AVOID A BLAND BRAND
Let’s face it; no one enjoys food that is boring and flavorless. The same goes for brands. Much like food, brand identity should connect to the basic needs of your customers. If you want to create a brand that leaves a great taste in the minds of your consumers, you must start with the right ingredients. Below are seven key steps to creating a brand identity that will keep your target audience coming back for more.
1. Use creativity to stay innovative and fresh. No one likes to eat food that has gone way past the expiration date. It is important to stay current and up-to-date. Find ways to enhance your product/service on a regular basis. These enhancements should directly benefit your consumers and help create a higher level of brand loyalty.
2. Research your target audience well. Understanding the needs and desires of your target audience is essential. When you thoroughly understand their "taste", you are better able to serve items that appeal to their "taste buds" - items that excite them and keep them interested in your brand.
3. Create a look and feel. Every business (even restaurants) should have basic, corporate items that help to establish a visual aid for consumers. Logos, corporate color(s), supporting graphics, and corporate guidelines all work together to create a memorable brand in the minds of consumers. Over time, these elements will allow you to develop immediate brand recognition with your target audience.
4. Develop a flexible plan. Restaurants spend a great deal of time establishing and modifying their menu, because they know that it could make or break their company. Same is true of a marketing plan for businesses. It must be designed with your consumer in mind. Your market research and deep understanding of your target audience will assist you in creating a plan that will lead to the success of your brand. It is important to leave room for flexibility in the event that you need to "modify your menu."
5. Manage messaging. Once your look and feel is established, it will be easier to manage your brand. Just like a restaurant educates servers and hostesses on various menu items, your company must educate employees on brand guidelines and expectations. Everyone involved with your brand should have a good understanding of your mission and core beliefs in hopes to minimize any possible branding blunders. The mission and core beliefs should be reflected in everything associated with your brand. If your messaging is consistent and mindful of your target audience, it will help to strengthen your brand.
6. Always deliver on your brand promise. In order to ensure brand loyalty, it is critical that you commit to your core mission and beliefs. If you promise quality, you must deliver quality. If you promise originality, you must deliver originality. No one wants to see a plate of fish and chips, when they ordered the steak and potatoes. Be a company of your word!
7. Present quality. In other words: Don't get sloppy! Make sure your brand looks good, sounds good, and tastes good in the minds of your consumer. Show them that you truly believe in your product/service and that you are willing to go to great lengths to deliver on your brand promise.
"“Authentic brands don't emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does...” - Howard Schultz
There are many things that can be done to help build your brand, however there are also several common mistakes that can be made that will ultimately demolish your brand. Avoid these five, common brand blunders that could potentially sabotage your brand.
1. Lack of Planning
Great branding does not happen by chance. It takes time and effort. If you do not plan for success, you cannot expect it. Constructing a thorough marketing plan is essential when building a brand. It becomes much easier to prevent common branding errors when you create a comprehensible plan for your brand.
2. Lack of Brand Identity
Brand identity is imperative when establishing your company. Your brand allows the public to clearly identify your company. There should be basic brand identity guidelines for your company that help to maintain a consistent message to your target audience. Mission statements, visions, logos, corporate colors, and brand values are all brand identity components that help to build a strong brand.
3. Lack of Consistency
It is critical that your messaging remain clear and consistent. Sending mix messages to your consumers will prevent you from establishing trust and brand loyalty. After establishing your brand identity and developing a marketing plan, be sure to make marketing decisions in accordance with those guidelines. After all, what is the point of creating a plan if you don’t use it? Stick to the plan!
4. Lack of Commitment
The reputation of your brand is very important and can be severely damaged if your company does not deliver on its commitment to consumers. The brand promise needs clearly communicated both externally and internally. Everyone within the company should be trained to deliver on the brand’s promise, which will allow the company to establish lasting relationships with consumers.
5. Lack of Innovation
Be sure not to become the clone of another brand. Stir clear of mimicking the advertising efforts of other brands. Use your own creativity to create your own unique, marketing plan. It may be difficult at first, but it will pay off in the end.