What Does It Take to Build a Brand?
We hear this question a lot in our conversations with potential clients. Often they refer to brands like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon — huge brands that are known around the globe. Thing is, all of these brands had humble beginnings, and no one knew of them until long after they were formed.
Building a brand rarely involves overnight success. It takes time, commitment, and careful consideration. Here we discuss a few of the key tenets we stand by when helping our clients establish brands.
1. Define not just what your brand will do, but why — and stick with it.
Whether you are manufacturing an item, offering a service, or touting the world’s latest “need to have” widget, know the benefits it offers and why they are important to your audience. Why does your brand do what it does? Why should people care? If you understand these things, you will be able to connect with your audience more effectively.
And, don’t discard your vision or your message overnight when the revenue isn’t pouring in immediately. It takes time to establish your brand in the minds of your audience — typically three to five years for B2B and eight to ten for B2C. Yes, there are always exceptions, but these timeframes are more common. It takes time to replace the information and impressions people carry in their minds, and that is exactly what you are asking them to do. To put something in, something has to come out. Normally the brand that doesn’t market themselves well enough or often enough is the one that is replaced. If you market correctly, it will be your brand that replaces it.
2. Culture, it’s not just a happy workplace.
Culture — the shared beliefs, behaviors, and practices of an organization — should be aligned and integrated with your brand. Think about UPS and “What can brown do for you?” They built a great campaign around the color of their trucks and employee uniforms, a tangible brand asset, and their culture of going above and beyond with expanded capabilities to assist their customers.
When potential clients or customers visit your space or interact with your people, do they walk away feeling that they have experienced an extension of your brand? Or just that they had a nice conversation in a pleasant space? Your employees and your workplace environment should promote the overall feeling and characteristics of the brand you are trying to create. All of these items must be firing on all cylinders; each feeds off the other. Miss a critical component and your customers will walk away feeling that there is a disconnect between what you say and what they experienced.
3. You wouldn’t hire a tailor to cook for your wedding reception.
We hear this all too often: “My [cousin/niece/friend] messes around with Photoshop, and they won’t charge much.” Seriously? If you truly want to grow into something other than an idea, and you are committed to steps 1 and 2, then commit to hiring a professional marketing company that specializes in brand development to help you. Nothing is a better investment on any level than investing in business partners who know what they are doing, have a portfolio of positive marketing results, and can guide you in creating a brand. Businesses and consumers know good work when they see it. And they definitely recognize work done by professionals versus work done by hobbyists.