribute. It can be speed, accuracy, passion for customers, or coolness. Something that others competitors cannot deliver. Be extremely focused. Hype it to a point that it becomes some sort of calling card to proclaim your presence in the market.

The other side is guarding your reputation against rumors and criticisms. Idle talks about your business or brand can turn into a wildfire if you’re not skilled in firefighting strategies. As brands become more powerful, more and more detractors will lunge at you.

Have an RSS feed of your company name so you can monitor who’s writing about you, positive or negative. Be active in your business community and make random phone calls to your customers to gather unbiased feedback. Put extra effort to improve the quality of your product or services. Brainstorm for worst-case scenarios that might happen to your business and prepare the appropriate action plan even before they happen. In short, be paranoid about brand reputation.

Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.