Launching a new brand is both exciting and challenging. The excitement comes in the promise of something fresh and new that could be wildly successful, be it for your well established, emerging or new startup company — and the challenge comes in getting it right the first time.
Evaluating, articulating, developing and documenting your new brand’s position and purpose is crucial to building a strong successful brand. It provides the roadmap and rationale to get you out of the starting blocks and heading in the right direction towards your ultimate success. And similar to your business plan, it’s also a key foundation to any successful business, be it product or service.
Getting your branding right, from the beginning, is particularly important when you consider it typically costs far more in the long run to rebrand again in the future, if you do it badly the first time, and that’s assuming you even get a second chance.
To help you move in the right direction with your branding here are some of the elements we typically include in our branding process every time we’re working with a client to help them build their brand, whether it’s revitalizing an existing brand or launching a totally new brand to market. These are actionable points you should reference and evaluate before you launch your new brand — product or service — to market.
Top 10 Tips for Branding Success
1. Evaluate and Develop Your Brand Message
The strongest, most successful brands have a consistent message that encapsulates what the brand stands for, its promise and the expected customer experience. Your brand message should ‘show and tell’ your customers who you are through your brand story, and what defines your company—what you stand for and why you’re different, as well as what they can expect when they interact with your brand. They should be able to experience ‘what your brand stands for’ in a real tangible sense, as part of the brand experience.
Actions speak louder than words, so your brand will only be successful if you give your customers a compelling reason to buy through your brands mission, vision, values, promise and so forth. Your brand values and promise, the reasons ‘why’ you do what you do, must be a fully ‘livable experience’ within everything in your business both internally and externally from a customer perspective.
To use the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.’
Developing a strong foundation for your brand is vital to the planning and execution of your successful brand strategy.
Consider these important points:
- What are the needs or problems of your customers?
- How does your brand fulfill those needs or solve those problems?
- What values and qualities are important to your brand and your primary customer?
- What type of experience do you want associated with your brand?
- How will your brand enhance your primary customer’s life
- Does it make their lives easier?
- How will your brand make your customers feel? What do you want them to feel?
Note: People buy with emotion (regardless of gender) and justify with rational so you need to tap into their emotional needs as much as their rational needs if you want your brand to be successful.
In evaluating these attributes, amongst others, you need to ensure your brand message is clear, authentic, relevant, and unique. We use the Personality Profile Performer™ system to identify, develop and articulate all the key factors mentioned, amongst others.
2. Define Your Brand Vision
How do you want your brand to be seen or perceived? Establishing the distinctive character attributes of your brand, together with how it sees the world and how the world perceives it, will help you launch with a strong consistent brand platform that captures the right audience.
Successful brands have a life of their own in the sense that they’re humanized entities through the personality and characteristics they portray. To be successful you’ll need to develop a clear mental image of what your brand is all about — it’s vision — together with its’ persona or character attributes before your launch.
Whether you’re going for adventurous, reliable, timeless, sophisticated, fun and youthful, or innovative and cutting-edge, create and develop your vision for your brand and incorporate it consistently into all your brand touch points or channels and brand collateral.
3. Get Your Employees Involved
Successful brands start from the inside out. As a well established business, entrepreneur or new startup, you have the opportunity to ensure your entire team is engaged and on board with your brand, prior to the revitalization and re-launch or new introduction to market.
This process is just as important if you are revitalizing an established brand or launching a new brand to market. Your team can provide invaluable insights and the more you involve them in the process the more likely they are to embrace it, take ownership and act as catalysts for change by being early adopters of new cultural behaviours throughout the business. Your brand promise is far more likely to be carried consistently across the customer experience if everyone believes in it and really lives it in everything they do.
4. Research and Develop an Intimate Knowledge of Your Customers
50% plus of marketing spend is misaligned, going to areas that don’t influence the purchasing decisions of top customers (Source: McKinsey&Company). Find out what really matter to your customers.
It’s impossible to target a brand audience if you don’t know who that audience is or what they want. If you want to make your brand compelling you have to know what matters to your customers and the only way to really establish that is to conduct research.
This can include aspects of you customer such as demographics—the age group(s), gender(s), socioeconomics, geographic locations, what they have in common, what motivates them and so forth if preferences are not strictly age related and other relevant categorical factors that help define your ideal customer.
Do some test marketing or research into identifying your target demographics, and then find out what appeals to them—their needs and desires, and the problems your brand can help them solve.
It’s also important to consider developing Buyer Personas or Pen Portraits of your ideal customer to help you shape your branding strategy. The combination of both Buyer Personas and market research or limited test run service or production run (if you’re selling a physical product) can provide you with invaluable insights. These can then help you develop and plan your branding strategy specifically tailored to meet your customers real needs, particularly when you incorporate these customer motivations into your brand collateral and various branding platforms and brand experience.
