Building your brand is one thing, the other major thing is creating an effective brand that would stand the test of time. Quickly, I show you some time tested tips that would help you build an effective brand.
1.) Clearly Define Your Brand
In defining your brand, you should first know what you stand for. Every organization should be likened to a personality and what truly stands them out. For me and my personality, I know I’m kind of lively and love humour a lot. I strongly believe in quality over quantity. In addition to my firm belief that people deserve the best quality, I also believe in speed in accomplishing tasks.
Every organization should be likened to a personality and what truly stands them out.
My company, Nurturedscills, is an extention of my personality. It is my personality seeking expression in a corporate form. You will need to find your core personality in identifying the uniqueness of your brand. In doing this, you will come up with your brand values. To me brand values are the uncompromising ethics you have imbibed to your company. Things that even if heaven falls, it won’t change –all these must be carefully spelt out with your team where available.
2.) Differentiate and Position Your Brand
He came into the office and asked that he wanted a 2×2 feet signage. After getting the write up for the content of the signboard, I asked him if he had any marketing material (abeg which one be dis na?).
One of the key points I observed that resonated well with him was my explanation that there were actually millions of people doing what he was doing but then what would separate him from the pack?
Okay off corporate junks abi? I asked him if he had a card, flyer or any marketing promotional piece that had his logo and a couple of other things about his firm, he said no. So I started educating him on what he truly needs. One of the key points I observed that resonated well with him was my explanation that there were actually millions of people doing what he was doing but then what would separate him from the pack? What would be his unique selling point or proposition? He immediately caught up with the idea and was indeed truly interested in the branding package I had to offer him (especially when it is pocket friendly).
There is definitely something about creating identification in the minds of people. Over time, they recognize your brand subconsciously. So when they remember that company, they tag it with some service or product you offer.
Identifying your difference amongst your competitors is a major branding strategy that would stand you out. As I’ve discussed earlier, it is actually more than the visual representation of your brand. It is your core ethics seeking expression in a corporate world affecting how your brand is perceived.
3) People Don’t Notice Brand Announcements
You see it is important to note here that people don’t really notice announcements. What they notice majorly is consistency. How consistent you are about your brand matters a great deal. Don’t just come and announce your brand and go off “moribonding “ (where you get dis one from again?). Find a means of ensuring consistency in the minds of your customers. You can do this through blogs, forums, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to create a voice for your personal or business brand.
Find a means of ensuring consistency in the minds of your customers.
As you sail the waters of brand consistency, keep reinforcing your values and skills by taking up new roles and assignments that will give you more exposure. Meet people right at the point of their needs. How do you do this? You have to engage yourself and your team in research (online and offline). Spell it out point blank that you’re out here to serve real people not robots. You need to be dynamic about this as people and trends change.
4.) Brand Personalization
Personalizing your brand is tagging a real person to your brand. People are increasing getting tired of ‘robotized system of relationships.’ Sometimes I get really frustrated trying to get a solution from big corporations that have an “answering system in place.” Indeed it could really get so bad that you’d have to spend your hard earned airtime to keep waiting behind the “blues” music playing in the background. Yes I appreciate systems but then at who’s peril? In the same vein, it is also true that these systems put a check to frivolous calls but then at who’s expense?
If you want your brand building campaign or brand to be successful, then you have to personalize it.
If you want your brand building campaign or brand to be successful, then you have to personalize it. It is important to give your brand an identity. Let consumers see and experience the personality of your brand in its entirety. Look at your brand as something that a consumer wants to identify with pretty much on a personal level as they would with their favorite music stars, football clubs, smart phones, computers etc.
5.) Review Your Brand
Your brand should not be static; it will go through a range of motions in its lifetime. Depending on your brand strategies, your brand will either grow in strength, or remain dormant, or recede with time. In the brand cycle, new events, changes, and circumstances bring challenges and opportunities to enhance the value of your brand or re-establish it.
…you will need to keep up with trends and changes of our times.
All these possibilities should give you the impetus to take charge of your brand building activities. Because you’re serving humans (and indeed humans are dynamic in nature), you will need to keep up with trends and changes of our times. Your brand cannot afford to be static. It has to be evolving and dynamic –taking turns with the changing waves on the sea of our technological age.
