Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a brand?, part of Branding Foundations.
- Are you a trustworthy person? Who says so? Okay, so you have friends and colleagues that say you're trustworthy, but why do these people say so? I'm willing to bet it's because you told them you were going to do something, and you did, over and over. You made, and kept, your promises. And because of that, you now have a brand reputation as someone people can count on. You may not have realized it, but you've understood the basics of branding all along.
Simply put, a brand is a promise. It's a promise you make to consumers when they do business with you. Now that definition may surprise you because most people think of a brand as a logo or a product's name. It's neither. Let's do an experiment. I'm going to show you just two lines on the screen, and when you see them, I want you to say the first word that comes to mind. Ready? Now if you're like most people, these two curved lines reminded you of the golden arches of McDonald's.
Even people who don't go to McDonald's will instantly associate this logo with the company. How can just two hand-drawn lines, that aren't even the right color, by the way, cause you to recall a global billion-dollar fast food chain? Let's take the experiment one more step. Close your eyes and think about a McDonald's restaurant. Can you just taste those marvelous french fries? Can you see a Big Mac and other food items? Do you sense what's going on inside the restaurant, with all the families, the parents playing with their kids, enjoying the time together? This is McDonald's brand promise, those emotional feelings and cravings that are triggered when you think about McDonald's.
The brand logo and the brand name are not the brand itself. Rather, they are the visual cues to trigger that locus of emotions that the brand promises you. Let me share with you Four Keys to Building Successful Brands. First, your brand must be authentic, in that it's truly tied to who you are as a company, meaning your values and core purpose. If these aren't tightly linked, your promise is less believable. Your brand must be relevant, meaning that it promises something that's important to consumers, and that they perceive your brand delivering that promise better than the competition.
You must keep your brand promise consistent across every touchpoint you have with your customers. Why do people see you as trustworthy? Because you're consistent. It's the same for brands. If you lack consistency, you won't build true loyalty. And finally, you and your organization must have a total commitment to keeping the brand promise. Your leadership and all of your employees, the ones who deliver your brand experience to consumers, must live the brand, support it, and continue to invest in it.
If you're working to create a brand, start by thinking of the brand promise. What experience do you want your customers to have when they encounter your brand? As you think about the brands you currently work with, ask yourself, is the promise you're making the right one? Because once you make a promise, you gotta keep it.
- Identifying your core values and drivers
- Linking your business model to the brand
- Identifying customers
- Developing your brand promise
- Expressing brand identity
- Creating a brand book
- Expressing brand in social channels, through advertising, and in packaging
- Measuring brand performance