5. Evaluate, Benchmark and Rate Your Competition
A brand audit or market research prior to re-launching or launching a new brand is critical not just for your target audience, but also for your competitors. You need to know what type of competition you’re facing in your intended market, and find out what they do well and where they may be lacking. Their weaknesses are your opportunities, potentially providing you with gaps in the market that you can leverage to your advantage.
Once you’ve identified your competitors’ weak points or areas of poor customer satisfaction, you may be able to build a brand niche on fulfilling those unmet needs for your customers. The ability to differentiate from the competition, be that perceived or actual, is key to a thriving and successful brand. By carrying out a comprehensive competitive analysis and brand audit of your market sector, you can build differentiation into your brand from the start.
6. Review Your Brand Concept for Usefulness
Some new companies make the mistake of launching a brand based on hype, touting their products as “new and different” or relying on surface factors (such as beautiful packaging or a stunning logo) in order to capitalize on the brand. However, if the actual products or services are not high quality and really enhancing the lives of their customers in a way that tangibly matters to them, the brand will fail.
The best brands fulfill a customer need or desire, or solve problems that other brands don’t. There are many forms this fulfillment can take, whether it’s true innovation, a new twist on an existing line, or even perceived value that is higher than the competition—but the core quality must be there for any of these strategies to succeed. This is where audience targeting can be crucial, as it can take some time to identify the right demographics for your brand to serve.
7. Design a Distinctive Brand Identity
Truthfully, obtaining perfection is an impossible goal—but your brand logo should be as close to perfect as you can get when you launch a new brand. Your brand logo design is the central identifier or visual component of any brand, and a great logo can be a powerful tool for success. Think of iconic brand logos that are instantly recognizable: the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches, the Olympic rings, the Mercedes-Benz three-point star or Virgin. All of these logos help convey the values and qualities of the brands they stand for, and foster brand visibility and loyalty.
Image via www.virgin.com
Take the time to create a brand logo that is unique, clean and strong, and succinctly expresses your brand, and what it stands for, at a glance. When used consistently, a compelling and recognizable brand logo will support the drive for brand success.
8. Let Your Passions Shine
Whether you’re a long established business launching a new brand, a seasoned entrepreneur or an uninitiated start-up you are uniquely positioned to infuse your new brand with the passion that led to the launch of your business.
All of the enthusiasm and excitement that went into creating your company should be poured into your brand development and messaging with the same passion. This will enable you to build an authentic brand that connects with your customers and evokes emotion—which in turn fosters loyalty, repeat purchase and referral for brand success.
9. Develop and Commit to Your Brand Promise—and Never Break it
Every successful brand comes with a promise to its customers. For example, Johnson & Johnson baby products makes a promise to parents that the brand will care for their baby’s sensitive skin like no other. Domino’s Pizza promises that its customers will have their orders delivered in 30 minutes or less—and reinforces that promise with a money-back guarantee.
What will your brand promise your customers? It is essential to not only define your brand promise, but to keep it every time, with every customer interaction. Brands that break their promises quickly fall out of favour and struggle to stay afloat in the market.
10. Maintain Your Brand Consistency
Finally, successful brands are unfailingly consistent—across every customer channel, every brand touch point, and every piece of brand collateral. Brand consistency means infusing every aspect of your brand, from packaging to marketing to in-store, customer facing staff or online experiences, with the values and promise your brand stands for.
It’s about far more than maintaining your corporate colours in your marketing material (although that aspect is also absolutely essential too and the reason Brand Style Guides are created). Being consistent should extend throughout your brand presentation, communication, and customer service. Creating a single impression for your brand from the beginning enables you to quickly increase visibility and recognition, and develop a loyal customer base who will spread your brand message for you.
Strong, engaging, and consistent branding is the critical foundation that supports all of your marketing activities, and drives the success for your company. Use a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ to get a great started with a well-defined brand that meets the needs of your target audience and outshines your competition, and you’ll enjoy a long and successful branding experience.
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So, what do you think?
• What excites you about launching a new brand? What are the challenges you believe you’ll face for your new brand?
• How well do you understand the requirements of your new brand messaging?
• Who is your ideal customer? What are the specific demographics of your target audience?
• How will your new brand differentiate from the competition?
• Does your brand offer the right quality and value to your customers for its positioning? How can you tie that offering to your target audience?
• Have you expressed your brands’ passions through your brand strategy? How will you capitalize on this?
• What is your brand promise, and how will you maintain it consistently across all of your brand touch points?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!