Before building a brand, understand what it really is. It includes many things like logos, mission statements, and the like. But those are tools associated with the branding process. A brand is, in its most essential form, about what a company represents. Answering that question makes the rest of the process about building a winning brand so much easier.
What Does the Brand Represent?
This is about discovering what is unique about the product, service, and what the company brings to consumers. Every company and their sister affiliates have some version of bigger, better, more creative, less expensive, and customer service-driven. A large number of them incorporate a “green” theme as well. That’s too generic to really be your brand, it won’t set you apart in the marketplace. Instead find what you offer that’s tangible in those regards.
Consider Tom’s, they offer a green theme, a good product, and say they are service oriented. If that were all, the company would most likely still be struggling to sell enough shoes to keep them afloat rather than expand and flourish. Instead, they took the service and green themes and created a branding technique that’s served them well and put shoes on millions of third-world country children, while selling their shoes for a bit more than they might have charged otherwise. Now, their brand is intricately woven into being more than a shoe company, and instead being a global relief service and a contributor to the betterment of children around the world.
That’s the idea of building an effective brand. Find something that is unique in your efforts to set the company apart in positive ways from all the competition. Then keep getting the word out there.
If there is one valuable lesson learned from many of the most successful companies in our culture, it’s that customer service can make or break a company. This can be tricky, because once you grow beyond a one or two-person entity, the service side of the business is provided by employees. So building a culture of customer service, as well as other types of service, in your company must become tantamount to everyday life in the company and with the employees. Many companies have adopted the approach that they take care of the employees, and when employees are happy and love their job, they automatically take care of the customers. It’s a great approach. Disney, Nordstrom, and Google have built their corporate images while taking care of the employees.
Connect the Brand With What Consumers Want
You’ve got the brand and how you want to present the company. You’ve got the staff on board with the plan – as well as ways to keep them there. Now you need to connect those to what your customer wants and needs, and how they see what you have to offer. That’s one level deeper than many companies go. If, like Tom’s, you sell shoes, and you want to provide shoes for people around the world who can’t afford something so basic, then how do you connect that with the target customers for your product? To do that, first, you need to know who the target customer is. Who would be the ideal? What other ideas, services, and products would they be interested in?
Knowing those answers lead you to the type of stories to relate about your products and efforts. That information will help you decide what innovations to make to what your company brings to customers. If your company provides textbooks for high-end private prep schools – what could be less “sexy” than textbooks – and you want to donate part of your profits to build schools in third-world countries, or get supplies to U.S. communities in areas where inside running water is still a luxury. How do you tie the two together in a way that sells more books at higher prices to the consumer? When you figure that out for your company, you’re well on your way to having a successful brand and organization.