Reviewing your brand with the eye of the current trends keeps you in cutting edge over the competition. Some brands stick with age-long, outdated strategies and feel they are still known brands already. But then the reality is that everything is changing so fast like lightning and if you don’t change, you get may get exchanged.
6. Be Creative, Innovative
Seek to do things differently from your competition. The important strategy here is to meet your audience (people that vale what you have to offer, GOSH! I can’t over-emphasize this) right at where they are. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Be proactive not reactive.
Stop doing what everyone else is doing and be creative (remember Zik Zig’s saying, rephrased: “Doing the same thing the same way and expecting extra ordinary result is a clear cut definition of insanity”) about how your brand engages with consumers.
Stop doing what everyone else is doing and be creative
People like surprises and want variety. Don’t be too predictable. Mix it up. Don’t grow complacent. Stretch your thinking. Every brand is vulnerable. Don’t take your audience for granted.
Give your brand a refresh every year (not every 3-5 years). Remember that consumers are re-evaluating their needs more often than you might think. Instead of being reactive to your audience needs, be on the front end and help guide them as they reinvent themselves.
7. Keep It Simply Simple (KISS)
In simplicity, don’t lose focus of your brand’s story. Remain laser focused on what your brand stands for especially it’s unique selling proposition, USP.
The competition is not the issue, the main issue is you getting better and better everyday with quality service that meets the dear needs of your customers.
Too often brands complicate their unique value proposition (UVP) to get attention. In their efforts to reinvent and renew, they complicate things that frustrate their consumers and shareholders. Some brands after a period of time start focusing on what the competition is up to and thereon lose focus. The competition is not the issue, the main issue is you getting better and better everyday with quality service that meets the dear needs of your customers.
Make things simple. People don’t have the time to figure out what your brand is trying to solve. Sometimes you just need to be as direct as possible –stop putting up the puzzle look on everybody’s face. Consumers want brands to be deliberate with their identity – straightforward while at the same time forward-thinking and creative.
In the process of simplifying your brand, you’ll get to understand your consumers and seek to find better ways of taking your branding strategies closer and closer to them –meeting their needs.
8. What’s Your Brand Story: Inspire Hope
Every brand has its unique voice in the digital space. When I started, I realized that I wrote with so much passion to give hope and encourage people to be entrepreneurs. My writings on the blogging arm of my company’s website, Nurturedscills.Net, are deliberately inspirational. I write my heart to encourage people to start something no matter how small and be determined to make it grow with time.
I’ve had bad experiences in my life working full time with organizations that never valued my hard work. I write to ensure that people don’t fall prey to what happened to me –hard working employee that was eventually thrown out. I write to tell you about the reality of our age and what you can do to make it and shield yourself and your family from not-so-palatable eventualities. I believe that opportunities abound in our information technology age and I want you to learn how to benefit from the new era we are in. I believe in a new Nigeria of change and know that with time things will get better.
Brands influence lifestyle and one’s state of mind.
Brands influence lifestyle and one’s state of mind. If your brand is not a lifestyle platform that inspires people and communicates hope, the impact and influence of your brand message will quickly begin to wane. Brand platforms recognize that stimulating a new or existing consumer relationship requires the ability to educate, communicate and inspire your audience about the totality of your brand – what it represents and what it stands for.
Today’s consumer expects more from your brand – not only the message it communicates – but how it is delivered. That is why content marketing is so important and must be flawlessly executed to be effective.
Consumers want your brand’s value proposition to come to life and impact their lifestyle with messaging that is educational and applicable.
The key tag for me here is educational. Our first advert online for the first edition of our online web training product called “Professional Website Design Handbook: The CorelDraw Approach” was titled: “Learn before you earn.” Subconsciously, we were trying to emphasize the need to learn first before you earn.
These days the opposite seems the case. People are just too much in a hurry to start making money instead of taking time to learn the art and science of making money in the particular industry they have find themselves.
Like I share to friends and colleagues when the matter arise, I believe there are “secrets” to learn in every trade. Ask me why it would take an apprentice 11 years to learn the “chemist” business. To you and me, we’d say: what the hell is there in buying and selling drugs? But I tell you there’s a lot. I’ve seen people (including me) dabble into businesses they think is viable and in no time, they’ve closed shop. Why? They choose to earn before learning and in most times the reverse process hurts so deep because they might have lost a lot of money they’ve saved over the years. For me, I felt transport business was viable. I dabbled into it and to cut the long story short, I ended in the net of transport authorities in Lagos state: I had to bail the vehicle out. At the end, I ended up selling the vehicle. The story: there was a lot to learn before dabbling into transport business –I will never take this lesson for granted again.
