The four cornerstones of an effective brand

The key to building an effective brand? Keep it simple. 

A common trap that many businesses fall into when it comes to their marketing is to over-complicate things. Rather than clear, concise messages which give people a compelling reason to buy, many firms try the hard sell. Or cram as many features and benefits as possible into their messaging in the hope that some of it sticks.

It rarely does. The same can be said of your brand.

If you over-complicate it, it can dilute what you stand for and leave your ideal customers confused and, as a result, less likely to buy from you. Think of the best brands in the world. The most iconic, well-known, loved and trusted companies which inspire loyalty from their customers.

What do they all have in common? They keep it simple.

When you boil it down, great brands comprise these four key elements:

Communications

The way your business communicates with the outside world – with customers, with suppliers, with consumers and with staff – says a lot about your brand.

But it’s not just limited to the written word.

Your logo and visual identity communicate a lot about your business, as does your choice of language and the way your staff speak to people on the phone. So, a key aspect of building a trusted brand is to ensure your business communicates the right messages, to the right people, in the right way.

The ultimate aim is to build trust. The best way to do that is to communicate whatever you do in a clear and simple way, that people can understand and buy into.

Your ideal customers won’t buy from you if they don’t understand what you are selling and how it will benefit them. So, be clear in the way you communicate, whether that’s verbally or visually.

Products and services

Your brand should be congruent with the products and services you sell. If your brand says you are one thing, but you are something completely different, you’ll never build trust with your customers.

If you sell premium products, your branding and messaging should reflect this – think about how M&S talks about its food compared to Asda or Tesco, for example.

Similarly, if you’re a budget brand, presenting yourself as high-end won’t ring true – Ryanair or Easyjet never pretend to be British Airways, because it’s a completely different slice of the market.

As a business owner, it can be hard, sometimes, to define your brand in those terms. Often, you will be so emotionally connected that while you see your business as one thing, your customers might see it completely differently.

So, it’s often worth getting an objective, independent view before deciding how to position your brand.

Environment

A good brand is reflected not just in a business’ marketing and communications, but within the environment it creates for its staff and customers as well.

Google’s quirky, high tech, state-of-the-art HQ, for example, not only inspires tremendous staff loyalty, but also perfectly reflects the search giant’s brand and company values. Likewise, whenever you visit a Frankie & Bennys, regardless of where you are, you know you’re in a Frankie & Bennys.

In today’s business world, more and more companies believe that their physical premises are an extension of their brand, and are designing them with this in mind.

So, ask yourself, do your offices or outlets create the right impression for your business?

Behaviour

The way that a company and its staff behave can also have a huge influence on the way a brand is perceived. If you say you’re one thing, and then act the opposite, it causes confusion, breaks trust and can, in some cases, turn customers away.

Innocent Drinks, for example, prides itself on its environmental and charitable credentials and its use of natural ingredients. This is borne out by the way it behaves as a company – donating 10% of profits to charity and supporting sustainable food producers.

And think of the way you’re treated every time you go into Starbucks for a coffee – you get the same experience, wherever you are.

You might have the best, most recognisable brand in the world, but if you don’t behave like your brand says you do, your customers will walk away.

Conclusion

Your brand isn’t what you think or say it is. It’s what your customers think or say about it that counts. Regardless of the sector you operate in, the chances are it will be flooded with competitors all fighting for a vital share of marketing airtime.

So, having a brand which stands out from the crowd is vital.

Keeping things simple from the start and focusing your efforts on perfecting the four elements listed above will help you to build a brand which engages people, provokes an emotional response and helps to build loyalty and trust among your customers.

Purpose Media’s team of creative designers has many years’ combined experience in building brands for businesses which connect with their ideal customers.

To find out how we can help your company stand out from the crowd, get in touch today.