Knowing what consumers want from your brand is critical. The next step is to gain traction in the marketplace. By mastering these five key essentials, your brand will begin to grow and your business will start to see results.
As humans we are hardwired to notice only what is different. We’re all programmed with a mental filter to help sift through the clutter. To be successful, you brand has to break through that filter, in today’s crowded marketplace of messages and information. Be different. Stand out.
The most important thing you can to differentiate your brand is focus. Ask yourself the following:
Why does it matter?
How you do what you do?
What do you do?
If you did not have compelling answers to these questions, you need more focus. By reinforcing the focus of the brand, you grow the value of it.
Much like raising a child, building a brand is a collaborative project. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t built by one person – your brand won’t be, either
It is important to engage any key stakeholders or ambassadors you may have to help shape the direction of your brand. Identify key thought leaders and influencers within your industry who can bring insight that can help you differentiate. Keep in mind that many of these key influencers may be right under your nose – your employees. As they interact with your customers on a daily basis, they can bring a unique knowledge those outside your company cannot.
Innovation through creativity is critical to giving your brand traction in the marketplace. Because, as mentioned above, we’re programmed to notice what’s different, your company has to stand out your competitors. Creativity, used in strategic ways, can help you accomplish this. Take a cue from one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2014, Dropbox. The company solved one of the biggest issues with technology, with technology, by offering an easy way to save files digitally that seamlessly integrates with all electronic devices. It may seem like a simple idea, but if that’s the case, why didn’t you think of it?
How can you tell when an idea is innovative? When it scares the hell out of everybody.
Validation means bringing the audience into the creative process.
The old communication model was a monologue:
The new communication model is a dialogue
The emphasis is on the receiver communicating back to the sender. Are you listening to what your audiences have to say? What was the last message you received from a customer and how did you respond?
A brand needs to be nurtured over time. A brand is a living object and should be constantly evolving. The old paradigm was to control the look and feel of a brand. The new paradigm is to influence the character of a brand.
Think about Starbucks. Starbucks has developed a brand that is so much more than coffee. You aren’t just buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks – you’re renting a table in a fantastic coffee shop and looking hip while doing so.
As previously stated, your brand is never static. You must continually refine your brand and educate your internal and external audiences. By mastering the five essentials of branding, you create a continuous circle. The five essentials feed into each other—continuously. With every turn around the circle, the value of the brand spirals higher.