Have you ever wondered how brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Netflix manage to achieve worldwide recognition and success? The secret lies in their global strategy.
Every entrepreneur wants to achieve business success, which usually translates to customers buying products or services, as well as positive opinions about the company. Branding, that is creating a brand, is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. With time, it will give you satisfaction as well as measurable effects, such as an increase in sales and profits. The key to brand success is proper branding. How to build a brand so that it is appreciated by customers?
What is a brand?
A brand and a company are two separate terms. A brand is a collection of many elements that affect how customers perceive your business, that is, what people think about products, services, or the company itself. You need to make sure that these opinions are positive, but it requires hard and systematic work. Unfortunately, it will not always bring results, and you might need to wait some time to see them.
What makes a brand successful?
Before you start the brand building process, you need to know what really shapes customers’ perception about the company and its actions. The most important are the products or services offered by the company. You need to ensure their appropriate quality so that customers are satisfied with their purchase.
The well-being of your business depends on the customers who buy the product or service. If they are satisfied and leave a positive review, there will be more people interested in your offer. On the other hand, it will be harder to acquire new customers with bad reviews. The way in which the company provides customer service is also important. The way of communication, interaction, the speed and quality of responses to inquiries as well as the speed of problem solving and handling complaints about products are very important.
Both the corporate website, blog, and social media accounts are crucial for communication with clients. Customers can really appreciate the appropriate interaction on Facebook or Instagram.
Other core elements impacting opinions about a company and customer acquisition are marketing activities. They need to make new customers interested and attract their attention. However, you must remember that advertisements cannot be too intrusive and force potential clients to buy the product.
The last very important thing for brand perception is visual identity, that is a brand logo, website and product design, packaging as well as a form of preparing products for shipping. What is more, the design of the headquarters or office also matters.
As you can see, there are many things to think about, which is why creating a brand is a long and demanding process.
Essential steps to creating a brand
Building a brand is a process that requires prior preparation and a step-by-step outline. So what do you need to do and how to create a brand? You should start with planning your activities well and then implementing them to the best of your abilities. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to have successful branding.
Step 1: Planning your actions
You must have a plan, so before you start, you need to know what you want and need to do. You also should determine what actions are the most important and answer a number of questions. It is worth writing everything down on a piece of paper. You should begin with determining what you want to sell, as well as defining the brand mission and goals you want to achieve by launching a given product or service on the market. Of course, you should focus on other goals besides earning money.
After that, you need to consider who should be the recipient of this product or service. It is very important when it comes to marketing campaigns when you target the people most likely to benefit from your offer. You need to think how and whom your products or services can help as well as what their key qualities should be.
Another important thing when building a successful brand is competition analysis. Find out what makes successful brands stand out, so you can create something unique yourself and stay ahead of the competition.
You also need to rethink the brand identity and the feelings it is supposed to evoke in your target audience. You should consider using a brand story to build an emotional connection and plan activities to enhance brand loyalty.
Brand identity survey questions provide valuable insights into a company’s brand identity, helping to shape its brand strategy and create a brand that stands out and resonates with its target audience in a crowded market.
Step 2: The brand – is it someone or something?
There are various ways for building a successful brand. Some companies use the image of the owner or a famous person, while others use their product. Good examples of successful brand building are KFC, which has the image of its founder in its logo, and Tymbark, which everyone knows without even having a clue about who the manufacturer is – Maspex company. You need to consider which option will work better for your brand.
This way of building a brand is often used by people who run their business alone, such as bloggers, Youtubers, graphic designers, photographers, and copywriters. Using your own image will distinguish the brand from other similar ones.
However, building a successful brand is not an easy process. It is mainly conducted on the Internet, so you need to know how to build a brand online. Customers appreciate availability, but they will be more and more demanding with time. They will also pay attention to your failures.
When it comes to personal branding, you must put honesty first. You cannot try to create an image of someone you are not. It is better to put emphasis on the passion to constantly develop, learn and gain experience than to present yourself as an expert if you are still far from becoming one.
You need to remember that only systematic, hard work and constant improvement of your products or services can build a successful brand that will be appreciated by your potential customer.
Upholding a good reputation can be even more difficult than the process of creating a brand people will love.
A successful brand can also be based on a product that has the potential to become a large-scale hit. However, it is an option for those who have the basis for predicting such opportunities and taking the risk into account.
A brand is sometimes created with the whole company image in mind, but in some cases a product can become more recognizable than the business which created it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Strong product branding can also help embed the company in the consciousness of consumers.
