The 4 Answers to Create a Brand That’s Here to Stay
If you’ve been around social media in recent years, perhaps you’ve caught one of the simplest ways to define what branding is and how it’s different from marketing.
“Marketing is the equivalent of asking someone on a date. Branding is the reason they say yes.” Ren Jones.
It may be instinctive to think of a brand as a slogan and logo. They are, however, merely the look and feel that represents it at a very superficial level – like clothing on a person. A brand is much deeper than that. A brand is a person’s or company’s reputation. It’s how you or your company are perceived, regardless of reality. A brand goes beyond aesthetics and includes the mission, vision, and purpose of its existence.
Brand building is much more about meaningful connections with customers and the community at large than it is about words or colors on a billboard. It’s about being a constant people can count on, trust, and love.
Building that trust takes time, consistency, a crystal-clear picture of who your brand is serving, and how it’s uniquely positioned to do so.
The foundation for building a strong brand starts by answering these four questions.
Start By Establishing Why
Why does your brand exist or will exist to begin with? As the internationally recognized British author and inspirational speaker, Simon Sinek, famously stated in his Golden Circle Ted Talk: “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
What this means is that the most important basis of any brand is to communicate to the world the why behind their existence. However, that’s often not as easy or straightforward as it seems.
A wellness coach, for example, can state the reason they’re in business is “to help people get fit.” But that’s not likely to garner anyone’s trust or love for their brand. It doesn’t get to the core of why they do what they do.
If, on the other hand, the reason for their brand’s existence is to “empower adults to take control of their health and reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” that’s a “why” people can get behind. It is now a tangible way people can relate to that brand and support it.
Many well-established brands have lost the reason why they went into business in the first place and need to dig deep into what fueled that fire when they began.
Being consistent, not only in communicating that “why” but actually embodying it, is what builds a brand’s solid trust.
Get Clear on Who Your Brand Serves
While it is appealing to think that a product or service could be for everybody, it is not an effective tactic for creating a strong, successful brand.
The most successful brands have successfully identified a very specific customer they serve. An effective way to do it is to build a customer avatar. This is a representation of your brand’s ideal customer. The customer your brand would serve best.
Knowing this ideal customer as intimately as you would the closest member of your family is key. What are their goals? Their struggles? Their fears? Being able to accurately answer these and many other specific questions helps you create a brand that serves them in a way no other brand can.
Communicate What Problem Your Brand Solves
Now that you have identified your ideal customer and answered questions about their struggles and pain points, you can begin to communicate what problems your brand solves. And you can do this in a way that closely and accurately resonates with them.
Helping your ideal customer feel seen and empathizing with their struggles builds a unique and loyal type of bond with your brand.
One of the keys to creating a brand that is successful long-term, is to meet the customer where they’re at in their season of life. It is also important for a brand’s longevity to follow your customer’s journey - grow, evolve, and transform alongside them.
State How Your Brand is Uniquely Positioned to Solve that Problem
Finally, to create a strong, successful brand, answer how it’s uniquely positioned to solve your ideal customer’s problem. What separates your brand from others that claim to solve those same problems?
This is, perhaps, one of the most difficult questions to answer. Many use the features and benefits of what they offer as a way to answer this question. But simply communicating a laundry list of what your customer will get when they buy your product or service is hardly a way to elicit any action on their part.
The features and benefits mean nothing to them without letting them know what problem they will solve. They mean even less if you can’t let them know how they set you apart.
Getting clear on what gives your brand that razor’s edge over your competitors is not only what will create a loyal following and seal the deal with your ideal customer. It’s what will help you create a brand that serves, grows, and outlasts.