It seems like these days everyone wants to do a ‘brand build’ and thanks to the impact of social media, they pretty much can. For the sake of clarity, a ‘brand build’ is the entire process that a person or company goes through when branding themselves. A ‘brand build’ is not only the start-to-finish process, but also the take-home-package of the all the work involved. It’s what you go through, and also what you get.
Now that you know what one is, let’s talk about why only some of them seem to be a success. It is essentially only this: succinctness, consistency, and passion. Lets elaborate using 6 key elements.
1. Know who you “are” and who you “aren’t”
Brand development starts and ends here. Everything else is just details. If you want to be a ‘Brand Build’ expert – at least for your own brand – answer these questions as succinctly as you can… and write down your answers as well. That way they not only serve as a reminder for yourself, they are also something you can share with your employees.
Think about it this way, if your employees really get who you are… and also who you are not, then they can better communicate that message – even abstractly in day-to-day conversations with your customers. Ready for your first ‘Brand Build’ assignment? Grab your pen and get going!
- Who are you as an individual? As a company?
- What do you stand for?
- What do you do? And finally,
- Why do you do it?
Answer these truthfully and remember them. In building the foundation for a brand, it is crucial to stay true to who you are. Why? So that you don’t fall into who you are not. It also helps to pick key traits that define your company deeper.
Often times a company starts up and is too focused on what their competitor is doing, so they slowly start copying them to keep up with what they believe the demand to be.
The key to selling your product is by inventing the need for it, not by copying what works for someone else. Discover who you are and own that to the very core. Remember that there will always be things that work for other people, don’t do them just because you can.
Own what you do, and be the best at it. If you walk into Coffee Bean and ask for a “Venti” they will correct you, because they are not Starbucks and they won’t pretend to be for the sake of a sale. Stay true to yourself.
2. Find your demographic
If you’re just starting out, pick a demographic that you want to cater to. This will likely expand later on, but it’s easier to start small and then grow from there.
For example, Facebook started with a small group of college students and then expanded exponentially. This is called “Network Effects.” Value in Facebook only existed if your friends were on the site, which means it had to initially be valuable to that first group of users. The same goes for your brand.
Start with your core demographic and give them something of value, then build from there. It is better to dream big, but start small, and work out all the kinks along the way before hitting the masses.
What does your brand guarantee me?
3. Decide what you do and do it well
This is key. Apple did a fantastic brand build from design to customer service but even that would not be enough if they didn’t have a good product.
Pick what outcomes your client can expect from your brand, and then deliver those results consistently.Decide what it is that you do and do it well.
You can do absolutely anything you want in this world, but if you aren’t sure what exactly your brand delivers, it will never deliver it, and that is unsustainable.
4. Love what you do
Don’t try to cultivate a brand on a topic or lifestyle that you don’t truly love. In other words don’t do it just because there is potential revenue gain in it. You can make money from anything; why waste your time on something that you aren’t passionate about?
In addition to that, passion sells. We are emotional beings, so we connect to emotion; love in specific. When you see that spark in someone’s eye, you are naturally more drawn to that brand, and are more likely to support it. And no, you can’t fake true love.
5. Create a badge
Every brand has a story, and although you may think you are only buying their products, you are actually buying their story as well. The story of a brand then becomes a badge on its consumers.
- If you have an iPhone it tells me that you are into technology yes, but tech that is fashionable; that is, you like to be up-to-date, but also cool.
- If you wear TOMS shoes, it tells me you are socially conscious.
- If you wear NIKE, it tells me you want to be fit and look good doing it.
- If you drive a BMW, it tells me you enjoy luxury as well as quality.
Your story will translate into the badge that your customers represent when they support your brand. What do you want yours to say? A good way to design a positive badge during your brand build is by making an encouraging social impact, which can be done in numerous ways.
Do you want to donate money to a cause you support? Or post a weekly blog about a powerful movement you believe in? Maybe your impact is through excellent customer service; or designing innovative technology to move humanity forward. Whatever you decide, align it with who you are and repeat it often throughout your build. Choose something that you are passionate about, but also benefits other people and then publicize your story so that it becomes a great badge.
6. Get social – and not just your brand – You
You and your brand should not be thought of as separate entities, you go hand-in-hand. You don’t think of Mark Zuckerberg without thinking of Facebook and you don’t think of Elon Musk without thinking Tesla or SpaceX.
So tell your story often; wherever you go and to everyone you meet. Why? Because your brand is never what you think it is. Your brand is always what others think it is. So make sure you keep them up-to-date and in the loop about both your core beliefs and your cool happenings. If it is a natural extension, this will be easier to do.
Come up with some key words and throw together an elevator pitch that sums up your brand quickly and effectively. People are intrinsically drawn to things being done in the world. They will be curious.They will check it out. And they will talk about it. Just make sure you have something of value ready before you spread it like wildfire. You don’t want to miss your peak.
Brand build: The takeaway
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to stay genuine to yourself and always own your truth. No one can guarantee what will work for you, they only know what worked for them; but there are common key elements in building a foundation like the ones listed above. Good luck!