Branding is a major component of business development, and it can be the difference between success and failure in terms of brand recognition and consideration, as well as product sales. A brand is defined as “the feelings people have about your organization, products or services.” Branding is so important because, without a consistent, coherent, and recognizable image and message, companies and products will find themselves lost in a sea of other companies and products with no real, unique feelings connected to their real, unique services. With that in mind, here are 5 timeless best practices for cultivating a successful brand in 2018 and beyond.
1. Be recognizable
How people feel about a brand is often backed by visuals. Every choice about how a company presents itself to the public in terms of logos, website design, advertisements, etc. should be strategic, unique to your company, and eye-catching, and a successful brand should be able to positively answer a few key questions. Will people be able to recognize our logo from memory? Do our colors and design choices say something about us? Does our website look like our advertising look like our social media? Every brand should tell a story, and the visual aspects of branding are important to create a cohesive and recognizable narrative.
2. Be clear about why you’re here
Knowing your own mission, values, and vision and goals for your company is important in articulating that same information to people. These aspects of your company drive who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. And they should also drive your messaging and your voice to consumers. Without this internal clarity, people on the outside will not understand your company at its core, and being able to empathize with a company affects how people feel about it.
3. Be authentic
Once a company is clear about their mission and vision and has crafted a strategy to make this part of their message, it has to consider the voice it wants to use to deliver that message to consumers. Have an authentic voice is incredibly important in building a brand story and cultivating consumer loyalty. Authenticity is a voice that reflects a company’s mission, including company transparency and actions that support the voice and message the company is sending to their audience.
4. Be coherent
Being coherent means being consistent and relevant all of the time across all of the platforms. Your visuals and your messaging shouldn’t stop on your website. All social media sites, all advertising efforts, all owned and paid media should include your visual brand and should be recognizable by your voice. Branding is a cross-platform effort that should be considered in marketing plans, social media plans, public relations plans, advertising plans, and other strategic communications plans. Every time a company makes a decision about anything, it should ask: Is this on brand? Does this align with the messages we’re sending?
5. Be fresh and be personal
Everything about a brand comes back to strategy, and strategy always comes back to a company’s target market. Creating a brand that is reaching the right people involves using messaging and visuals that are appealing and relatable to a company’s target market. Without brand differentiation from company to company, no consumer would form special and personal connections in the same way that they do when a company’s message aligns with their own beliefs. All branding driven by a company should be thoughtful to its target consumers and driven by fresh content based on what their target finds appealing and approachable. Each company has a different audience, and their content and branding should reflect the fresh perspectives of each.