The strategy and process that is behind branding is not a simple 3-step finish. Branding takes time, time in building credible value for your consumers. Companies like Coca-Cola carefully craft their marketing to correspond to the brand they created; even artists like T. Swift are careful to create a brand for themselves that offers intrinsic value to their customers. As Jerry McLaughlin stated in Forbes Magazine (2011), your brand is “everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering-both factual…and emotional…”
So how do you create a solid branding strategy that will appeal to your customers?
Stand for something.
John Mellencamp had it right when he said “you gotta stand for something”. In order to engage your consumers on the emotional level they expect, you must appeal to their ideals. Consumers want to be inspired and they want to feel a part of something special. Consider Google’s brand whose ideal is to provide information to the world, something that provides undeniable value to its customers.
Revisit your brand.
Do not wait a year to revisit your brand. The landscape of consumerism is changing constantly with the advent of social media and online marketing. Take the time to consider how your brand has changed, how your audience has changed and what steps you can take to engage them at the ultimate level. After foodies took their toll on the fast food giant, McDonald’s had to redefine their brand in terms that would move them away from their notorious unhealthy image. They have continued to maintain their hold as one of the top fast food companies.
Don’t let yourself fall into the ho-hum routine of your competitors. Seriously consider a unique approach that will set you above the rest. Beyonce, for instance, quietly released a full album with corresponding music videos when many artists only release a single before their album debuts.
If you’re considering “winging it”, think again. Creating consistent standards by which your brand is marketed ensures that customers will know exactly what they are buying. Coca Cola has not let go of their distinguishable red-white scheme and polar bears as part of their brand even as they have reimaged their company. They have remained distinguished to the point that an ad with a bottle in red and white implies Coca-Cola. By designing standards you create consistency that reminds customers who you are and what you are offering.
By starting with these basics of branding strategy, you will start to be remembered by your target audience. In our next post, we’ll discuss how to match your print media marketing to your brand.