Effective branding is the cornerstone of business continuity in a highly competitive marketplace. Your company may offer fantastic products and provide excellent customer support. But without the right branding, customer perception may be the one thing dragging down your profits. How is that possible? Well, in the absence of a powerful brand, companies end up spending much more on attracting potential clients and on retaining existing ones as well.
A strong brand can be a key differentiator, taking the customer perception beyond functional features of its products, says a paper published by the University of Georgia. Even if your competitors have similar products, your offering seems distinct, and customers volitionally choose it. Take Pepsi and Coca-Cola for instance. They both offer a cola drink that is not much different. However, people ask for Coke or Pepsi by name. The brand is so strong that it has created a perception in the minds of the consumer that many have a strong preference for one over the other.
So, what are the attributes of a great brand? Let’s have a look at the five most powerful characteristics.
#1 – Broad Focus of Branding
A common mistake made by companies is focusing solely on making a good first impression. On the other hand, great brands have a much broader focus. It begins with advertising but goes much beyond. For instance, their office walls or furniture bearing the brand colors, the logo being placed at strategic locations, employees wearing branded merchandize when meeting customers, and handing over branded promotional products. In fact, gifting corporate swag has proved highly effective in build relationships with prospective customers, keeping existing clients happy and motivating employees, says a blog post by Inkwell Global Marketing.
#2 – They Have Personality
Great brands have personality, which is build through various elements. This could be tone of voice, color, values it communicates and kind of messages it shares. The tone of voice can be casual and friendly or professional and knowledgeable, depending on the target audience. Similarly, the colors can be chosen according to what emotions the brand wishes to trigger. The values and messages also define “who” (rather than “what”) of the business.
#3 – They Have a Story to Tell
People rarely remember company names and shapes of logos. But they often remember how they felt about something. Great brands tell their stories and introduce their teams through interviews, social media posts and participating in events. These efforts humanize brands. Would Apple have become this big without the branding at its Worldwide Developers Conference or what we felt about Steve Jobs?
#4 – They are Consistent
There are three aspects of consistency. Firstly, great brands recognize that branding is not a onetime effort, and they communicate with their target audience regularly. Secondly, they maintain consistency in everything they do. Their colors, voice and tone remain the same whether they are connecting with people on social media, broadcasting a television ad or the content on their website. Thirdly, they consistently focus on quality, whether it is the promotional gifts they hand out or the aftersales services they provide. Consistency builds trust, says an article by Harvard Business Review.
#5 – Focus on a Niche
Being distinct helps you shine through a sea of competitors. Great brands focus on a niche to create their distinct image.
Successful brands nurture these qualities and deliver on them. Smaller companies can create a strong brand presence by adopting these qualities.