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How to Create a Killer Brand
Big-Name Brand Awareness
It may be a sparse set of nine letters and three syllables, but chances are when you heard that word, your mind jumped to a set of golden arches that look like they’re made out of french fries. Or possibly, a clown with bright red hair and yellow dungarees.
The best and most successful businesses in the world all have one thing in common: powerful brand awareness. They don’t so much ‘catch the eye’ as they do jump up and down like a neon firework, demanding attention and filling the minds of their consumers with solid, relatable images.
Brand permeates everything, from the written word to the colour of a uniform. It’s how you stay fresh and relevant in the minds of your consumers…so if you want to establish a killer brand, then you need to start at the very beginning.
The Brand Basics
Brand, put simply, is the memory of a business in the form of a look or feel.
If that sounds vague, that’s because brand is nebulous concept that can take any number of forms: a logo, a tone of voice, a unique product name, a certain method of packaging, and so much more. If it’s purposeful and you want people to associate it with your business, then it falls under the umbrella of ‘brand’.
The goal of brand is to create awareness- ‘brand awareness’, if you will- and this process takes time. Stats suggest that it takes a minimum of 5-7 impressions for a customer to become ‘aware’ that a brand exists, longer if the brand is less than noteworthy, but as we know from the most famous examples, a powerful brand is invaluable in creating memory in the mind of a consumer.
The stats on first impressions are even more unforgiving: it takes just ten seconds for a consumer to decide whether they like and trust your brand, just from the very first thing they see: colour, packaging, logo and all.
Apple Inc. didn’t just design a nifty bitten-apple logo and slap it on all their computers. Their advertising is soaked in a unique, hip tone of voice, while everything from their physical products to the Apple Stores themselves project a powerful message: pristine professionalism. It’s almost impossible to walk past an Apple Store and not notice how their massive, brightly-lit space stands out among the surrounding shops, even if you’re still staunchly loyal to the Linux penguin.
Does My Business Need a Brand?
While brand should always be at least part of your future plans, startups don’t need to worry quite so much about creating the next Starbucks mermaid, or the Lacoste crocodile.
You always want to be recognised and have good things associated with your business, but when just starting out, you should give all other areas of marketing equal billing. Brand is an aid to marketing, and marketing is an aid to brand; you can’t have one without the other.
If your business is already established- logo, tone, colours and all- then you can work towards creating an even firmer image in your consumer’s minds through multiple channels. This is where omnichannel marketing becomes a brand’s best friend, as you have so many different avenues to get your message and unique identity across.
This leads into what is possible THE most important aspect of brand: consistency.
Consistency is Key
If you don’t have consistency, you don’t have a brand. Period.
Imagine Coca-Cola bringing out a new product – Coke Minus-Zero, for example, the only soft drink that also acts as mouthwash- and because they think it would track better with consumers, they swap their iconic font for Comic Sans and make the text light green.
The problem with this scenario (or at least the main problem) is that it would never, ever happen. Coca-Cola have spent decades crafting their image of bold, vivid red with a stylised looping font. Anyone who saw their new product on the shelves would either pass over it entirely or think that it was a cheap knockoff.
Wherever your brand is seen- on a label, a website, Facebook, in the header of an email- it needs to be consistent. Engage your customers in the same way, place your logo in the same way, with the same colours; this is how you create an impression in the minds of your followers, and it’s this crucial recognition that keeps your brand in-mind even when a person isn’t staring directly at it.
Omnichannel marketing also means you have multiple chances at making an impression, so try to spread your brand around as many avenues and channels as possible to create solid brand recognition. Once you have recognition, then you can start to cultivate brand loyalty, the true powerhouse of a killer brand that keeps people coming back to your business without any direct prompts, and causes them to share their positive experiences with other potential customers.
The SBM Story
Very few brands start with an orphaned billionaire standing in a flock of CGI bats, the orchestral score swelling to a crescendo as he decides to use winged mammals as his USP.
Fun and dramatic as that would be, most brands come about through a steady process of deciding what works for your business, and your customers.
A major part of SBM’s branding strategy, for ourselves and our clients, is a style guide. This is a carefully-crafted document that acts as a guide for every single aspect of a business’ branding, from specific colour shades to exact words that are used repeatedly in copy to create craft an image.
Once we have a style guide, the holistic marketing strategy has a clear direction and strong branding. Using a variety of channels, we can begin to craft a powerful campaign that targets the most effective areas and places your brand front-and-centre,
That’s the SBM difference: using our expertise in branding to create a lasting impression of your business in the minds of your followers.