Many companies dream of having a brand name as recognizable as Apple, Google and Amazon. But what does it actually take to build a brand? The short answer is strategy and dedication to continually engage your target audiences.
Building a brand is a long-term strategy and while I cannot share how to build a brand in one simple blog post, we can break it down into two key steps.
Developing or Articulating a Brand
The good news is building a brand starts with something you already know – your business.
What is your company and its products or services all about? What problems do you help your customers solve? What is your mission, your values, your culture? What makes your company and its products or services unique? How are you different from your competitors? What is your current brand awareness level in the marketplace? What is the company’s current perception in the marketplace?
Turn to the resources you already have in your back pocket to start the process. Talk to your founder, your leadership, your employees, your loyal customers, your prospects and your influencers. They will provide an objective view of the company and you might even learn a few things along the way. If they are simply validating what you already know, that’s great too. It’s further confirmation you are moving in the right direction.
With branding, it is important to focus on who you are today, not what you want to be in 5 or 10 years. Your employees, your customers and the industry at large will easily be able to see if your brand is genuine or not.
Communicating your brand externally requires strategy around your visual, written and verbal communication. When people hear the term brand they often think of a logo and tagline but it’s significantly more than that. What’s the why behind your business? What do you stand for? What’s your business descriptor or elevator speech? What’s your company’s voice?
From a visual perspective, what feeling do you want your target audience to walk away with? What colors, typography and visuals help you accomplish this? The visual, written and verbal communication need to work together to communicate and elevate the brand.
While it might be easy to say this exercise is just for new brands or new products, even established brands need to revisit who they are as businesses, industries and culture shift and evolve.
Building Awareness & Engaging Your Audience
Companies will spend a lifetime building and maintaining a brand and engaging customers and prospects all with the goal of driving more sales. Even Coke continues to work on maintaining its high level and quality of brand awareness.
The truth is, everything a company does affects its brand from your employee culture to your product packing, website experience, retail store design, sales and customer service approach to your marketing. This is precisely why brands are moving away from Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) to Chief Experience Officers (CXO).
If we are just looking at this from a pure marketing perspective however, there are many ways you can build brand awareness, including:
- Publicity and media relations
- Social media
- Events (in-person and digital/virtual)
- Speaker’s bureau
- Influencer relations
- Case studies
- Paid advertising
- Educational/engaging videos
- Digital content hubs
It takes a strong marketing strategy and communicating in different formats across multiple channels to ensure you are reaching and engaging your key target audiences. And while yes, building a brand is complex and requires a strategy and dedication, everything your company does can help elevate a brand, not just the marketing.