What does it take to build a brand that’s memorable—a brand your target market can trust and connect with? If you keep these 10 commandments of branding in mind, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business objectives.
1. Brands aren’t built overnight. The success of a brand isn’t measured in weeks or months; it’s measured in years and decades. Think about some of the world’s top brands—Coca-Cola, Apple, McDonald’s, BMW. These companies have spent decades building and maintaining easily identifiable brands with strong, clear messages.
2. The more people you try to please, the weaker your brand will be. It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but it’s true. The more focused your brand is, the stronger it is. Rather than trying to be everything to everybody, you need to be something to somebody. Brands that try to be all things to all people are weak and diluted.
3. Consistency is the key to effective branding. Yes, the marketplace is constantly shifting, and it’s important that your brand stays relevant. But a brand’s core message and characteristics should never change significantly. If your brand is always changing, your target market will never build a lasting connection with it. You’ll look weak and untrustworthy.
4. Playing it safe isn’t safe. Companies that try to play it safe and blend in with their competition are limiting their success and taking a huge risk. If your brand is indistinguishable from all others in your niche, why should a customer do business with you instead of any of your competitors?
5. Publicity builds brands. Good PR is what builds brands. Strong advertising is what maintains them.
6. Interaction is essential for branding in the Internet age. It’s no longer enough to just start the conversation. Now, you have to constantly stay involved in the conversation, building relationships with your target market.
7. Brand maintenance is a never-ending task. Once you’ve built up your brand, you can’t just sit back and let it be. You have to maintain your brand through effective advertising and PR. Be relentless in getting your message out there. Never let your target market forget about you.
8. Successful brands deliver an “experience.” You have to wow your customers every time you interact with them. Doing business with your company should be more than just another transaction. It should be a unique, unforgettable experience that will keep the customer coming back and telling others.
9. Honesty is always the best policy. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever before. Their guard is always up. Your brand should be authentic and transparent. You should never make promises you can’t keep.
10. Great brands understand their limits. Remember when Smith & Wesson (a gun manufacturer) tried to sell mountain bikes to the public? Or when Cosmo (a magazine) tried to brand and sell yogurt? Or how about when Xerox tried its hand at making computers? Know why you don’t remember these things? Because they all failed miserably thanks to the companies’ not understanding their limits.
Do you disagree with any of these 10 commandments of branding? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel.