How to Develop a Strong Brand
What is a Brand?
It is the answer to the question, “Who are you, as a company?” To develop your brand, you must get crystal clear about your company identity. A brand reflects your personality and character. It is about your passions, goals, and values; and it reflects your company’s culture and attitudes. To develop a strong brand, get clear on who you are, then work the expression of that identity into and across every level of your company. A brand is evident in every facet of a business from employee experience, customer service, to your website. If a client walks into your business, they encounter your brand. When they see an ad, they encounter your brand. A brand reflects the clear, identifiable values of your company. If your brand is strong and consistent in all aspects, your company stands for something that everyone can see.
Disney as a Strong Brand
For instance, Disney’s brand has a playful, whimsical personality. They believe in excellence, family and the pursuit of dreams. And whether it’s a movie experience, Disney cruise, or vacation to Disney World, the customer gets what they expect. Disney delivers their brand promise every time. Because of clear and consistent branding, Disney has become THE name for family fun and adventure. Is there anyone in America who does not know the Disney brand? Go ahead, ask your preschooler what Disney is. Now, go ask your grandmother. Disney is an excellent model for brand development!
For authentic branding, ask these questions about yourself first, because who you are will always be reflected in your company. If you try to make your company personality opposite of yours, you will fail. Your company is an extension of you. After you have answered them for yourself, get clear on what and how your personal identity transfers to your company. The clearer you are, the more specific you are, the stronger you brand will be.
- What are your core values and goals? How are they reflected in your company?
- What are your passions? How are they relevant to your company?
- Why do you do what you do? Your WHY should be a part of your brand message.
- What is your brand personality? If it were a person, who would it be? Is this personality reflected consistently at all levels of your business?
- What is your company culture and atmosphere? Is it easily identifiable to those that encounter your brand?
- What is your brand promise? Is it authentic and easily backed? Is it represented in all communication? Are you consistently delivering on your promise?
- How does your brand look? Consider colors, fonts, images. These should support your company culture, attitudes, and atmosphere. Is the look consistent across all communication and encounters?
- How does your brand sound? Consider the tone of the language, vocabulary, and vernacular. Is the sound consistent across all communication and encounters?
- How does your brand feel? (aggressive, powerful, professional, casual, confident, relaxed, smart, compassionate, etc.) Is the feel consistent across all communication and encounters?
- What are your brand delivery channels? Make sure they align with your brand purpose, values, and personality.
Your brand is the soul of your company. A successful brand is consistent through and through. Your employees must embrace it. It must be at the core of all messaging and customer encounters. It can take some considerable effort to work your brand into every facet of your business. If you do, however, it will offer a huge reward: trust. The value of trust in the marketplace is priceless. When people trust your brand, they become loyal customers, because they can count on you to deliver what you promise. Loyal customers are satisfied, happy consumers who will buy from you again and again, and they will speak highly of your company among their friends. To develop a strong brand, focus your efforts on clarity and consistency. Do not let it slip from front and center, and over time your brand will be well recognized and trusted in the marketplace. It will be well worth it in the end.