"Products are created in the factory. Brands are created in the mind." - Walter Landor, Founder of Landor Associates
AVOID A BLAND BRAND
Let’s face it; no one enjoys food that is boring and flavorless. The same goes for brands. Much like food, brand identity should connect to the basic needs of your customers. If you want to create a brand that leaves a great taste in the minds of your consumers, you must start with the right ingredients. Below are seven key steps to creating a brand identity that will keep your target audience coming back for more.
1. Use creativity to stay innovative and fresh. No one likes to eat food that has gone way past the expiration date. It is important to stay current and up-to-date. Find ways to enhance your product/service on a regular basis. These enhancements should directly benefit your consumers and help create a higher level of brand loyalty.
2. Research your target audience well. Understanding the needs and desires of your target audience is essential. When you thoroughly understand their "taste", you are better able to serve items that appeal to their "taste buds" - items that excite them and keep them interested in your brand.
3. Create a look and feel. Every business (even restaurants) should have basic, corporate items that help to establish a visual aid for consumers. Logos, corporate color(s), supporting graphics, and corporate guidelines all work together to create a memorable brand in the minds of consumers. Over time, these elements will allow you to develop immediate brand recognition with your target audience.
4. Develop a flexible plan. Restaurants spend a great deal of time establishing and modifying their menu, because they know that it could make or break their company. Same is true of a marketing plan for businesses. It must be designed with your consumer in mind. Your market research and deep understanding of your target audience will assist you in creating a plan that will lead to the success of your brand. It is important to leave room for flexibility in the event that you need to "modify your menu."
5. Manage messaging. Once your look and feel is established, it will be easier to manage your brand. Just like a restaurant educates servers and hostesses on various menu items, your company must educate employees on brand guidelines and expectations. Everyone involved with your brand should have a good understanding of your mission and core beliefs in hopes to minimize any possible branding blunders. The mission and core beliefs should be reflected in everything associated with your brand. If your messaging is consistent and mindful of your target audience, it will help to strengthen your brand.
6. Always deliver on your brand promise. In order to ensure brand loyalty, it is critical that you commit to your core mission and beliefs. If you promise quality, you must deliver quality. If you promise originality, you must deliver originality. No one wants to see a plate of fish and chips, when they ordered the steak and potatoes. Be a company of your word!
7. Present quality. In other words: Don't get sloppy! Make sure your brand looks good, sounds good, and tastes good in the minds of your consumer. Show them that you truly believe in your product/service and that you are willing to go to great lengths to deliver on your brand promise.
Now that you have the recipe, it's time to get cooking! I look forward to seeing a world full of more tasty brands. Be sure to look out for more "Branding Beast" blogs (from a "well-tamed" branding beast: Jennifer T. Graham) with topics to help build your brand!
Jennifer T. Graham, MBA | Creative Director | Branding Blog Post #009
"Ordinary people can spread good and bad information about brands faster than marketers." - Ray Johnson
Companies are always looking for ways to differentiate themselves. Whether through a company name, website, logo, tagline, or advertising campaign, it is vital that you offer something that helps your company stand out among competitors. Though you may offer the same services as your competitor, you must find ways to market a different approach, lower cost, or added benefit. Here are 5 simple ways to build your brand image:
1. Internal Communications
Branding education & training for employees is key to building your brand. It is essential to equip staff with the tools to educate others about your products/services. Every employee is a marketer for your company and their bad attitude or lack of information could potentially influence your brand and reputation.
It is important to appreciate the value of good relationships with customers, business partners, and vendors. Each relationship offers benefits that will help to strengthen your brand and your service/product.
3. Customer Experience
Creating the best possible customer experience can be tedious and difficult, but it is worth every moment of your time. Take a holistic approach while pinpointing the key components that define a customer’s experience. Begin to take notes on how a customer is treated by your company. Are there ways to improve their experience? Finding ways to better meet your customer’s needs will help to build a great brand image.
4. Word of Mouth
What are people saying about your company? It is important to address the good, the bad, and the ugly. What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong that can be improved? What things are you doing that need to stop immediately? Growth is sure to occur when these issues are addressed on a consistent basis.
5. External Communications
Each piece of external advertising needs to have a clear, cohesive message. Whether it’s signage, collateral, corporate identity, direct mail, uniforms, or advertising – all components need to convey the same message. Maintaining consistency within your brand helps to strengthen the trust between you and your customer. Good examples of trustworthy brands include: Hershey Co., Kraft Foods, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Home Depot, Apple, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Google. These brands have images that have remained consistent for years and have been extremely successful in delivering on their brand promise. Thus, building a lasting brand image.
Look out for more "Branding Beast" blogs (from a "well-tamed" branding beast: Jennifer T. Graham) with topics to help build your brand!
Jennifer T. Graham, MBA | Creative Director | Branding Blog Post #002
JENNIFER T. GRAHAM