Your brand is different from mine. We're in business for distinctive reasons and we have different goals. Our ideal customers are unalike and our passions are divergent.
This is a beautiful thing. You and I can build brands that have virtually nothing in common, and yet we can learn from each other. Why? Because there are universal truths in branding—things that apply to every type of brand.
Curious about those universal truths? Well then, let's not waste another minute.
6 Branding Practices that Serve Every Type of Brand
Ever notice how entrepreneurs who own successful businesses seem to flock together? Instead of entrepreneurs who own similar types of brands?
There's a reason for that. You see, you are who you hang out with (I'll bet you've heard that from your mother, too). When you choose to be with successful business people who are 'out of your league,' you naturally rise to their level.
And when you seek out business owners who abide by these principles, as well as adopt these principles for yourself, you'll enjoy massive growth and staying power for your brand:
- A Brand Story is Necessary. If you've ever had a close childhood friend who left town (to go to university, for example) and came back a different person, you know the complications that shift can cause. Suddenly, it seems there's nothing to talk about. They're so removed from the rest of the tribe, and all the ties that had bound you together now seem irrelevant. This can happen when a brand forgets its WHY. It can happen when a brand forgets why people were attracted to it in the first place. Remind yourself and your team, daily, about your brand's roots…and nurture all brand shifts with ties to those roots.
- Values are Long-Term. When your brand was established, you should have named its top five corporate values. These were the values you built your branding strategy upon, and the values that attracted people to your business. If you stray from those values, you will ultimately prove that your brand is inconsistent—even untrustworthy. Talk about a turn-off for your ideal, loyal customers! Just like you should remind yourself daily of your story, keep your corporate values handy, in plain sight, to refresh everyone's memories about how your brand should be communicating, supporting, interacting and delivering.
- A Strong Foundation is More Important than the Structure. If you build a house without a foundation, the first significant wind storm that comes along will flatten it. Instead, if you build a house with a deep, solid foundation and good bones, you can change the paint, the flooring, the landscaping, the interior furnishings…without too much detriment to your brand (as long as the changes are in-line with your brand's story and values). Stop focussing on the outward appearance of your brand (e.g. designing a 'pretty' logo) and starting concentrating on creating something that is solid on the inside and representative of that unshakable foundation on the outside.
- Consistency Requires Evolution. When we talk about brands needing to be consistent, we're not talking about never changing. Instead, we're referring to brands needing to be consistent regarding what's appropriate 'at the moment.' In other words, remain unswerving in your story and values whilst flexing to meet the consumer trends that are driving your audience's attention right now. And even more simply, stay consistent by always being relevant.
- Unique is More Attractive than Ordinary. If any brand (no matter how innovative or relevant) attempts to appeal to everyone, it will end up appealing to very few. Find the audience that will most enthusiastically receive your brand. There's no use trying to 'convert' consumers into ideal customers. Instead, appeal to needs that already exist in a better way.
- No Brand can Live on Marketing Alone. Marketing is necessary, certainly; however, if your brand is struggling, or it hasn't got that strong story, values or foundation we talked about, no amount of clever marketing is going to trick people into becoming loyal customers. In fact, it will only peeve them. Build a brand that can stand on its own and speak for itself—and then create marketing campaigns that deliver its core message (rather than inventing messages that have nothing to do with the brand, but that you think might stick).
Is this all there is to branding? Absolutely not! However, these six principles of branding are great places to start as you begin to think about how you'll build a brand with the staying power and growth potential to fuel the lifestyle of your dreams. No matter the type of brand you're building, you can refer to this list regularly to make sure you're heading in the right direction and staying connected to all the right things.
Are you looking for the training you'll need to build the brand you want to see in the world? And are you feeling uneasy about taking a leap into the unknown?
Well, I have the answer for both of those challenges. Our Brand Builders Club hosts regular Brand Builders Bootcamps, and by clicking here, you can register to attend one of them as a guest. You'll get to see how we work with brand builders to strategise for their next three months of business, you will interact with globally recognised experts whom I have personally hired to help with building my own brand…and much, much more. Click here to learn more and to reserve your backstage pass.