As competitors multiply and communication channels continue to be oversaturated with message clutter, the need for effective branding has become more important than ever and will only become increasingly critical in the future. Your company isn't like every other. It's unique and special, and your consumers should be aware of this. As stated by David Brier in a recent article in Fast Company, 9 Steps To Building A Brand That Breaks Through The Noise, 'every business owner and CEO has the right to a superior brand. One that's meaningful. Powerful. Long-lasting. Inspiring. And effective.'
At the same time though, effective branding has come to be more of a challenge in the wake of the Digital Revolution, which has created new channels of communication and is constantly cranking out new ones. The challenges posed by evolving technology also give life to opportunities that marketers of the past could have never dreamed of. Brands now have the ability to interact with consumers and build connections through engaging social promotion and online communities.
The real challenge in branding lies in using available resources in a way that makes sense but even more importantly, inspires and interests your audience. While it's up to you how you do it, Brier offers some useful insight into some things to keep in mind when attempting to bring your brand through the clutter and give it the recognition it deserves.
So what's rule number one? Break the rules. Brier points out that no one ever rises above the status quo without pushing the boundaries. 'By breaking those rules with insight, intelligent and innovation, [brands] get heard in a world that's simply too busy to listen.'
Again, the focus should be on effective branding. Brier warns that focusing on what's most efficient often provides results that aren't effective, and efforts are wasted on a half-baked attempt. Be thorough. Be effective.
'Social media isn't a brand strategy.' And it never will be. Social media outlets are channels that if used correctly, can be an effective way to get your brand's message out and connect with your consumers. Be engaging. This is your chance to create an experience for your consumers that can be instantly shared via digital word-of-mouth. But when creating your social content, keep in mind that 'while it's important for a brand to develop something to say, it's more important to create something that will be heard.'
Branding sets up a certain expectation of quality. Be sure to deliver on the promises you make with your brand messages. While branding can distinguish two otherwise identical products, real brand loyalty derives from consumers feeling that the brand meets their high expectations.
In regard to this, remember that people aren't passionate about the ordinary, so be extraordinary, both in who your brand is and what it stands for. Be creative and different in your branding, and don't limit this mindset to the creation of your brand message. Apply it to the way you present your message as well, including the channels you choose and how you engage your audience. A recent survey by Adweek reveals that 73% of the subscribers who responded believe that inspiration and engagement take precedence over consistency when it comes to brand message developement (Data Point: Making the Brand Inforgraphic).
Brands hold amazing power. They evoke feelings and memories and give a personality to your company to which your consumers can relate. Develop your brand to be one that represents the quality you believe to be behind it, and effectively convey that message to the public.
Make a plan, and then make a stand for your brand.
Written by Savannah Harper – LB WordsmithPhoto courtesy of Delevante Creative.