I was out at a mall yesterday, waiting for my usually late friend. I was already in the premise, feeling the cool and perfumed air whizzing around me, sending me to my natural state of reverie. As an entrepreneur, my mind is always bubbling with ideas and in a mall, all I could think of was:
If I were a brand manager for my client, how would I do it?
My eyes shifted automatically to the shiny, glassy doors of Starbucks; you know, the place filled with elite youngsters sipping on their coffee and typing recklessly on their laptops. The green mermaid stared back at me, smiling, just the way my friend did when he finally reached. It got me thinking, what are the top five tips for successful branding? I had an insightful conversation about this with my friend that evening and came up with a few guiding mantras for my fellow entrepreneurs:
1) Discover and tell your story: It is a very important step in order to create your brand. Your brand name should tell a story, your story. It can include the way the company was created, the inspiration behind a certain colour, logo used or even what the company stands for. The best example I can think of right now is of Nike, the famous multinational corporation engaged in footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services. Nike has been using the ‘Swoosh’(logo) and ‘Just Do It’ slogan everywhere. The reason the brand is named ‘Nike’ is in honour of the Greek goddess of victory Nike and the ‘Swoosh’ represents her wing. Hence, having your story and telling it in different and unique voices is important.
2) Emotional Appeal persuades Everyone! : First of all, without thorough research, you can’t do anything, hence thorough research about your customers is necessary. You need to understand the psychology of your client and the rationale behind their loyalty. You need to understand what they think about your brand and your engagement and use that as a launching pad. That is why, bless your RnD team, they are the ones who can collect information and give you inputs as to what works and what does not. Remember how Coca-cola came up with the campaign #ShareaCoke where they manufactured coke bottles with most popular Australian names on the cover and how ingenious was it?! Playing with emotions can be tricky but when you hit the right chord, it can work wonders.
3) Give it a voice: Think of a brand as your voice and behaviour. How would its tone be? How would its gestures be? How slowly or how rapidly would you speak or how soft or loud behaviour be? No matter what, having a voice is important. A brand should convey a state of mind, as a brand is nothing but ‘state of mind’, it needs to have a personality. Therefore, while defining a brand personality, you should assign some human personality traits so as to allow differentiation and variety. For example, the brand Dove shows that it is honest, feminist and optimistic.
4) Authenticity is the way: The most important component of successful communication is authenticity. Authenticity means the quality of being genuine and honest. You need to make sure that your brand isn’t a copy of some other established brand and your whole existence is plagiarised. Also, make sure that your company’s work culture and your intentions are aligned because when potential customers want to network with your business; their needs ought to be met. Branding is an imperfect science and it has no written down recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with your own customised branding solutions.
5) Consistency is the key: The reason why this is the last point is because I want you readers to understand the importance of consistency, not just in business but life in general. People prefer consistency over perfection because perfection is a myth. Consistency allows you room for improving yourself each day and bettering your content every day. With consistent communication that renders your company, your image will stand the test of time.
Brand building can either be a boring, monotonous chore or an exciting successful adventure. The key to successful branding is always planning. It’s hard to change perspectives about a brand, especially once when your brand has reached certain heights. Therefore, I suggest investing in proper research and having a clear idea of what you want to project in the public so that it snowballs into an identity that customers love and turn loyal to you. Wishing you all the success!