Branding is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.
There are many quotes about branding, but this one by Scott Cook gets to the point about the importance of building a strong brand which will resonate with your audience and turn them into your brand ambassadors.
Easier said than done.
To do this, you’ll need to cut through the noise created by a number of other brands from your niche, and show your customers why your brand is different and unique – that is, why they should choose you over them.
Create a Compelling Logo
Let’s get one thing straight first: your logo isn’t your brand.
While it can’t be denied that an attractive logo is just one element of successful branding, it still plays an important role in enhancing your brand image.
The most important goal of this little symbol, together with the choice of color and font, is to identify your brand and establish recognition.
When you see the Golden Arches or the Swoosh, you immediately think about McDonald’s and Nike respectively, without even having to read their names.
A successful logo is simple, memorable, and can be easily recognized regardless of the size of the print.
Another crucial characteristic of an effective logo is that it reflects your business and in a way communicates what you do.
For example, Cisco uses blue lines above the logotype to symbolize an electromagnetic wave and represent the shape of the Golden Gate Bridge. It all makes sense if we know that the company is the leader in IT and networking and that it was founded in San Francisco.
Offer Great Products and Services
Apple forms the Holy Trinity of the world’s most valuable brands together with Google and Amazon.
The secret of its success is a simple one – people love its products. The company pairs superb quality with impeccable design, and never fails to deliver.
Offering great products and services should be your first and primary concern because that’s the only way to attract and keep your customers.
For example, United Airlines, one of the world’s biggest airlines suffered a number of customer service incidents which affected its reputation and bottom line. After a customer was forcefully removed from an overbooked flight, the company lost almost $1 billion of its market value, and some customers even called for a boycott.
Deliver on Your Promises
This is particularly important for small businesses, because in order to set your company apart from all the competitors who keep on breathing down your neck, as well as all the big guys that have way more money and can spend a fortune on advertising, you need to deliver on your promises and make it a staple of your branding efforts.
Lego, a toy company from Denmark, was named the world’s most powerful brand in 2017.
Its name was derived from “leg godt” which means “play well” in Danish. This concept stood the test of time and customers’ expectations, as Lego never seems to disappoint with its creative and imagination-igniting toys, allowing kids and adults all around the world to “play well.”
Similarly, Zappos has built its excellent reputation, credibility, and trust on making sure that their customers get their orders within 2-5 business days. However, the online retailer’s efforts go above and beyond this promise and most customers are upgraded to free overnight shipping.
Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows are essential for growing your brand and increasing your brand awareness.
These events also allow you to scan your competition and see how you stack up against them, as well as connect with your potential and existing customers and find out how they feel about your brand.
However, many brands miss these great opportunities to present themselves in the best possible light.
Let’s not forget that building a brand is a multifaceted endeavor, which means that you have to pay attention to a number of details if you want to make a lasting impression.
Here’s what you should bear in mind when exhibiting at a trade show:
- Promote the event. Share it with your audience via social media and newsletters. Use official hashtags to announce that your brand will be there and draw the attention of your potential customers.
- Turn heads with your booth. In order to generate foot traffic and attract visitors to your booth, you’ll have to use bold colors, visually appealing presentations, as well as branded banners which will be visible from across the exhibition venue. This will reinforce your branding and make sure that your audience doesn’t miss your stand.
- Be generous. People love when they get free stuff, so it’s a good idea to offer them your branded merch. A t-shirt, a pen, or a baseball cap with your logo on will serve as walking advertisements, but you should also know these inexpensive items are gifts that keep on giving. When you give something to your customers for free, you can expect to benefit from the Principle of Reciprocity, a powerful psychological mechanism which prompts people to give back something in return after they receive something. In other words, your customers will feel almost obliged to make a purchase from and reward you with their loyalty to your brand.
Find Your Tone of Voice
And be consistent about it.
Your brand’s tone of voice should convey your message, share your core values, and communicate in a manner that’s appealing, relevant, and understandable to your audience.
What’s also important is that you use this same tone of voice when writing the copy for your website, marketing campaigns, and on social media.
It should communicate in a unique, distinctive, and recognizable manner.
Many companies find it difficult to find their own tone of voice, and one of the best ways to do that is by outlining your brand’s personality and thinking about it as of a person with particular traits and even quirks.
Is that person funny, serious, cheeky, or maybe controversial? It’s up to you to decide and align every aspect of your branding with that person.
This will personalize and humanize your brand to a great extent.
Wendy’s is a great example of a brand with a unique, mischievous tone of voice. The fast-food brand never misses an opportunity to troll and roast its fiercest competitor McDonald’s on social media in a very funny and clever way.
On March 30th, 2017, McDonald’s announced that all Quarter Pounder burgers in most of their restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef. The eagle-eyed Wendy’s didn’t fail to notice that the announcement was made on the National Frozen Food Day (it’s a fake holiday, but nevertheless).
Wendy’s jumped at the opportunity to reply this:
The idea of branding might seem as too vague and intangible, but if you understand your audience and know what exactly you want to communicate to them, you can aim your branding efforts in the right direction.