SIMPLE STEPS TO BUILD A STRONG BRAND
Last updated on May 31, 2019
A brand is a story that makes a public pledge. The brand promise for The Coca-Cola Company centers around creating value and making a difference. Like Coca-Cola, one of the most established brands in world, the story of your brand needs to help build an emotional connection with your audience and drive demand. A critical piece to any business or association, a brand lets current and prospective customers know how they can benefit from your products or services.
What’s the real value of branding? According to Statista, strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on three key stakeholder groups: (current and prospective) customers, employees and investors. They influence customer choice and create loyalty; attract, retain, and motivate talent; and lower the cost of financing. For example, Google is one of the most recognized brands in the world. In North America alone, the brand’s value amounted to approximately 302 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
Here are some simple steps to build your brand:
- Develop brand guidelines. A key step in the branding process is to develop a set of guidelines about how to represent your brand across all channels. Brand guidelines need to encompass key messages, colors, fonts and logo use.
- Determine target audience. Think about who you need to reach. This will enable you to customize your key messages, logo design and branding.
- Know the competitive environment. Research and understand your competition’s positioning, so you can differentiate your business or association. The research also will uncover how your brand compares to its competition, as well as the perception of your brand and how it stands out in the marketplace.
- Build your key messages. These are the points you communicate, when someone asks about your brand. Key messages capture the essence of your brand and answer the questions: What does the brand do? Where is the value? How is it different? What are its unique qualities, benefits and beliefs?
- Create a brand logo. The logo should evoke the keywords that are part of your brand, be memorable and stand out among your competition. If your brand is “trustworthy” or “innovative,” ensure your logo embodies that.
- Make sure your actions match your words. This is the easiest way to build a positive reputation, which leads to more relationships and more revenue.
- Be consistent. This is extremely important. Brand guidelines will help you achieve consistency. You need to use the same colors, design, words and typeface on every touch point with your prospects and customers. No one can tell your story better than you, so make sure you don’t keep changing it.
- Incorporate your logo across channels. Your brand should be visible in all you do and in what your prospects and customers see—from your web design, advertising and public relations to social media.
CMA has been developing brand strategy for its clients for more than 30 years. One of its clients, a 90+ year old electrical product distribution company named among the top 200 independent electrical distributors in the country, sought a brand identity makeover to revitalize its presence in the marketplace. The freshly-minted brand design needed to aptly capture the roll-up-your-sleeves culture and straight-shooting personality of the longstanding company, in a way that was both impactful and respectful of company traditions and values.
The client’s brand identity makeover kicked off with an overhaul of the company logo. CMA transformed the logo into a bold, colorful and historicized branding statement reflecting the business’s 83-year tradition of service to the New England region. The new logo was featured prominently as signage on the client’s freshly-painted fleet of 55 panel trucks and emblazoned on redesigned job site delivery boxes.
CMA carried the redesign across the new website, which was reprogrammed for greater ease of navigation and enhanced user-friendliness. The rejuvenation leveraged the client’s status as the “official electrical distributor of the Boston Red Sox baseball team at Fenway Park,” via the creation of a folder including a die-cut baseball to pocket tickets for customers receiving complimentary Red Sox seats in the company’s skybox.
Your branding is crucial, whether you’re nurturing customer loyalty, prying market share from competitors or breaking into new markets. A well-defined brand strategy is like a rousing battle cry—but it’s only half the battle. Building a strong brand takes expertise, time and patience. With the right plan and team in place, you can transform strategic objectives into targeted and clutter-busting marketing solutions.
Do you have a strong brand in the marketplace? Contact us today, to start the conversation.
Jeffrey Barnhart is the President and CEO of CMA, a full-service communications, marketing and association management firm, which has provided its clients with award-winning and proven results for more than 30 years.