In the past, I’m talking BTI (Before the Internet), brands pretty much dictated what they were. People just didn’t have the option to purchase different products. So, there wasn’t a whole lot of options to really become that dominating brand. For example, Coca-Cola had it’s run of the place. There wasn’t TV, Internet, mobile, etc. to really advertise on, so the brand essentially had it’s run of what consumers purchased. If you now fast forward into the present, there are many different options and a slew of different advertising methods and methodologies that a brand can use to really establish itself or a number of ways a brand can destroy itself.
Thus, we as consumers are not only bombarded with brands and messages, but we have hundreds of competitors of each brand trying to gain our attention. If a brand doesn’t make a compelling connection with us, we simply ignore it. We as people have developed filters to simply filter out all of the messages, otherwise our brains would possibly go on overload from just seeing and remembering everything. Your brand has to minimally get their attention. So, what are the steps to developing your brand?
- First off you need to know your target audience. If you were following along from the marketing 101 section, then you know this already. Knowing where, who, what, why, when & how will be the key to planning out your multiple touchpoints (we will discuss this later), brand colors, personalities/archetypes.
- Branding Kit: When you make a brand it is critical that you have one of these. This should be a full file of logos, trademarks, color schemes, etc. (I will go over what should be in a typical branding kit as well).
- Your Brand has to be clear. I’m talking about what it stands for, what it stands for. Don’t write down a million things here. Take a pen and write down some key distinguishing points that your brand truly represents. These what you would consider your core values of your brand. This would have to not only resonate with your target audience, but also everyone in the company. If you can’t make that connection, then you’re really missing the point of your core values.
- Consistency: Your messages have to be 110% consistent. If you find that your messages aren’t consistent, you will get an immediate disconnect from your brand. Why? Have you ever caught someone in a lie? The real reason why you caught them is because something didn’t feel right, which triggered your mind to say “WAIT!! HOLD ON!! There is a gap in logic”. Unless you tell lies professionally, which I’m sure that there aren’t a lot of choices here, lies have gaps in logic. People will recognize those lies you tell about your brand and it will have huge repercussions.
- Proof: Do what you say. People want proof! Every brand makes promises and then they lie. Once that lie’s caught, it’s all over. If you say you provide amazing customer support, you better go beyond just “good customer support”.
- Brand Crisis Situation: You need to have an extremely thorough brand crisis kit. You need to know how to respond to a variety of situations that your brand could be in. This really falls a bit under PR, but since we are talking about your brand here, you need to know exactly what to do in a bad situation. This is when something bad about you is going to go viral or the second you see some bad info about your brand out on the net.
- The Big Connect & Execution: It’s almost amazing that all the above planning can simply, almost mean nothing if it is not executed correctly. Lets face it, with the way information spreads today, a lot of things can go viral very quickly.
- You’re Not What You Say You are: Wait what? Are you serious Alex? Yeah, I’m sure I’ve woken you up. All that planning and strategy, has it gone down the toilet? No, it hasn’t. People determine what your brand is, you can only guide what your brand represents. In reality, it’s your target audience that determines what your brand is. If the public decides that your brand represents “ok customer service”, then that’s what it is. It can also have some depth to this. For example: Not all car dealerships are viewed the same. A Toyota dealership in one area might be amazing, but in another area another dealership might be trash. Thus, we can only guide our brand, but if you don’t have any of the above, then you don’t really have a brand at all.