5 Critical Elements of Branding
Whether you’re just starting out with your company, or have been around the block a few times, branding is key in conveying to your customers what you’re all about. Here are 5 critical elements of branding:
1. It speaks to some, but not all people (only your customers).
Just like everything else in marketing, brand is based on a particular segment of the total population. The brand should express the value of your product/service (P/S).
- Not every mother, but single mothers with raising their children,
- Not all recipes, but ancient recipes from Italy, catered,
- Not consulting, but impish, creative problem-solving.
In many ways, the brand should speak so strongly to your target audience, that if the customer uses your products, they are expressing themselves through your brand to other people; “I use this brand… that’s what I am all about.”
2. Be unique.
Forget about claiming to be the quality, service or innovation leader (all of which have been greatly overused). Be unique. Be different. Be unique and different in ways that really matter to customers
Of course, knowing your segments also implies that you have a unique P/S offer. That means your brand (and logo) should distinguish your company from your competitors that it stands out.
3. Deliver the goods.
Nothing spells incompetence more than not living up to your brand. If your brand says, ‘best customer service’, then, by the gods, it better be.
Consistency is the key to branding.
4. Engage, inform, entertain.
A brand should be friendly to your customers, accessible to the mind. Brand is all about generating interest and an emotional response. Therefore, don’t use ‘salesy’ language, use informative language that demonstrates value.
5. Customers will evolve your brand.
Customers, after using your brand, will start to identify with it. Allow them to express back to you what your brand means to them. Take surveys, ask questions, it’s all part of the good branding game.
Then evolve your brand to capture the essence of that feedback that attracts even more of your target segment. Brand evolution will hone the brand message over time.
This also spills over to offering more services to the existing customers that you have, rather than trying to capture new segments of customers.
Case Study: The FCOMG.
Just took over a new group for online marketers; the Fairfield County Online Marketing Group. Here’s the reasoning behind the logo for the brand:
- Speaks to someone: the logo identifies, by text, the geographic location of the group, and the nature of the group. It also conveys a sense of wonder, which ties into the OMG (oh-my-god) aspect of the acronym.
- Be unique: Very few brands have babies that encompass the overall brand. The surprised look stands out amongst your average brands. We’re taking a chance with the innocence angle, here, but that’s what brands should do – take chances.
- Deliver the goods: Any information on this Meetup.com site (which is where the brand began) should reinforce that sense of wonder and discovery. That means new ideas, new strategies, new concepts in marketing.
- Engage, inform, entertain. The use of a baby usually brings a smile to people’s faces. That’s engagement.
- Customers will evolve your brand. Some people like it, some people don’t. But after asking some members about it, some said things like, “We’re just starting out, the baby works.” I like that. The baby also can evolve into another brand identity in the future, if we so choose.