These easy steps will make you reconsider your brand strategy: a brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that last, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to chose your product over another – Seth Godin
Seth Godin’s definition – listed above – summarizes exactly the true meaning of a branding performance. If consumers choose your brand over the competition’s, you win the game of business.
Branding is complex. However, for your company to experience success, the branding strategy that you adopt must be carefully planned, tested, and ultimately optimized. But, if you have never done it before, it can be harsh in the beginning.
We have collected several key factors that many big-level brands actively seek through their branding strategies. Success leaves clues – if we’re smart, we’ll pay close attention and adapt. If we’re not, we’re ought to spend some more time failing at what others have already failed before, which equals lesser productivity for us and our businesses.
- Target audience knowledge
Considering that branding success is only possible due to the existence of customers and fans, one of the primary aims of a company should be to identify and understand its target audience. To be more exact, great brands understand who their potential customers are, how they think, what they need, and very importantly, where they spend their time at.
In order to market your products and services well, your brand strategy should be strictly aimed towards your target audience only. This way, you will save time, money, and energy by not wasting your resources in the attempt to reach consumers who don’t find your value relevant to their lives.
The more knowledge you have about your audience the more possibilities you get to optimize your products. Moreover, studying your prospects for months and even years – while still providing consistent value to the marketplace – will turn you into a “big and experienced dog” in your niche.
- Strong unique value proposition
Strong brands have strong unique value propositions. When you make a clear statement that lets the customer see the extra benefit in your products, you’re likely to win his attention. Let’s take Walmart as an example; their motto is “Save Money, Live Better”. This statement summarizes their cheap prices that have taken the world by storm.
Skype is yet another good example of powerful unique value propositions throughout big brands. Skype “keeps the world talking for free”. Who wouldn’t like to talk to their loved ones using both text messages and video calls?
Establish the biggest benefit that your brand’s bringing to the marketplace. Then, take a piece of paper and state that benefit through one sentence. Make it simple, concise, catchy, and powerful at the same time!
- Passion is observable
If you want to bring hype around your brand, you have to make your fans and buyers passionate about your culture. Involve as much passion as possible, and you’ll get passion in return. Walt Disney knew that children needed a place where they can live magical moments. Moreover, adults are extremely targeted too, as Disneyland takes you back in time and makes you feel like a child once more.
There are many fun parks around the world, yet none can be compared to the great palaces that Walt Disney has built. Even if you spell “Disneyland” in your head, you’re likely to experience a positive visual representation of magic. The passion involved in this brand is definitely observable by both brand owners and simple fans and clients.
- Out-of-the-box thinking
Out-of-the-box thinking is a rare quality nowadays. As an entrepreneur or marketer, you always need to assess different angles. Angles of promotion, angles of branding, angles of everything. You’re often tempted to look at what others are doing because that’s the easy path. However, to build a great brand, you must capture a lot of attention.
You do that by making your products stand out. You adopt out-of-the-box marketing strategies that no one has ever used before, you make your product extremely unique, and you keep it all simple in the meanwhile.
Brands that fail to be consistent will also fail to have a consistent performance in the marketplace and in the game of business. You can’t expect your customers to stick around if you’re not always sticking around. They’ll come once, see that you’re not available or no longer what you used to be and represent, and boom, just like that, your brand’s starting to fall into pieces.
When you go to McDonald’s, you always know that you are going to be satisfied. Why? Because their products are extremely consistent. They even made a franchise rule that makes every McDonald’s restaurant comply and create hamburgers in exactly the same way.
- The brand’s objective comes first
To take your brand to the next level, you need a serious mission and objective. The brand’s mission is usually something that signifies contribution to a cause. For example, Nike wants to get people up and running. Dove wants to make every woman feel beautiful in her skin.
The brand that states a clear mission and then follows through with the promise is likely to overstep any form of competition. Therefore, define your company’s objectives and direct all of your actions towards achieving that goal. The employees of the company must understand and preferably align with the company’s objective too, as they often represent the running engine that makes your organization work.
- Exceptional brand slogans (or taglines)
Brand slogans, or taglines, are the first elements and words that pop into most people’s minds. Here are a few examples of the most popular taglines in history:
Nike -“Just Do It”
Apple – “Think Different”
L’Oreal – “Because You’re Worth It”
BMW – “The Ultimate Driving Machine”
Lay’s – “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”
These are great taglines that big corporations used throughout time to improve their brand’s awareness, generate word-of-mouth marketing, and basically to bring huge developments in their brand’s performance.
But what makes a slogan great? There are certain things you must look after while crafting your brand’s tagline:
Make it very memorable and easy to recognize.
Include a key benefit instead of selling a feature. Make it clear and concise.
Make it so that it makes your brand stand out.
Spread positive energy through your words.
- The brand always provides value
This shouldn’t be even mentioned, as one rules of business is that value comes first and the payment after. Every big and successful brand continues to offer value to its customers. If the value decreases or becomes inexistent, the business -no matter its previous or present popularity- will miserably fail. The competition will come from behind, exploiting your weak moments and stealing your audience away.
Many companies tend to fail because they are eager to improve their profits. Therefore, the quality of the product is ought to decrease. Why? Well, for example, if during your launch you were delivering 10 crispy chicken strips made out of the best materials and carefully prepared, in time, you’ll begin delivering 9, 8, maybe 7 chicken strips all while using cheaper ingredients.
This is usually a trap. Many brands believe that their customers are too addicted to their products, so they start taking advantage. Soon enough, fans will generate discussions and negative feedback. These negative outcomes might harshly damage your brand’s reputation and success.
- Great exposure
Let’s not forget about the importance of exposure. You may have the best product in the world. If you can’t properly market it, you’ll fail to sell it. This eventually leads to a brand’s collapse, so making certain that you have great marketing strategies in place is a key to winning the battle over a niche market.
Rolex’s current marketing strategy revolves around sharing beautiful images of their products on social media channels. Here are some marketing channels that you can leverage to build a better exposure for your brand:
Social media marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO)
TV, Radio, Media Buy
Branding could easily be labelled as an art. It is the art of building a legacy that is based on value, respect, and connections are one of the most powerful ways to address yourself to the world.
No matter what your personal objective is, your brand – once it gets popular – should stay extremely consistent with the value it spreads to the marketplace. That, along with the other efficient implementations of the strategies listed above!