We all know dozens of strong brands : Google, Coca-Cola, Ikea, Virgin and so on… But why are they on the top ? They’re working everyday on their brand, what we call branding. But before branding, you have to create your brand. In this article, I’ll give my most important steps and tips to build a strong brand.
Pause and Think
First step is to think or rethink about your environment. To make it clear, there’re two things to think about : what’s wrong in your world (it means what are the problems in your industry) and what makes you unique (in comparison with your competitors, why do you think your offer is worth it). Where these two things collide, that’s your brand idea, what you want to stand for in people’s mind ! Cause this is it : a brand is what people think about it. And remember that « people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it » (Simon Sinek – How leaders inspire actions)
Stand for a purpose
The second thing is to have a real purpose for your brand. This is what you want to fight for (or against). This is the cause, the reason why your brand does exist, why people should care. It’s a super important thing because this purpose is gonna drive all your organisation eveyday, your offer, your actions, your innovation, your communications and so on…
From your purpose, you’ll be able to define your proposition (selling proposition) and your brand personnality.
- proposition : what makes your offer worth the money and what makes you different from the competitors ;
- personality : how do you do things (for example, Skype makes things universal and wonderful).
Build your identity
When you have your purpose and your brand idea defined, you’ll need to be recognised. But I’m not only talking about visual identity. As I said, your personality brand is really important. It’s gonna support your purpose. This personality has to be reflected in everything you do. Of course, you need a logo, colors, visual identity to be recognised but there’re so many other ways to be recognised : visual way, verbal way, sensory way and interactive way.
- visual : logo, iconography, photography, colour, architecture (shops, offices…), animation ;
- verbal : ton of voice, language, naming architecture (iphone, ipad, ipod…) ;
- sensory : olfactory, taste, lights, illuminations, texture, events and experience giving to consumers ;
- interactive : navigation and behavioral icons, user generation, social media…
Have a brand-led organisation
There is a debate about having a brand-led business or putting the product or something else at the center of your organisation. Facts show us that brand-led organisations like Google, Virgin or Amazon are more likely to be efficient on the market. On my opinion, this is the perfect way to maintain your brand.
Guiding all your decisions by your brand is the way to keep it strong. This is not only about keeping it visible. This is about going always further with your brand purpose. This can lead you to innovation, to diversification, to creative ads because you’ll be searching, every single day, how to achieve your purpose and do be useful to your consumers. This is an infinite box of ideas.
To make it real, you have to put your brand at every step of your activity. Of course, you have to show your brand essence in your external image through advertising, digital strategy and media strategy. You also need to think about your offer and your capability according to your brand idea. The other mostly important side is your internal organisation. I don’t talk about internal communications. This is about your relationship with your candidates, how you manage people, how your teams work. Your brand idea has to lead everything in your business life.
My tips are here to help you maintain your brand and make it grow in your fans and consumers’ mind.
Let go your brand
First one is to hold tight your communications. It’s important to keep control over your brand, its communications, its tone of voice and everything that makes your brand this brand and nothing else. But at the same time, you have to be able to let it go in fans’ hands. The appropriation of the brand by consumers helps you to create a relationship and an emotional one between them and the brand. Many brands like to use events and experiential marketing to do this. They also use participation and customisation. They ask people their opinion about the brand and sometimes organise competitions among the clients.
Do not forget to use all digital tools. This will help you to keep in touch with your customers, interact with them and have a place in their everyday life. Of course, you have to be persent on the web because this can’t be ignored anymore 😉
The second one is my favourite, no easy to do but really valuable : storytelling. People get emotional and we now know that humans aren’t rational. Stories are easily remembered because they involve emotions. That’s why brand storytelling is the key to keep fans enthusiasm alive for the brand.
Of course, there’re so many other things to think about when you’re creating a brand but I hope these are main things to use to start over. Do not hesitate to share your view !
What’s your favourite brand ? Why do you think it’s so successful?