Branding isn’t just about a logo, some fonts and a colour palette, branding can increase employee engagement, increase the value of your company, give you clarity and direction and helps to familiarise your business with your audience.
Branding is everything your company does both intentionally and not intentionally, from your logo to messaging and brand’s mission to customer service.
All these touchpoints form a set of interactions your audience has with your brand that goes to create associations, feelings and meaning all tied to your brand.
The video below explains this in more detail. If you enjoy the video please subscribe to our channel where we share weekly insights to help you unlock your brand’s potential.
What categorises a strong brand?
Whether a brand is strong or not isn’t based on the size of the business there are many large businesses and cooperations that have weak brands, that could capitalise significantly from an improved brand, as well as many smaller niche businesses that
have incredibly strong brands.
Strong brands are simple to understand, feel authentic, familiar and connect with us as consumers on a level deeper than most. They feel like they understand you as a consumer and believe the same things you do, it is almost like they have been designed for you.
Brand’s are built in the mind of the audience and how easy it is for your audience to understand what your brand does, what you offer, what you stand for, what you believe and where you are going, will determine the strength of your brand.
If successful your audience will take all these things and micro-interactions they have with your brand and it’s various touchpoints and create a space in their mind for your brand that successfully ties meaning to it and elicits an emotional response.
How do you create a strong brand?
To create a strong brand you need a strong brand platform or what we at Elements Brand Management call the Core layer (see below) this defines why you exist, what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve this, and the rules or guiding principles you abide by to do this.
You need to have an effective strategy to reach your goals as a brand and you need to know how you compete, where you compete and what space you call your own in the market (how you differentiate).
You need a strong, iconic, face of the brand or visual identity and distinct voice or personality for the brand that helps to present the
internal brand (Core) effectively, to boost connection, memorability and help to resonate emotionally with your audience.
These work to build the following set of brand elements or layers to your brand:
Core (or heart of the brand) – Internal
Strategy (or brain of the brand) – Internal
Identity (or face fo the brand) – External
Voice (or personality fo the brand) – External
To be a strong brand these four layers want to be aligned to create what we call a ‘unified brand’ (our methodology)
You can see an explanation of this in more detail in the video below.
You can also download our guide to this methodology here which explains the Unified Brand in more detail
How does a strong brand help your business success?
If you have successfully managed to build out the four layers and unified them there are a number of benefits which will grow your business.
Improved memorability for your brand
A brand that is unified is easier to remember, unified brands know what they stand for, know where they compete, understand where they are going and who they are trying to interact with. This cascades down through everything they do which makes messaging simpler, straightforward and to the point. The visual identity will remain consistent and designed with the audience in mind and the voice will be distinct and individual. All of which improves memorability, recognition and recall in your brand.
Builds trust and loyalty
When we interact with a strong brand it feels familiar, authentic kind of like an old friend and this builds trust in the brand and loyalty.
It is the same experience we have when we meet someone who is completely confident in who they are and congruent in what they stand for and believe. It is easier to trust that person you feel they are genuine and are open to listening to what they have to say.
The opposite is also true if you meet someone who keeps changing what they believe or acts without confidence in who they are you will feel that this person is shifty or can’t be trusted.
Strong brands know themselves and present this consistently, weak brands don’t understand who they are and where they are going and change their approach frequently to match trends or worse still competitors.
Strong brand’s that are more trusted and have loyal customers have higher brand equity.
Brand equity is the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself.
If you have higher brand equity:
You can charge more for your product or service.
It boosts your companies stock price.
It allows for more product extensions.
This is only possible when you have a strong unified brand.
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Brand equity is a term used to describe the value of having a recognized brand. Another way to think about it is a series of assets and liabilities that are linked to a brand name and symbol. (from David Aaker) Positive brand equity results in benefits such as higher prices, increased stock valuation and the opportunity of effective product extensions and brand collaborations. Negative equity as seen with the emission scandal that Volkswagon had in 2015 can hurt the brand and reduce equity due to the consumer losing trust in the brand. This can be rectified as you see with Volkswagon’s response to this issue and current brand standing. #branding #brandequity #brandstrategy #bradnbuilding #brandvalue #businessdevelopment #business101
Inspires your team
As mentioned above strong brands know who they are and where they going so they have a clear purpose, vision, mission and values and these things can re-invigorate an under-motivated team and begin to build your internal culture.
‘People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it’ is a quote from Simon Sinek who wrote the book ‘Start With Why’ and this statement isn’t just true for your audience but also your employees.
If your employees understand the brand they will know what they are coming into work to do on a day to day basis, why they are doing it, what the companies overall goal is and what the brand stands for. This adds immense value to your business in three main areas:
An employee who understands the brand and their role in its present and future is better equipt to deal with customer service issues and general enquiries.
Sales presentations and conversations are easier if the rep in question understands the brand’s mission and reason for being.
When your employees understand where your brand is going it is easier for them to think outside the box, be creative in line with the overall strategy and mission and be able to problem-solve situations without guidance.
Grows your business
As mentioned above building a unified brand helps to increase memorability and what this means in terms of growth is referrals. The easier your brand is to remember the easier it is to pass on.
The best brands that do this position themselves as a solution to a problem or articulate the brand in such a way that it is easy to categorise and repeat to someone else.
For instance Google – If someone was to say to you ‘I need to find the nearest sports club to me’ your response would probably be ‘Google it’ and that simple phrase has helped to turn Google into one of the biggest companies in the world, even though it wasn’t the first search engine it is now the defacto brand when it comes to search.
Another reason a strong brand builds growth is people are habitual and they want to do business with brands they trust and as we mentioned above a strong brand builds trust and loyalty.
Unified brands stand out from the competition not by inherently being different but by being true to themselves and authentic. Every brand is unique and you’ll see that a strong brand stands out through its own individuality and unique combination of purpose, vision, mission and values informing the strategy, identity and voice. The differentiation comes from a combination of individuality, well thought out strategy and iconic presentation.
Why is this important now?
2020 has been difficult for a lot of businesses and brands, it has changed consumer buying habits, the way we work, the way we interact with our employees, colleagues and audience.
Now as we approach the ‘New Normal’ we find ourselves in a place of rapid change and uncertainty.
Building a strong brand now is crucial to navigating this turbulent time, building relationships with your audience and crafting effective but adaptable strategies to combat short term and long term change.
It will also allow you to pivot quicker, adapt easier and make smarter strategic decisions.
If you have a strong brand that understands why it exists and the role it plays in your customer’s lives then serving that audience and being something reliable in an uncertain time can build a strong connection with your audience.
If you would like to find out more about our Unified brand Methodology and brand building process you can download the guide below.
Alternatively, you can book a free brand consultation call where we can dive deeper into your brand and begin to help you unlock your brand’s potential – Schedule a call
Main image credit Morning Brew on Unsplash – https://unsplash.com/@morningbrew