Your brand represents a unique promise that you make to every single one of your customers and potential customers. It is the consistency of this promise and the overall quality of the delivery of this promise that will encourage your customers to be loyal to your brand. Getting your customers to become loyal to your brand is the only real way to make your brand successful. But in order for your promise to be effective, it must be distinct and clearly distinguishable from the many other promises your potential clients will encounter.
- What kind of promise is your brand making?
- Who is your brand making this promise to?
- Why is your brand’s promise different from everyone else’s?
- Why should anyone believe your promise?
At a glance, the task of defining your brand may seem quite simple, but it’s not. The golden arches of McDonald’s and the Nike swoosh did not become what they are in a day. These and other successful brands are the product of careful research, distinctly defined boundaries and a comprehensive marketing strategy. The result of all this hard work is that each customer and potential customer knows exactly what these brands represent. Have you ever walked into McDonald’s to order a Pepperoni pizza? Will anyone in their right minds drive to Nike to pick up a pair of ruby red stilettos? Of course not! That is because these brands have carefully defined who they are what they represent so clearly that we know exactly what to expect and what these brands can deliver. Customers are far more likely to be loyal to a brand that sends a clear message or has a distinct voice.
The first step to defining your brand is thinking carefully about and writing down what your business is good at. You can make use of the S.W.O.T analysis to outline the major strengths and weakness of your business. It goes without saying that your brand should represent the strengths or core functions of your business. This will require some amount of honest self-evaluation. Some business owners fall into the trap of aiming to be good at everything or doing too many things at the same time. Even worse is trying to make a ‘universal’ product or service that has no specific target audience. The result of this kind of strategy would be a brand that is not well-defined and will not encourage brand loyalty.
Trying to target everybody and doing everything will force you to spread your resources too thin. The easiest way to get nothing done is to try and do everything at the same time. Once you have a clearly defined message in mind, the next step is to choose the right tools. The marketing tools that you choose to make use of should then emphasize the core focus of your business. In doing so, your marketing strategy should also emphasize what your business is not and thus make your clients see that your focus is not on ripping them off. This is an easy way to highlight the difference between you and the competition. A memorable brand is not worth the effort if you are not earning any money and the easiest way to make money is to take out the competition.
After assessing the strength of your business, find three simple words that represent what your business does well. Think of it this way, which three words would you want your clients to use to describe your brand if your brand was a person? This will require that you carefully define the mission and vision statement of your business as well. Your next move should be figuring out how to communicate these attributes to your target audience with the utmost simplicity. A complicated commercial or website is a major turn off to potential clients and will not be very effective at generating sales. Keep your message simple if your aim is to make your brand memorable and profitable.
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity.”― Leo Tolstoy
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Clare Boothe Luce
“To be simple is to be great.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Defining your brand and the identity of your brand will require much more than a fancy logo. It must instantly bring to mind what your business does and what your brand represents. One core principle that never fails is to focus on quality and convenience. The identity of your brand should be carefully tied to adding value. Make your clients think of your product or service as being of the best quality, the easiest to use, the most affordable or even the most durable. Selling hype will not get you very far.
Always remember that your aim is to give your brand a pleasant voice and a distinct identity. The ultimate aim is to get the voice of your brand off the printed page or website into the mind of your target audience. Your message should make such a deep impression on your target audience that purchasing your product or service should seem like the only sensible choice. You should not have to clutter your website or commercials to get potential clients to remember what your brand represents. This will prove to be a waste of time since your brand may become easily confused with another. The next blog post will provide further details on building a unique identity for your brand.