7 Ways to Create a Strong Brand
MONIKA JANSEN | March 13, 2021
A lot of our clients want to create a “strong brand” – a very vague term that gets tossed around a lot.
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What is a brand anyway?
I like Seth Godin’s definition:
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another.
I also like my definition:
Your company’s brand is what people say about it when you’re not there.
If a majority of your company’s clients come from word of mouth, I guarantee you have a strong brand.
So, what does it take to create a strong brand?
Time (and effort)
You cannot create a strong brand overnight – even if you’re a Kardashian. It takes time and effort to build awareness and a reputation.
When I first launched my company, I networked constantly. I met some of my best clients that way, but my god, I had to endure a lot of ridiculousness. I was once cornered by two government contractors who decided to play “define that acronym” – their idea of a fun game. I went to countless one-on-one meetings at Starbucks that turned into sales pitches and sat in rush hour traffic (there’s a reason I work from home).
After a couple of years, the word-of-mouth referrals started rolling in. And I stopped going to networking events.
An interesting personality
As the business owner, you are the face – and personality – of the brand. This is not the time to be timid. Own who you are and let your freak flag fly. People will remember you – and that’s a critical element of a strong brand.
Worried you’ll scare people away? Don’t be. If people like you, they will work with you. If they don’t, you don’t want to work with them anyway.
People remember me because I tell it like it is while making them laugh at the same time. What do people remember you for? (Go ahead and ask your favorite people if you don’t know.)
A community (preferably in person)
In our digital world, it is hard to build a community – but it is doable. The trick? Make it easy for people to participate.
Ask them questions and allow them to share their ideas. If you use Facebook for marketing, host Facebook Live chats or create a Facebook Group.
But my favorite way to create community? Host regular meetups with hand-selected people once it’s safely to meet in person again. There is NO substitute for interacting face to face.
(Yes, I know I just finished telling you how much I hate networking. This is different, as it’s much more selective; you more or less control who’s there. Invite the people you like and ask them to invite the people they like.)
A phenomenal experience
A great experience doesn’t mean showering your clients (or customers) with confetti and handing out free Champagne. It means making every interaction with you, your team and your products/services a delight.
It means people love you so much that they will talk about you every chance they get.
It also means you …
Do what you say you’re going to do
How many times have you been disappointed by a company’s product/service or your interaction with them? From useless customer service reps, to dirty bathrooms, to products that don’t work as advertised, we tend to have really low expectations.
When you keep promises, you will stand out as a hero. All you have to do is keep communication open, stick to the budget, meet deadlines and actually deliver what say you will.
Stick to your message
When people ask, “So, what does your company do?”, how do you respond? Do you have the same answer every time? Is it clear and concise?
Sticking to one message – generally, your value proposition – makes it easy for people to talk about you. Repeat it enough, and they’ll learn your message and be able to recite it. Maybe not word-for-word, but close to it.
Consistency is so important for a strong brand: consistent quality, consistent experiences, consistent customer service, consistent marketing. Consistency means you are dependable and trustworthy. It means people are confident you will do what you say you will.
Imagine getting an email from a new-to-you-brand. You like what you see in the email, so you click over to their website – and you have no idea where you are. The look and feel are completely different.
You start doubting this company. Are they also inconsistent in the quality of their work? Do they even know what they’re doing?
If you are inconsistent, you will sow doubt in the minds of your potential customers and tarnish your reputation. Don’t take the chance!
Here’s some homework for you: Think about your favorite brands. What do you like most about them? How can your brand emulate them? Creating a strong brand is work – but the payoff is worth it.