What are the keys to building and maintaining a successful brand?
Branding is everything. Branding is everything for businesses and individuals. Where would McDonalds be without the golden arches? Nike without the swoosh? What about Trump without his towers? Virgin without Richard Branson, or Berkshire Hathaway without Warren Buffett?
Every individual and business has a brand. Some intentionally choose their brands. Others let the market and consumers make up their own impression of the brand. Some craft amazingly popular and profitable brands. Others not so much.
Branding is critical. It determines who and how many people will do business with you, access to capital, growth potential, who will work for you, and the value people put on your product or service. It’s make or break. So, how can we build, grow, and maintain great brands?
Choosing Your Brand Identity
Even if you already have a brand that’s been around for a while, it can always be adjusted and revamped. Most are in an incredible rush when they head into a new venture, and often don’t give enough thought to their brand. Take this time now to choose a great brand.
Key thoughts in crafting a winning brand include; what your values are, who your best customers are, what your unique advantages are, and how you want to be compared on the field. Know these answers, and blend them together to define your brand. What does your brand stand for? What does it do?
Basic Branding Materials
To bring your brand to life you’ll need some basic collateral, including:
- A brand name
- Tag line or slogan
- Website address
- Social media profiles
Additional items might include; business cards, custom toll free numbers, specific filter settings for social media posts, etc.
Make sure you put thought into these things and that you can get all of these aligned before rushing ahead. For example; you don’t want to create logos and a website, only to find our your desired business name is already taken.
Most of these items are very inexpensive to setup today. In fact, between DIY options and outsourced marketing contractors they’ve never been cheaper or easier to get done.
A style guide can be a very valuable investment. This is a document which basically lays out your brand design. It helps you visualize the brand, ensure everything is done to match the brand and creates a cohesive visual message. It can be used in-house and given to outside marketers to ensure synergy among all future branding and marketing efforts.
It may include specifics for; fonts, font sizes, colors, ratio of logo to other features, exact words to use, or not use, and the ethos of the brand and what it should and shouldn’t align with.
Businesses, solo entrepreneurs, and real estate investors all face a multitude of decisions on a regular basis. Often, they must empower others to make many of these decisions to keep things moving too. This can create chaos for a brand, unless everyone is on the same page.
A great way to master this is literally with one page. Consider creating a one page document which brings together your vision, mission, goals, and brand identity. It should give everyone clarity on what your brand is, and where it is going. One glance at this sheet should empower you, and your teams to make the right decisions on almost everything, without lengthy debates, meetings, or losing time. They should be able to look at it and ask if X or Y is going to take you closer to the goals while staying in alignment with the brand, or not. Yes, or no, boom, done, move on.
Ensure Everything Lines Up
The decision guide sheet can then be used to ensure everything else lines up, while enabling CEOs to delegate with confidence. Decision makers should be able to quickly and easily make sure new hires, strategic business partnerships, expenditures, processes, and products all line up with the vision for the brand.
Savvy executives are just as invested in maintaining a good brand as creating one. That may call for annual reviews and tweaking the above elements. It may mean requesting reviews from a coach or conducting online surveys. It certainly means staying proactive about online reputation management. For example; consistently publishing positive content and curating positive reviews.
Brand Visibility & Growth
You can’t just expect your brand (no matter how amazing it is) to just take off on its own. Or stay at the top. You’ve got to have a plan for consistently raising and maintaining visibility. Win here by creating a budget specifically for branding. In contrast with purely lead generating ads, this may consist of billboards, Google CPM marketing, and magazine advertorials.