Building a successful brand can be a test from hell, but also an exciting process. The fears and pleasures of good branding are the main topics in tons of books, articles, and interviews. Yet, you don't have to read them all. We shall brief you on the key points of successful branding strategies just in about 1400 words.
How to Make a Successful Brand?
What makes a brand successful? The most obvious answer to many is abundant advertising, but the reality proves different. Chris Grams, the glorious author of the book ”The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World” states: “The most successful ad-free brands are backed by a deeply held purpose or mission.”
The second important thing he states is that the core ideology should be clear and articulate. Not only C-level management, but even the company's barista should know what the brand stands for.
Yet, how to broadcast your mission without a considerable ad budget? A good quality website might help. How much does it cost to create a website? It depends. You can go with a simple, yet nicely designed WordPress site for about $30 plus about the same amount of a yearly hosting charge. However, it will not give you the benefits a custom website can provide. A custom website will cost more but the user experience and its overall performance will be better and more efficient for your business.
Now, we will go deeper into what the core ideology of a brand is. It is like the building made of bricks, which are core values, also known as brand attributes. Clearly defined brand attributes are what makes a brand successful.
What Is a Brand Attribute?
It is hard to define brand attributes due to the majority of approaches, yet most of the views coincide in seeing the brand attributes as things that make it unique and recognizable.
The brand attributes definition in the article of University of Illinois sounds as follows: “Brand attributes are a set of characteristics that identify the physical, character and personality traits of the brand, similar to the attributes that allow us to consistently identify individuals.”
The examples of brand attributes include relevance, proper positioning, consistency, credibility, sustainability, uniqueness, innovation, inspiration, accessibility, etc. Often, the most important of them is consistency.
Perhaps the best example of a proper consistency strategy is the Coca-Cola company, with its uniform design, style, and easily recognizable slogans carried through years. Once, they tried to follow the herd and experiment with new shapes and tastes, they ran into a disaster, as reported by Thebalancecareers.com. Of course, it's hard for a newbie to build the brand message and consistency that is as recognizable as that of a giant, but there are the secret tips and practices that work most of the time.
One of them is simplicity and sincerity, which is something people are longing for in commerce. Dove has always been an example of a sincere and straightforward approach, whispering humaneness into the ears of consumers.
However, trying to become too real and genuine can do a lousy trick when brought to the extreme. When Dove issued a new line of cosmetics in the packages imitating different types of human bodies, it had an adverse effect. "Unless you’re trying to mock everything you stand for, I’m not sure why you would do this," said Samantha Skey from She Knows Media about the re-designed products of Dove.
These are just two of the many brand attributes examples that may help you take the first steps towards answering the hard question of how to build a successful brand. We have picked up several most important brand attributes worth your attention.
The List of Brand Attributes
1. Consistency – to put it simply, Envision-creative.com gives a piece of advice on understanding consistency: “Bottom line? Don’t flip-flop on your brand messaging and presentation.” See it this way: once your audience gets used to your brand, they have some particular expectations. If you start changing your look, message, or ideology, either in ads, by word of mouth or in direct interactions, it may be distracting and annoying. An average person doesn't have time to remember all the changes in all the surrounding brands.
2. Simplicity – be as simple as Nike in their brand message: "Just do it." Think of Apple's logo or Pepsi's connection with football. If your question is "how to create a successful brand?" the answer is "try to keep it simple."
3. Positioning – you should clearly understand three basic things: who you are, what you do, and why you are better. It will help you to understand better who your target audience is and then identify to which extent your aims coincide. An important tip from David Smith, a branding specialist: “brand positioning isn't just about your logo, website, brochure, design, or marketing; it's about the entire customer experience.”
4. Uniqueness – how to stand out? Generally, it's a hard question. Specifically, not so. The things which make a brand unique are sometimes ridiculously simple, like the Rolling Stones logo. Ikea is famous for offering its clients a cup of coffee. It is occasionally essential to make one single move to build uniqueness. Due to a website glitch, a coffee company sent thousands of packages (almost all of its stock) for $1 per pack. They have explained the problem, and as a sign of apology, asked the customers to accept the coffee as a discounted gift. That significant move brought them the highest month of sales.
5. Relevancy – being relevant in the always-changing world is not easy. But all the successful branding strategies include their ability to respond to the alterations in clients' needs. According to Thebancecareers.com, the top quality brands like Lego, excel at always staying topical. To withstand the growing game industry, Lego partnered with Disney, created superhero toys, and even made branded cartoons.
To sum up, when asked "what are brand attributes?" the first thing that should come to your mind should be consistency and the other four should follow.
Now we know that most successful brands are unique, simple, and always relevant. Together these features build brand identity. Brands with strong brand identity are recognizable by service, design, and ideology. For example, Hermes is difficult to mistake for something else with their equestrian topics and outstanding customer care. People invest in their 4k handbags, as the company gives a 100-year warranty for products. If the bag is worn-out or damaged, you can send it for a free repairing service, even if your granny bought it 40 years ago.
Let’s finally speak about the most crucial ingredient of brand identity which is a brand name.
What Makes a Good Brand Name?
The Hingemarketing.com describes five strategies to choose a good brand name: coining, description, abstraction, acronyms, founder/partner names. Abstract names like Google or Amazon and acronyms like IBM have been the most popular in the last years.
With the growth of tech and success-oriented companies, we have tons of names playing around the words intellect, tech, solution, sales, excellent, etc. Think of Intellect Hub, Exelegence, EliteTech, Salesforce, or Smart Solutions. The names like these give a hint on their ideology and core values.
Successful brand names should not necessarily have a philosophic meaning. They can reflect your core product and be good-sounding like Zappos (from Spanish it means “shoes”). A good brand name can also be funny, like Eat My Shorts (the name of a clothing company).
The only feature of a good brand is again a consistency in the brand name, philosophy, design, and services. Scandinavians love simplicity, technology, and tradition. Take the Ikea company; their colors correspond to the colors of the national flag, and logo simplicity goes well with their design philosophy. The Bluetooth company takes its name from the historical figure Harald Bluetooth, whose initials are reflected in the logo.
An insight into great brands showed us that they do have something in common, yet each of them stays unique. What makes a brand strong is the ability to be consistent, simple, and always relevant to changes. Attention to customer needs and proper positioning are also essential ingredients of success.
So, what is a good brand? It is a brand that always responds to the needs of clients in a timely manner.