9. Time Is Of Essence
Your brand strategy is of no value if it comes at the wrong time. Your audience, consumers, clients, customers, prospects must be expecting that proposal, launch when it arrives. You must be able to build up that expectation before you launch your product or service.
Today’s marketplace demands perfect timing and flawless execution with each new strategy you implement.
Consumers want to know that you are ready when they are. That means your timing must be in perfect sync with your audience demands. Don’t launch a new product, service or packaging/logo strategy if your brand’s audience isn’t ready and/or you are not prepared to execute the requirements for sustainable success – all the way through to the end.
Short-cuts are slow death in a marketplace where consumers expect brands to over-deliver before they actually commit to purchase. Once you have established your reputation for excellence, your innovation efforts become a public relations strategy that pre-sells your consumers well before any new product event.
10. What Does Giving Got To Do With This?
Hey there! Hello! What does giving got to do with a web design course? In the final rounding of my book, I shared the need to give. Really it sounded out of place but then I had the conviction to share it.
Brands that “share the harvest” of their success – with their audience – are the ones that sustain the best momentum. The spirit of giving must be a central part of every brand’s DNA. Unfortunately, many brands forget to “give-back” to those who supported their growth. Being a great brand is not just about market share gains and profitability; it’s about genuinely sharing the success of your brand with others (whether they have purchased your product/service or not).
Brands that “share the harvest” of their success – with their audience – are the ones that sustain the best momentum.
Whether you have a few thousands, millions or billions of dollars in sales, make it a point to show your respect and gratitude to the people and communities your brand is serving. Take the time to interact in ways that go well beyond the obvious. Provide sponsorships (only if you are genuinely interested in supporting the cause), be consistent with your community outreach efforts, and actively participate in and support charitable events and organizations. Fully deploy your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy (if you have one). A great example is what Glo is doing in Nigeria by promoting local contents as Ambassadors of it’s brand. Recently also, we’ve seen Airtel Nigeria taking the cue.
If you have limited resources and/or just want to keep it simple, be sure to at least say thank you and show your gratitude. Brands today have a much deeper responsibility to society and the more your brand touches the needs of the world and helps to make it a better place, the more abundant you will find the opportunities before you.
11. What Is Your Footprint?
What do you really want to be known for? What would your brand stand for in years to come? Don’t be ambiguous about this. Be as cut clear as possible.
Much like leaders must lead with a legacy-driven mindset, so should their brands. As you develop your brand, what is the legacy that you are mindfully attempting to leave behind? What is your brand known for? According to Wikipedia, brand legacy begins from a point of origin (core idea) and considers historic message layering to derive a current perception as it pertains to the target audience. A core idea is a word or thought that encompasses all facets of the brand. For example, IBM’s core idea is computers, while Cadbury is chocolate.
Much like leaders must lead with a legacy-driven mindset, so should their brands.
What is the experience and/or product association you are attempting to leave behind for your brand and what will your audience remember most about how it impacted their business or lifestyle?
The most successful brands never fall victim to an identity crisis. They know who they are and the responsibility they have to those whom they are serving. Their innovations are consistently delivered, genuine and true. They are focused on what matters most to their consumer and on continuously making the experience better. Sometimes they may fall flat on the excitement scale, but their customers remain extremely satisfied. You know that you are building a solid brand legacy when your customer loyalty is so strong that they are not fazed by your competition.
When your core idea becomes synonymous with your brand, expectations rise and so do your strategic responsibilities. This is when you must begin to allow your customers to play a more hands-on role in your brand’s evolution. This is when you begin to witness the convergence of your brand’s growing community (intimate followers) with the advancement of commerce (growth in the business). Allow your customers to play a more significant role. Align your brand’s identity closer to theirs.
Each one of these brand strategies is equally important and they build upon one another to create and sustain the ultimate customer experience. You must be ready to take on such an ambitious commitment, and then stick to it until you know your audience inside and out. Always be accountable to their needs and take responsibility to keep the momentum of the relationship moving forward. Implement these six brand strategies, and you will build a power brand for the 21st century consumer.