This is Part II of II in a very mini branding bootcamp I’ve put together. Whether you’ve already built your brand and are looking to reposition it, or you’re just starting out, I believe the steps I’ve included here are essential to building and maintaining a strong brand.
Maintaining a Strong Brand
Yesterday I wrote about building a brand pyramid and included several pieces that make up your brand including attributes, positioning, voice and brand essence. Today I’m going to talk about tips you can use to ensure that you’re Maintaining a Strong Brand: once you’ve established what your brand is all about, the game begins.
What you have to do for your brand on an ongoing basis
1. Sell great stuff your customers want
If you start creating products or offering services that your audience does not want, then you’re not going to go very far. Your brand has to represent value to your audience; if you are not able to provide them something of value, then you’re not going to be building a strong brand in the eyes of your audience.
2. Envelop customers with excellent service
No one wants to be treated poorly. Treat every single customer like they’re your only customer and they will not forget it. Excellent service is a prime trigger that every brand should strive to be remembered by.
3. Build and steward strong relationships
Creating a connection between you and your customers is a very important step to making your brand “sticky”. When you open up and start to build relationships with your customers, they’ll start to associate feelings of “like” and “trust” with your brand, ensuring that your company is top-of-mind next time someone brings up a need for a product or service you provide.
4. Demonstrate adherence to core values
The core values that you establish for your brand should be ones you and your employees are living every single day. Break your core values, and risk losing all trust with those customers who demand the best from your brand.
What marketing can help with along the way
Surprise! You don’t have to do ALL the work yourself to maintain a strong brand. Marketing can help – if done the right way.
5. Find the why
- Why should people turn to you instead of your competitors?
- What are you offering them that they can’t find anywhere else?
- What is your unique selling proposition, and how can you express that through your logo, tagline or other marketing materials?
Your brand has to represent all of these things, and marketing can help. Once you’ve established the “why”, then build your marketing campaigns around that idea or theme.
6. Make a promise
Marketing gives you the ability to make a promise through your campaigns (in your tagline, or theme line), and once it’s out in the world via online advertisements or print media buys, you then have the opportunity to fulfill that promise.
Apple Computers uses the tagline “Think Different”, and with every new release or new gadget they come out with, they’re evoking the spirit of “Think Different”.
They’ve made a promise, and they continue to deliver on it every time they come out with something new.
7. Be consistent
You have to build trust (and with trust comes loyalty) with your audience, and the only way you’re going to be able to fully succeed at doing this is by being consistent.
Your actions are a direct reflection of your brand.
When you check the box for 2-day delivery through Amazon, you trust that you’re going to get your order in 2 days. When people trust that your company will do what they say they will do, then they will be loyal to your brand.
The marketplace is in full control of your brand.
You can follow every single step here and have your brand pyramid mapped out from Part I of this mini bootcamp and you’re just feeling all great and stuff with this Part II… If the marketplace (your audience, customers, whoever interacts with your brand) doesn’t believe that your brand stands for what you say it stands for, they’re in control.
If this is happening – the marketplace doesn’t believe your brand is what you say it is – then something is wrong. Either you’re making promises or building attributes that are not true, or something is wrong with the processes you have in place and that is causing your promises to not come through.
You should constantly be re-evaluating your brand through interactions with your audience and your customers. If something isn’t working, then refocus and find ways to fix it or make it better.
This is not a one-and-done type of exercise. As stated in Part I of this mini series, I’m very passionate about branding, and a brand is not something you can create and just throw up on your website in the form of a logo and theme line.
Your brand takes work, and your brand is affected by everything you do in your business, every single day.
Be smart about how you treat your brand, and don’t forget to listen to your audience. Once you get that feedback, you should be jumping right back into the cycle of improving upon the things that need work.
I hope these tips have helped you discover new ways that you can maintain a strong brand. I’m very tempted to add a part III to this series about creating your brand story… It won’t be tomorrow, but stay tuned in the coming days!