Successful branding is hard.
Brands are often defined by their logo or name alone. But what makes a brand successful? What makes some brands stand out more than their competitors? Is it the quality of its products or services? Or does it depend on the way they are marketed?
Brands are important because they provide us with information about our society, culture, economy, politics, etc. and finally, guess what, about where we spend our money. They also influence our choices, opinions, and behavior.
Brands are built on a deep relationship between the customer and the product or service. They are trusted and loved because customers feel emotionally connected to them. Brands are often associated with certain values and beliefs. They are able to make a difference in people’s lives and help them solve problems. Brands that stand out from the crowd are willing to be different and disruptive.
The best brands understand how to connect with their audience and build trust. They know that building relationships with their consumers is essential to success. They listen to their customers and respond accordingly.
These companies don't just talk about being socially responsible; they live it every day.
The Most Important Branding Principle: Consistency
If you're trying to build a successful brand, consistency is key. You might already know that, but there's another reason why you should stick with a single look and feel — and it goes beyond just being easy on the eyes.
A good brand identity is essential to building trust with consumers. Consumers don't necessarily care about how much money you make, but they do care about whether or not you're trustworthy. They want to know that you'll deliver on your promises, help them achieve their visions and dreams, and treat them fairly.
And if you're consistently inconsistent, they won't believe you. Consistently inconsistent branding can be confusing for both customers and employees. If you're working hard to establish credibility, then inconsistency could hurt your efforts.
So, while it's important to develop a unique voice and style, it's even more important to maintain a consistent tone throughout every channel where you interact with your audience.
I mentioned the power of consistency in this blog post.
What makes you unique? What is your brand personality? Is it fun, serious, playful, edgy, trendy, conservative, traditional, modern, hip, casual, old school, young, etc.?
Once you've figured out who you are, your next step is to clearly define your brand personality. Think about your core values. Your brand personality will flow naturally out of these values.
For instance, Apple has always been viewed as innovative, forward-thinking, and cool. They’re also seen as reliable, user-friendly, and dependable. These values all stem from Steve Jobs' vision of creating great technology.
Now let's say I'm in the house cleaning business. Imagine what would happen if I were to advertise myself with some social media posts with graffiti graphics? It wouldn't be relatable, nor would it reflect my personality. But if you're selling urban/street clothing? That would make perfect sense.
There's no right or wrong, there's just right or wrong for your business.
It doesn't matter if you're promoting a new product or simply sharing a company update. When you try to be too many things at once, you end up sounding unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Your Brand Personality Should Reflect Who You Are
You need to find a balance between being authentic and having a distinct personality. The goal is to create an image that resonates with your target customer.
As a consumer, you have preconceived notions about what certain businesses are like. In order to get your message across, you need to align yourself with those expectations.
It's important to remember that people judge books by their covers. So, when developing your brand, think about what kind of impression you want to leave with your potential customers.
How do you want them to see you? Do you want them to perceive you as a friendly, helpful person? Or maybe someone who's very professional and organized? How do you want them to view your products and services? Do you want them to think of you as a trusted expert? A creative innovator? An established leader?
In other words, think about what type of personality you want to convey to your audience. And then work backward to figure out which elements of your brand best represent that personality.
Don't Be Afraid To Change Your Brand
If you're feeling stuck, take a deep breath and ask yourself: “Is there anything else I can do to improve my brand?”
The truth is, you may be able to change the way you present yourself without changing your overall personality. For example, you might decide to start using a different font or color palette. However, you shouldn't alter your personality.
People tend to associate brands with personalities. If you change one aspect of your branding, it may cause you to lose sight of your original intentions.
So keep your branding consistent while making adjustments where necessary.
A Brand for Now and the Future
Brands are like images; they represent something bigger than themselves. They are the way we think about our products and services. We build brands because they help us communicate our values and aspirations to others. And it’s important to remember that a brand isn’t just for now—it can be used to tell stories about a future that might never come true.
When building a brand, start with the end in mind. What do you want your brand to look like in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? How does your brand fit into your organization’s long-term strategy? Once you know where you want to go, figure out how to get there.
The best brands aren’t born overnight. They take time to develop over many years. You don’t have to wait until you have millions of dollars in revenue to begin thinking strategically about your brand. Start today.