When it comes to building a brand, there are many considerations, but there are 3 that I would suggest should be at the forefront of your brand building activities.
Differentiated positioning involves your branding standing apart from the competition.
Your brand should represent unique meaning from the point of view of customers.
Think about some of your favourite brands, what simple meaning do they represent to you? Volvo represents safety to me, Apple represents innovation.
Positioning is also about where you position your brand in the marketing, are you a specialist, a generalist, are you a premium brand or a value driven brand?
No two brands can successfully hold the same market position, the first in that space will usually be the winner.
Look to disrupt and challenge the status quo, by shaking things up and approaching the market from a unique and refreshing direction. Think about how Netflix have changed the landscape of the video rental business into the streaming services we now see. What would look different in your space?
Play to your brands unique qualities and strengths. What has your brand got to offer that will allow you to stand apart from the competition?
Provide value to customers
The fundamental requirement of any brand is for it to provide value to its customers.
If there is no benefit for the customer in interacting with your brand, why are they going to bother? They just aren’t going to, life is too short to waste time on brands that don’t benefit anyone.
Provide a valuable solution that addresses customers wants and needs.
Make sure your solution fits your brands strengths, talents and skill-set.
Try to ensure your brand is focused on a specific part of the market. It’s often better to focus narrow and deep, rather than shallow and wide in terms of market coverage. Leave the mass market to the big boys who have a big enough budget to reach them.
Brands should attempt to connect emotionally with customers, because emotions and not reasoning or logic, are what connect people to people and people to brands.
To matter to customers your brand has to provide value on a regular basis, so that if you go away, they will miss you.
What do customers want or need that your brand can provide a valuable solution for?
Effective communication; perception control
Value offering and differentiation are no good if you aren’t able to communicate them effectively to customers or prospective customers.
Brand building orientated marketing is required to tell your story to customers so that they get what you’re brand is about. Speak to your target customers in a language only they will understand. It’s okay if your communication goes over the heads of non-targeted people.
Be inspiring to customers, provide them with hope; show them that whatever they are wanting to achieve, can be done, and they can do it with your help.
If possible connect to a bigger cause – be part of it, together. Play to customers aspirations. Romanticise a calling – “I’m a photographer” changes to “I help celebrate family – happy families make for happy communities.”
Ask yourself “What does the market think of us? Is this as intended?” If there is a disconnect between the two, revise your brand communications.