There are many elements that contribute towards building a good brand, many of them subtle. You might argue that you only truly know what makes a good brand when you have successfully built one, and even then, history is littered with examples of brands which failed to understand what made them special and threw away much of what worked.
There are a few elements I think the majority of successful brands have in common and these apply whether we are talking about a business, or an individual seeking to develop themselves as a ‘personal brand.’
Rule Number 1 is about being true to yourself. Who are you really? What do you stand for? What are your values? Don’t be something you’re not. We can spot a fraud a mile away and you’ll never be truly confident and comfortable in yourself. Audiences have shown time after time they will forgive flaws – sometimes very serious flaws – but they’ll never truly engage if you’re not being real. You can’t build a good brand if you’re not being authentic and you can’t be authentic if you’re not willing to be vulnerable. So prepare to open your heart.
Whether it’s tone of voice on social media, advertising, or the style of your packaging, your brand should look and feel the same wherever I encounter it. You can still have variety across different channels, and you might have events aimed at different audiences, but there should be common threads that are unmistakably ‘you’. This is really important if you have several team members composing social media messages or an agency running some campaigns for you. What about the experiences of your employees? Does their working environment reflect the values you portray everywhere else? It should or you’ll run into problems later. I’d go so far as to say that the employee experience is one of the key elements of building a brand. They should be your greatest advocates. Many businesses forget this and think building a brand is about having fun on social media or zany adverts on TV.
We live in a world of tremendous freedom in terms of acceptable standards of taste and decency. Creative expression is valued more than at any other time in human history and we each have powerful, affordable smartphone devices capable of creating, publishing and distributing multi media messages in moments from almost anywhere in the world. With all this freedom, we must remember our brand should be appropriate to our audience. By all means, challenge them, provoke them and think of innovative methods to capture their attention. But if you get this wrong you’ll lose them and it’ll be difficult for them to engage. The more you understand the people you want to recognise you as a brand, the easier it all becomes. There’s no shortcut here. Technology has made creating the content quicker and easier than ever but you should utilise this extra time to properly get to grips with your audience. If you’re in a comms related role you might need to educate your superiors to ensure they give you this time. It’s particularly important if you are working in an internal role, crafting messages for your own staff.
Give people the opportunity to fall in love with you. They can’t do that if they never encounter you. Think about the point of sale, social media channels, particularly Instagram and YouTube. The communal areas where staff gather. The newsagent’s window. Where are you on the Google search results, do you appear in person at events, and have you considered an e-book or even developing a game that reflects your business and values? Doing the work isn’t enough, you have to give past, present and future customers the opportunity to encounter you and get to know you on their terms.
At Comsteria, we help individuals and organisations like yours establish what their brand values and messages are, and then get them across to the people who matter. We provide smartphone video training and consultancy, business photography workshops, presentation skills and media training as well as branded podcast production.
Get in touch today to discuss what we can do for you.