A perfect example of building a successful brand are the products of a technology company, Apple. iPhones, iPads, iPods and other devices are as well known as their manufacturer.
The brand as an organization is a strong structure that is reserved for only large companies that offer many different products and services, which have been successfully introduced to the market.
A perfect example of a successful global brand is Google, a company associated with the most popular Internet search engine. In addition to this product, the brand offers a multitude of applications for individuals and companies, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google documents, marketing and advertising services and much more.
Another company that serves as an example of a powerful brand is Apple. The products of such companies are welcomed with trust based on the positive past experience or the opinions of other people recommending their services and products.
However, it is very easy to damage the trust. It takes one inadequate behavior towards someone on social media to seriously tarnish the image of the brand.
Step 3: Target audience
After you define your needs and goals, you should determine your product or service reach and set a target audience to whom you want to direct your offer. For this purpose, it is worth creating the so-called personas, i.e., profiles of your potential recipients. This will help you optimize your marketing strategy as well as plan actions aimed at the right people and presented through appropriate communication channels.
You should build your personas on a solid foundation. Of course, after you get more data, you can modify them.
How to obtain data about recipients? It is important to remember what are the reasons why customers choose a given brand. For example:
· a brand compliant with their life vision;
· high-quality products;
· good value;
· well-designed, good-looking and useful products;
· competitive prices;
· customer experience and brand awareness;
· appropriate customer service;
· famous person recommendation;
· good advertising and brand promotions;
Remember that you want to build a successful brand for an audience you do not really know. That is why you have to know what is important to them. Being part of a target audience or having experience in creating a brand makes things easier because you are aware of its members’ needs and the path they take to buy products.
It will be helpful to collect information on factors that impact purchasing decisions and your target customers. Here you can gather answers to matters, such as who your clients would like to be like, what they value, what they care about, why they choose your competitors and why they should buy your products. You can also check how they can be grouped, where they get the information and how they confirm its reliability.
Step 4: The brand identity
Establishing brand identity is the next stage in building a successful brand. The brand identity and its image are two separate things, as the brand identity is concerned with what kind of brand you want to create.
You need to set your competitive advantage. Think about what can distinguish the company from the competition, and what values it should represent. You should not forget about the unique brand voice and communication style you are going to choose, either externally with customers or internally at the company with employees. All positive qualities you want to highlight constitute the brand identity.
However, you must remember that branding will collide with reality after it has been implemented. As a result, the image of the brand may differ from your expectations and assumptions.
Step 5: Consistent brand identification
Brand identification is related to everything that is visible on the outside of the organization. Firstly, you need to have a logo in several variants so that it looks good everywhere it is used. Secondly, you must remember about the color scheme and the font used in communication (e.g., in leaflets, advertisements, etc.), as well as the design of all products and their packaging or labels. Thirdly, you need to keep in mind that the design of promotional materials (leaflets, posters, gadgets), interior of the company headquarters and the employees clothing also matter.
Lastly, it is worth placing all these elements in the so-called brand book after it is designed and approved. Brand guidelines are a very important tool, helpful in the work of graphic designers and other people responsible for brand marketing activities.
Step 6: Brand awareness
How to build a strong brand? By focusing on recognizability. You need to remember that people need to hear about the brand in order to buy anything. Therefore, it is necessary to launch activities related to brand awareness.
Let’s go through a few examples to illustrate why it is important. In Polish, sneakers, photocopies, and bicycles are products we refer to with the name of the most popular brand that makes them – Adidas, Xerox and Rover respectively. As you can see, it is thanks to brand awareness that has grown to a size that is almost unimaginable in the case of these well-known multinational companies.
Here is how successful brands contribute to the recognition of their products or services:
· social media and online ads presence – nowadays, there is probably no company that does not have an account on Facebook or Instagram. By creating interesting and relevant content on their profiles, they increase their reach because most people in the world use these portals privately. From time to time, you need to choose paid promotion on various digital platforms, but make sure to select the channels that are most valuable to the brand;
· promotional campaigns – discounts, discount packages, free materials or product samples will not only attract new customers, but will also be the basis for creating new brand marketing campaigns. It is worth creating a section on the landing page of your business where clients can sign up to your newsletter. Customers will gain some benefits, and you will get in touch with them;
· a partner program – it is a referral system in which a client recommends your brand and products to other people and can gain something in return. This can be, for example, a discount, access to a portion of paid features for free, or even money for a specific number of referrals. In this way, you build customer loyalty and make consumers take care of your brand awareness by talking about it to their friends;
· infographics – an aesthetic infographic will appeal to the client better than a wall of text. Even people who are new to infographics and lack design skills can create simple ones with tools like Canva;
· a trial period – it is worth giving customers the opportunity to test something for free for, e.g., a month or two, and not make them pay for it immediately. They appreciate the time taken to get to know the product and make a purchasing decision;
· freebies and gadgets – although you need to bear the costs, it engages the recipients in the relationship with your company. Customers will be more likely to pay back for a free gadget, which may lead to them buying a product or service;
Step 7: Brand strategy goals
Planning branding goals is essential in strategies of brand management because it helps to align business objectives with consumer perceptions and create a compelling brand image that appeals to the target audiences.
