Brand strategy and branding are powerful forces that catapult a business’s success.
When you create your brand strategy you need to look at three things that will identify you.
- Your visual brand identity
- Your verbal brand identity
- And the value you provide
These are what make up your brand personality. And nothing screams brand more than colour!
Branding can often be underestimated in importance too. I saw a poll in a Facebook group where the owner asked “if there was one problem I could help you solve what would it be?”
Where many of the options like mind-set, self-belief and sales were high up on the list, branding and goal setting were way down the bottom. Yet if you can craft a brand you can achieve cult like status. I use the term Niche Celebrity. Just like in Hollywood, your personality and your values is what people really buy.
It is the ability to achieve deep relationships with your customers and provide a highly fulfilling experience that will get you recommended and referred.
Uber, Mailchimp, Puma, Google, Apple and AirBnb. These businesses have one thing in common, despite the variants in their size.
They use their design as the foundation upon which to move their business forward. Airbnb was founded by Rhode Island School of design graduates, and the head of design Alex Schleifer is driving the culture so that everyone working at AirBnb is thinking about design first and the “user viewpoint”. Something that progressive thinking businesses also need to focus on.
Every year Pantone choose a colour to represent the cultural climate of the coming year. You will imagine my surprise when our new brand colours fitted like a glove. The 2016 colours were Rose Quartz and Serenity where consumers were seeking mindfulness and wellbeing as an antidote to stress. With the happenings of 2016, with Brexit and the election of Trump in America, Pantone have seen that we are looking for something to represent new beginnings. 2017 sees a fresh and zesty yellow green that calls to mind the first days of spring. Greenery signifies new beginnings, a fresh new year – something much of us need in 2017 after the 2016 debacle.
This much bandied about word in the coaching world really needs to be embodied. A company can no longer wake up and say “hey look, we are authentic” it just sounds so unauthentic. Instead companies will have to prove their authenticity through action.
According to a Cohn & Wolfe study the big brands that are deemed as authentic include Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Lego. They deliver on their promises, and are seen as transparent with their company actions.
For the smaller businesses, authenticity is even more important. The ability to say what we like, and project a crafted and designed image online has left buyers sceptical, and lacking in trust. Like never before has true authenticity been required.
SIMPLICITY & FOCUS
In a time when everything we want is at our fingertips, we are deciding that we want less. We want to make fewer choices, have fewer choices, and want to make these choices simply.
This trend has lead to niche markets booming, where they have one product for one kind of person. They provide a remarkable experience for their buyers and are known to deliver.
In the book Fewer Bigger Bolder – From Mindless Expansion to Focused Growth, authors Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney point to the success of both Spirit Airlines and Emirates Airlines as prime examples of the power of simplicity and focus. Spirit is a deep discounter, while Emirates is in the luxury space. Even though the two airlines could not be more different from one another, they are both single-minded in their approach. They each resist the callings for ever more broadening of their services and target audiences, and have each achieved financial success as a result.
As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
It used to be that big brands would spend months perfecting their message and crafting how they wanted to be perceived. Now we have Google, and we are who Google says we are, it is our customers who will judge what we do and for whom.
If you want to know the truth about a brand you Google it. The brands that will be in control of what people think, are the ones who give their brand narrative to their customers. Which means that more so than ever – true “authentic” clients case studies and testimonials will elevate you.
Your ability to be visible online will make or break you.