6 Ways to Create A Killer Brand
Having a great brand means much more than having a fancy logo and a trendy color palette. Your brand is what people connect with, get inspired by and become loyal to. It is the essence of your values, ideals, how people trust your product or service and where great things can happen. It's your confident "Here I am!" to the world. It also doesn't just apply to your company, but touches your personal brand as well.
Desire for better is in our DNA. To improve. To inspire. To create. To open doors. Brands have powerful influence over our everyday lives and with that comes an opportunity and a responsibility to do better. But how?
Here are 6 tips for creating a better brand. Not just for your customers, but for your employees, yourself and the promise of greatness.
1. Give Your Brand A Voice.
Whether you like it or not, your brand has a voice. It speaks to everyone that touches your brand, even you. So how do you give your brand a better voice? Start with your brand's messaging. This is the easiest and best way to connect with your brand's loyal followers. Learning how to take a message you want to say and giving it a voice that will resonate with your customers, employees, shareholders and Snuggles the office pet, will help communicate the best parts of your brand and why it's worth paying attention to.
This doesn't just apply to a message, announcement or promotion you're running, it affects all areas of your brand. Your brand's voice can reflect trust, loyalty, creativity, innovation and value. It can also reflect distrust, doubt, out-of-date, and evoke some real nasty emotions that can be a detriment to your brand.
For example, which company's Mission Statement is better:
"Our company's mission is to be the best provider of our service and product."
"Our purpose is to create a better, more authentic experience with everything we do!"
Yikes. That first one was a little dry. Company B on the other hand didn't just say what they did and what their goal was. They created an insight into their brand values and with more purpose and excitement, which makes you trust and believe more in what they are doing. How you say something is much more important than what you say.
2. Be Consistent.
When was the last time you went home at night, flipped the light switch and only half of your lights turned on? Never. You know that when you flip that switch, all your lights will come on, every time. Your brand should be the same way. All of your brand should always be on, when they flip your switch.
Brand consistency is what helps your customers recognize you, creates exclusivity and makes your brand look trustworthy, reliable and will open the opportunity for more engagement. If your brand looked different today from yesterday, how could they trust that you'll provide them with the same great experience? Being consistent is how people trust brands. Knowing that every interaction they have was consistently crafted and carries everything about the brand that they love, every time. Consistency is also about the details. Being consistent means considering everything your brand touches, even the little things. The little things that make good brands, great.
Imagine going to an Apple store. You've been there before. You know what the experience will be. You know you'll be able to touch and interact with the products. Products that are beautifully created with an attention to detail and a finish that just feels right. You know the store itself will be vibrantly lit, rich with clean, modern design and will have clearly recognizable staff dressed in apple attire, ready to help you.
Now imagine going back the next day to products you can only look at, there's a couple ceiling lights out and one that's annoyingly flickering. The tables aren't aligned straight and they seem worn and used. The staff is dressed in generic clothes, so you don't know who works there and who doesn't. Pretty much a nightmare, right?
It's the same brand and same store, but without the consistent experience. Would you trust that brand? I wouldn't. When a brand is consistent with all of their experiences, you feel it.
Be consistent with your branding, so it feels the same on your website, your digital ads, your office, your app, your packaging, labels, business cards, even your apparel. Everything that your brand touches should tell a consistent story.
3. Tell A Great Story.
Great stories inspire us. Compel us. We get lost in stories. Great stories make us think. Great stories make us act. They allow us to see through a lens into a different world. They capture imagination and feed our deepest desires to connect.
We love stories.
Brands also tell a unique story. Their purpose, vision, employees, values, products and services all tell stories. Brand storytelling is great for giving an inside look at your company. It takes your brand's followers on a journey behind the scenes at your company, showing the motivations of you and your team and how you get things done. This level of storytelling can instill customer confidence in your brand.
Your brand's history is also important. When were you established? Who are the founders and founding members? How did you get started and where are your company's roots? Did you have to fight through an army of ninjas to start your company? Why does all of this matter? These are all things that your customers and clients want to know. They want to be connected and feel part of the history and the future of your brand.
Tell a great story with your messaging. Tell it with your brand identity, your digital experiences, the products they touch and hold dear. Tell it with your ninja scars. Have a story worth telling and the world will share it like their own.
4. Value Your Employees.
Fill your company with good people and the rest will work itself out. If customers are the lifeblood of your company, then employees are the organs, the engines that pump the lifeblood. Without your employees, would your brand be where it is today? Could it survive without them? The answer is always no. If you run a company that values it's employees, then you have a business plan for success.
So how do you show some love for your employees? For one, it's building a brand that doesn't just benefit your customers, but one that serves your employees too. Treat their interaction with the brand with the same attention to detail and consistency.
This starts with their work environment. Create an office space for your employees that invites inspiration and creative thinking. Craft a space that nurtures collaboration and comfort. Make your office feel alive with motivation, color, furniture designed to help them work at their best, architectural features that give dimension and scale and space that just feels good.
An office space designed to take care of your employees will motivate them to work harder, care about the experiences they create and adds to your brand story. Google follows these principles and they seem to be doing okay.
More than just giving them a great office space, it's important to treat your employees with respect, care and appreciation. Treat people as people and you'll get the best from them. People want to feel like they are valued, heard and that they make a difference. Create a family community, where mutual understanding, open minded thinking and collaboration are at the heart of your team. These basic principles will help shape your brand values and company culture. One where your employees love coming to work every day. When you take care of your employees, they take care of you and your brand.
5. Have A Human Touch.
For 200,000 years humans have inhabited the earth. We've evolved from cave dwelling occupants to modern day multi-taskers. But with data driven analytics, artificial intelligence, the Siri & Alexa voice wars and those creepy Japanese life-like robots, have humans taken a back seat to these new digital overlords? Has robotic thinking and the desire for more efficient and logical results killed the human experience in brands? Probably not, but we do need to remind ourselves of one thing: At the heart of every brand are people.
Brands more than ever though are relying on data driven, analytical thinking to sell more to customers, convert clients and get more users. What about crafting experiences that feel human? Ones that invite us to feel something more.
By relying on empathy and a human approach, things become more clear. Treat people with respect. Use common sense. Think of how you can add value to a customer, rather than try to sell to them. Make creative ideas a priority. Create products and services that benefit the consumer and always keep pushing for better. Remember, your customers, consumers, users and clients are people.
These people are becoming more educated than ever too. This is a good thing.
They can see when your brand is being unauthentic. They know when you're serving them a hot plate of nonsense. They see through your scams and aren't fooled by your attempts to be "genuine". They can see a salesman from a mile away and know that your product is junk. People are starting to see through the marketing and they aren't happy.
The brands that are delivering more genuine experiences, quality products and services, with brand stories and culture people can connect to, where every interaction is deeply satisfying and unique, with a voice they can relate to, those are the brands that are winning and will continue to win. Why? Because all of these brand elements create a human experience that we're all yearning for. It evokes a feeling. And creating human brand experiences that people can feel emotionally invested in, will compel them to buy from you, share with others and be loyal to you. People want to feel like they are a part of your brand. All you have to do is let them in.