Everyone who sets up a business dreams of creating and presenting an unusual, innovative product that will conquer the market right from the start.
Unfortunately, this process is not always successful. And the higher you set the bar for yourself, the more damaging the failure can be, which affects the brand image. Therefore, it is important to be realistic when planning your goals and considering what is achievable in the short term.
It is also worth dividing long-term goals into shorter stages to make them easier to achieve. You need to estimate the chances and limitations, as they may have a huge impact on success when starting a brand.
How to start a brand?
Now comes the long-awaited time when you can carry out the brand building strategies you have planned.
Of course, you should start with the implementation of everything that was previously laid out and registration of the company name as well as the Internet domain. You can also make changes to the business registers where the company is listed.
Then you need to take care of visual identity, i.e., printing posters, leaflets, folders, labels, as well as creating a website and placing logos wherever it is necessary.
The next step is to set up accounts on social media, establish business relationships, purchase advertising spots in public places and on the Internet. Make sure that potential customers can contact you via multiple platforms.
You should not forget about preparing promotional materials and ideas for showing products and services.
The larger the brand, the longer it will take to plan and launch a successful brand strategy. Therefore, it is better not to assume that everything will be implemented at the same time. The brand building process should even be broken down into stages, starting with the brand’s critical points.
Another thing to remember is that the new brand also needs to be properly announced to the world. This process should not be spread over time and it is best to present your business right away. All necessary information should be provided to a potential customer at the very beginning.
Good brand communication must be comprehensive. After many months of preparation, you cannot just run a website and write a post on Facebook. You need to define different communication media and adjust brand voice and information that can be conveyed through these channels. The messages are formulated differently on various platforms, so you need to make sure to prepare your content accordingly for the website, blog, email newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, as well as leaflets and posters.
Another important aspect of branding is the date you want to start the campaign, as it must be determined taking into account various circumstances, the activities of the recipients, the situation on the market as well as the competition. You need to choose a time when there is a low risk of different events jamming your message on the market.
Finally, it is necessary to establish all possible scenarios for the course of events and plan actions accordingly.
Building a successful brand from scratch is a really difficult task. If you are not confident enough to carry out the brand building process on your own and you are not sure how to make a brand, you can rely on professionals. Discover the full scope of our branding services and how they can elevate your brand.
A current analysis as an element of successful brand building
Building a brand from scratch is not everything. Developing a brand and maintaining the achieved results require further systematic work. This can prove to be even more difficult than starting branding.
You need to actively take care of the brand itself and the brand awareness among recipients all the time. You cannot let them forget about it even for a moment. This is where the real adventure with the brand begins. You should stick to the previously developed plans and a brand strategy.
Two most important features in branding, which increase the chances of brand success significantly, are consistency and coherence.
Your actions influence brand consistency, that is, building its strength and value. The successful brand should always evoke the same emotions and associations, as well as maintain a consistent voice on every level. If you decide to create an image of yourself as an expert, you cannot introduce an image of a rebel or jester – something incompatible with your brand’s DNA – because the brand will lose its credibility.
You also need to create consistency with visuals and make it clear that they represent your brand. You should not mislead customers by inconsistent colors or any outdated advertising and promotional materials.
To ensure consistency, the theme should be strictly followed, but with a margin for possible changes. However, if something goes wrong and the brand needs to be modified, clearly communicate it to the customers and start the entire branding process all over again. With the experience gained from planning and implementing the previous brand strategy, it should be a little easier, especially since you can figure out where you made mistakes and what needs to be updated.
Remember, however, that you cannot introduce big changes too often because customers will get confused. As a result, your business will lose credibility as a brand that does not know what it wants and keeps messing up. Implement everything consistently and in a planned-out order as it will give you much better results. Chaos, even when everything is well prepared, will spoil what you want to achieve.