The Do’s And Don’ts For Building A Successful Brand
It is easy to make business complex these days. There are so many tools at your disposal from automation to optimization. In addition, new media loves to tout the companies who catch lightning in a bottle with viral success. For every one of those, there are dozens of organizations that make progress towards long-term success that never reach the feeds of Digiday or Ad Age. Today we’re going to discuss how they do it by focusing on a set of “do’s” and “don’ts.”
1. Know what you are about and never deviate from it
Ask yourself, “What are we about?” on a monthly basis and make sure you can answer it. Be single-minded. Focused on the one thing that defines you. I love the way IdeaPaint does this. Their mission is turning anything paintable into a dry-erase surface to create on.
2. Be predictable
A large chunk of branding is managing the emotional expectations of the consumer. If people get what they expect you are on track to win. For example, when you buy Oakley, you know you’re getting well designed, high quality goods.
3. Tell the truth
Bill Bernbach said, “I’ve got a great gimmick, let’s tell the truth.” This is a powerful branding strategy and takes a full commitment. The benefit, besides making steps (1) and (2) easier, is developing trust. Trust is what holds up the brand’s name. We have a local restaurant in Greensboro called the Iron Hen. It uses locally grown and organic ingredients. They are also committed to sustainable and slow food practices. This is validated by the great lengths they go to in showing transparency as to which local markets and farms they buy from.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping the branding simple makes it easier to differentiate, position and create an identity that adds value to the story and culture of the company.
Let’s transition from the do’s to the don’ts.
There’s no use in investing in the three elements above just to undo it all by falling into the deadly “D’s” of branding.
The following three thought processes will kill a brand from the inside out. Sure, we talk a lot about the external factors that affect a brand like positioning, focus, promotion, credibility, name, etc. Rarely do we look internally to see why brands live or die.
If your employees don’t believe in the brand’s ability to succeed and win the hearts of consumers, then it won’t. Companies have wasted millions launching brands with doubt present. To hedge this, build products and services that are useful and scratch your own itch. It is hard to doubt something that works for you. Build their belief in the brand and they will build a brand your customers will believe in.
Nothing will drain hope and dreams worse than this. I’m not saying there won’t be times along the way when you feel down. The important thing is that you move on. Go back to the brand story. What unique value does it bring to the customer? Measure your success on progress. Is the brand moving forward? No one said it would always be easy. Remind your team why they are doing what they are doing and encourage them for every victory.
Oh boy! This is a big one. It is a lot less emotionally draining than its cousins, doubt and discouragement, but this “deadly d” is a siren. She lures your company away from doing the work. When brands don’t produce they die on the vine. Stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole and do a hundred meaningless tasks instead of the two or three things that make your brand great.
Avoid letting these “Deadly D’s” of branding take root in your organization. Work hard to keep things simple by knowing your identity, being predictable and staying honest.