Happy New Week Guys! I know last week, I shared some important realities about the power of brand loyalty in sustaining your business using a Coco Pops story as a case study. This week, I was planning on sharing some important tips and ideas on how to go about building brand loyalty but then it hit me that the basis for building brand loyalty is a solid Brand Identity and you can’t have the former without the latter in place.
Inspired by that thought, I’m going to be sharing 6 basic steps to creating and building your brand Identity today.
Having a Solid Product
This is the basis for running any truly successful business and it is ultimately the framework around which a brand identity is created. No matter how excellent your branding experts are, they can’t sell a bad or substandard product or service to an increasingly discerning consumer market, in a highly competitive space. Before you embark on any branding project, your first point of call is to ensure that the product or service, merits the time and resources you’re about to invest. This process also includes figuring out a smart and competitive business model. The more solid the product and business model, the easier it is to build a meaningful and competitive brand around it.
Understanding your Unique Value Proposition
I like to call this, the ABC of branding. The value proposition of any business sits in the space between its mission and vision statement and the market or service gap in its industry. Simply put, it is what you do or how you do it, better than your competitors. Your value proposition is the answer to how your business or product, uniquely solves a product or service problem in your industry. Call it your business Ace, this forms the first basis of why your customers should choose you over other brands. It is your brand’s competitive advantage. The biggest challenge many business have is that they begin a pseudo-branding process without first identifying their value proposition. Without first outlining and understand the unique value you are bringing to your industry, it is impossible to have a competitive and successful brand.
In a personality obsessed age, language is easily one of the most crucial aspects of creating your brand identity. These days it is simply not enough to offer great services. The manner in which you communicate those services and help customers connect the value you are offering to their own personas or lifestyles is now equally as important as the service itself. While some businesses have a clear understanding of who they are and what they want to say, many businesses have very little idea, who they are speaking to or how their customers like to be spoken to. To create a successful identity, every business must understand who their customer is and how best to communicate who they are to that customer in a way that resonates with them. Uncovering a language style, tone and voice that your customers can connect to is an indispensable part of building a brand customers can grow attached to.
Contrary to popular belief, brand design is not the first place to begin the brand identity creation process. Articulating who you are, undertaking consumer market research, outlining your value proposition and developing your brand language, should all come before design. All of these preliminary actions ought to make up your design brief. The questions they answer including; who you are, what you want to say, who you are speaking to, what makes you different and how you want to communicate all of this; determine everything from your choice of colours, to the shape and elements in your Logo and everything in-between. The same goes for every type of branded material you create.
Once you’re done working out Steps 1-4, the next step to grow that brand is consistency. It is important for you as a business to maintain the quality of your brand experience; from products and services and everything in between. Staying true to your brand promise which is your unique value propositon is how you reinforce your brand’s value in the minds and hearts of consumers. This is very important and it encompasses every aspect of your business. The more customers see and hear the same values, language, experience and design concept repeated in a variety of ways, the more likely they are to recongnize your brand and the more likely it is for your brand message and aesthetic to stick with them.
Finally, as is the case with everything that stands the test of time, you must learn to adapt your brand through innovation. The most successful brands stay ahead of the curve by studying market trends and cultural changes, and innovating their branding strategies along those lines to stay relevant and competitive. No business is immune to certain cultural and developmental changes so if you fail to constantly innovate, it is only a matter of time before your brand becomes dated and irrelevant. Think outside the box with execution but always keep the core of your brand promise at the centre of your efforts.