Brand building is integral to personal and business brand development. It not only increases the profile and public awareness of a brand, but also gives it an identity, worth, familiarity, trust and respect.
The recent flourish of interactive and social media channels and platforms has given many businesses the chance to enhance brand awareness and their brand equity. If you have been thinking of building a more prominent business brand for your company, then it is important for you to know that brand building takes a great deal of time, dedication, energy and resources. In the section that follows, we shall define brand building and also look at different types of brands and the steps to create a successful brand.
What Is Brand Building?
There is no one definition that actually captures the essence of brand building in its entirety. Many people think that brand building is all about communicating and exposing your brand. That is just one side of it. The best way we can define this is explaining that it is the process of creating value to consumers . It encompasses all things that consumers know, feel and experience about your business in its entirety.
Having defined brand building, let’s look at 3 popular types of brands and what they stand for:
Service Brand: this brand is built on knowledge, culture, and experience that one has with the service delivering agency/company/people. Think of your IT Company, Accountants or current design agency.
Retail Brand: this brand is built on a mixture of products and service experience. Think of McDonalds, NEXT or KFC
Product Brand: is built on the experience that one has with a specific product. Think of Nike, Apple or Land Rover.
Having looked at the 3 popular types of brands, let’s now look at the steps involved in brand building.
1) Define Your Brand
The first stage in brand building is defining your brand. This is a very critical step as it ultimately determines what your brand truly stands for. When defining your business brand, you should create a checklist of its core strengths. Similarly, if you’re defining a personal brand, you should look at the skills and expertise that you possess, especially of those which you want to stand out. On the same token, you also need to know what your brand stands for and what is important for your brand (brand values). Your values should in one way or another show that you are contributing to the environmental, social, and economic well-being of customers. You may not realise some of these important aspects of brand building immediately, until you look at them objectively.
2) Differentiate and Position Your Brand
Before embarking on brand building, you have to take time to differentiate your brand so that you can attract attention and stand out from competitors. To differentiate your brand, you have to create a unique advantage in the mind of clients and customers, not just by getting attention by a brand logo, brand colours or other superficial elements. Once you come up with a unique value proposition, you should use a good branding strategy to position your brand in a way that will help consumers see and appreciate the greater value of your brand over competing ones in the market.
3) Build and Expose your Brand
As mentioned earlier, brand building is not a one off thing. Building a unique and powerful personal or business brand takes time and consistency. To build your personal brand, you have to keep reinforcing your values and skills by taking up new roles and assignments that will give you more exposure. Alternatively, you can use promotional channels, blogs, forums, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to create a voice for your personal or business brand.
When building your brand, you should also endevor to develop brand personality (what people know, think, and say about you). This is what drives or motivates people to identify with and engage with your brand. The truth is; if you execute your brand building strategies consistently, then you will easily establish a pattern that will forever be associated with your brand name.
4) Personalise your Brand
If you want your brand building campaign or business brand to be successful, then you have to personalise it. It is important to give your brand an identity. Let consumers see and experience the personality of your brand in its entirety. Look at your brand as something that a consumer wants to identify with pretty much as they would with their favourite cars, smart phones or computers.
As you engage in brand building, you should also invite customers to be co-creators of brand values so that they can feel that they also own it and relate with it. Top brands encourage consumer-brand interaction by personalising products to meet the needs and preferences of consumers. When you personalise your brand, you give consumers reason to participate and engage with your brand for a lifetime.
5) Review Your Brand
Your brand is not static; it should be ever evolving and will go through a range of motions in its lifetime. Depending on your brand strategies, your brand will either grow in strength, or remain dormant, or recede with time. In the brand cycle, new events, changes, and circumstances bring challenges and opportunities to enhance the value of your brand or re-establish it. All these possibilities should give you the impetus to take charge of your brand building activities.
As your brand name grows, so do the responsibilities and expectations to continue with brand building. The best way of ensuring brand growth is reviewing your activities and evaluating your successes through ‘measurables’ such as levels of brand awareness and levels of engagements. Regular reviews will help you seize and exploit new opportunities while upholding your commitment to remain true to your vision and brand strategy. It will also help you steer your brand in the right direction and keep it relevant as you move into the future.
As you can see, brand building is not a one off thing. You have to define your brand, differentiate, present it, and review what your brand stands for from time to time. It is very important to be clear about your branding strategies and how you’re going to implement them. You should also adopt brand strategies that will add value to your consumers and help them develop the right impression of your company and what it truly stands for.