It’s easy to spot a poorly branded business, but it’s tough to remember one off the top of your head. That’s because a company without a powerful brand message is one we tend to forget without even realizing why. But once you learn the steadfast components a great brand message, it’s easy to see where other companies have gone awry and where your own brand could use some work. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to do a brand image overhaul, keep these key branding components in mind.
Identify Your Identity
A powerful brand doesn’t have to be a mogul like Coke or Nike. It doesn’t have to be designed by marketing executives in a room filled with hand-selected test subjects and carefully written questionnaires. A good brand message is simple: It is an artful combination of mechanics and personal passion that not only inspires customers and employees alike, but also can be written down and described succinctly.
It’s your elevator pitch. Imagine you’ve just gotten into an elevator with Mark Cuban. He asks you what you do for a living. Before the bell dings and you both have to get off of the elevator, how would you describe your business to him?
Write It Down
You need to be able to communicate your message efficiently through copy. Simplicity is key here, especially as the attention spans of consumers continues to shrink.
Forbes has a great list of 10 questions to help you develop a brand identity that is rich and complex and still accessible to your customers. Don’t be surprised if you learn a lot about your business and your passion for it while completing these questions. Pay special attention to the "why" questions on this list.
Also, watch the amazing Ted Talk from leadership legend Simon Sinek. He uses the Wright Brothers and Apple to demonstrate why the question of “why” is so important, as well as how to use it to truly inspire others.
Learn from the Best
One of the best ways to better understand your brand is to study other successful brands. From Microsoft to McDonald's, they all have one thing in common: consistency. We are creatures of habit, and developing a relationship requires trust.
To build the best relationship with your customers, they need to see consistency in everything that your brand does, from social media to clearance sales. Cabela’s isn’t having a regular old Black Friday sale like everyone else on the planet; they're having a “hunt for bucks” holiday cash giveaway. McDonald’s doesn’t have prizes or gifts with purchase; they have a Monopoly game with collectible game pieces and ongoing opportunities to win everything from french fries to a million bucks.
Look for brands that take classic marketing techniques and make them their own. Even if these companies aren’t the most powerful brands on the planet, they are invaluable resources to learn from.
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