Building an impactful brand - six tips

Branding a business has never been such diverse and treacherous task, and yet the tools to create and develop your own brand have never been so accessible to the masses. The same can be said for the public’s opinion and ability to alter the wider perception of a brand. Comments, likes, tags, reviews, swipes - never has offering your thoughts and experiences relating to a brand been so easy as in the ever changing digital landscape that now exists.

But with so many options, outputs, and daily interactions, how do you even begin to create, build and evolve your own brand for your business? Whilst there are no quick fix solutions to promise a successful brand, we have found the following points to prove a useful guide for reference when building a brand, be it from scratch, or long term development.

1. Communicate the real value you add to a customer’s life.

Create something that reflects the outcome people need instead of your own vision of what you think they need. The fact your partner doesn’t like purple, or script typefaces, is irrelevant if the visual outcome is right and effectively communicates your message to your audience.

2. Don’t mistake consistency for impact or effectiveness.

Far too often businesses believe that by keeping things consistent, they are building a stronger brand. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s a good best practice to keep things consistent, where appropriate and possible. But brands at their core aren’t about typefaces, colours, or whether every image used matches a house style. The purpose of a brand is to communicate, in its purest essence, your organisation’s raison d'etre. Don’t be trapped by dogma, and keep things consistent at the sacrifice of effective communication. The  key is to ensure you’re always striving to effectively communicate your values and evoking emotion where appropriate, this will build lasting connections with your audience who truly understand your values.

3. Better to be someone’s cup of tea…

To be effective, every organisation must have a clear sense of purpose. Too often we see companies try to cast their net too wide, aiming to be all things to all men. Instead, we always aim to establish a clear audience and communicate directly to them, above all else. As companies become more established over time, they become more confident in subscribing to this mantra. Is this because they acknowledge their truly valued customers, and are at a sustainable level of business to take the risk of alienation?

Perhaps. Ultimately, building a brand, and business for that matter, is about building relationships; it’s impossible to have chemistry with everyone who’s path you cross, and in watering down your message by trying to appeal to the masses, you risk losing those clients who you really might value over a business’s lifetime.

4. Authenticity is key.

In the modern age with the growing prevalence of social media authenticity is key. People value transparency in a brand, it helps to build trust. The days of deception through false claims and big marketing budgets are long gone.

From the moment you answer the phone, or enter that first meeting, your tone, your shirt, your eye contact. Branding is not simply about visuals, or empty promises, it’s about the core essence of a company. If your service doesn’t reflect the brand visuals you’ve pain-stakingly crafted or commissioned, then you’re wasting your time. Where’s the real truth? That’s what sews the seed for a great brand. Otherwise it just becomes about subjective personal taste. Putting a good face on a questionable offer will not bring you the growth and connections you desire. Start with the basics, a little can go a long way.

5. Don’t be blinded by professionalism.

Understanding how to speak to your audience in a relevant way is key to cutting through noise and creating memorable connections with your customers. Much like advertising, the way in which you communicate through language to your customers will decide whether people engage with your brand or not. Use of corporate fluff and overly complex communications doesn’t do anyone any favors. Time is short, and so are your audience’s attention spans. Tell them a truth you want them to know, and in a tone of voice that will resonate with them. Don’t be trapped by the allure of professionalism. People will engage on a far more long term level if they believe in your values, and feel you understand them, and their complex needs. The first step in demonstrating this, is using the right words.

6. Don’t mistake familiarity for a successful brand.

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to brands, imitation is not the best form of flattery. Far too often we have clients come to us who want to their brand to feel like this one, or replicate the aesthetics of that competitor. Branding is about showing the real value you bring to the table, if you’re imitating someone else’s organisation, you’re not communicating anything of truth or relevance to your service or product. The best brands are often unexpected, and proudly different.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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