April 25, 2024
Brand Awareness

Building a successful business requires a lot of forethought, time and luck. And even with success, you’re never really finished building a business. From scaling to meet growth and figuring out new ways to acquire customers, a business’ brand is the light that guides the way.

However, you can’t achieve megabrand status like Virgin, Apple, Coca-Cola, Google, Starbucks, McDonalds and Nike without an initial branding strategy to evolve.

As you gear up to launch your company, ask yourself these five questions to gauge your brand’s strength.

Brand Awareness

What Is Our Unique Selling Proposition?

Whether you’re dealing with a crowded niche or one ripe for the taking, you’ll need to differentiate your brand from current and future competitors. You might sell your furniture in an online store, but how will your brand stand out from Wayfair or Hayneedle? Will your furniture be at a different price point? Will you carry styles suited toward a particular stage of life or a certain living style?

Ikea has grown into a giant by developing a unique selling proposition of selling super affordable, self-assembled furniture. The brand is popular with all sorts of shoppers these days but still skews toward younger people, transients and those living in cities who might have space issues moving bulky furniture in and out of their apartments.

What Is Our Mantra?

Mantras are helpful for individuals striving toward a concise vision for what they want to accomplish mentally or physically, spiritually or professionally. In the business realm, a mantra instils a core belief that gives your business credibility. The right brand mantras also increase brand equity through heightening brand awareness, brand resonance, perceived quality and loyalty.

But is a mantra a slogan or tagline? No. A mantra is similar in that it’s a handful of small words making a short phrase, however instead of being a catchy way, to sum up, your product or service, it communicates the essence of your brand and what it represents.

Think Betty Crocker’s “Homemade Made Easy,” Disney’s “Fun Family Entertainment,” or “Authentic Athletic Performance.” All three communicate the essence and livelihood of why each brand exists, but not primarily for the public to see and adore. Mantras aim to serve businesses internally and fuel the often-asked “why?”

What Character Does Our Brand Embody?

Every great brand gives off a vibe, a character. While you have your brand embody whatever personality and character you desire, it’ll probably fall within one of 12 brand archetypes. Uber is the sleek, possibly-villainous-but-not-enough-to-alarm-you private driver whereas Lyft is the silly outgoing friend who rings the doorbell unannounced asking if you can hang out.

According to brand archetypes, Uber falls into the ‘ruler’ category. Lyft is more of a ‘jester.’ While there’s no right or wrong archetype to strive toward, your brand character and personality should speak to your target persona. After all, it wouldn’t make any sense for an artisan tequila company to take on the ‘innocent’ archetype, or for a baby supplies company to adopt the ‘explorer’ archetype.

How Will Your Brand Express Itself?

Think about some of the most trusted companies. They have established a reputation for delivering quality content on specific mediums. The SEO firm, Moz, is known for its in-depth, research-heavy blog posts and helpful user forums. Skateboard shoe company Vans is known for its stylish, engaging Instagram account that showcases skateboarding content, but also zoomed-out messaging tailored to anyone interested in the lifestyle and fashion of skate threads. After all, Vans is selling shoes to a much wider net than skateboarders these days.

Ideally, your brand’s place of expression will be the convergence of where your customers already hang out, the medium you’re best at creating on, and where your brand naturally likes to be.

What Outcome Are We Providing?

If you think your company will flourish because you provide a product or service, you’re mistaken. These things matter, but more importantly, the outcome that your product or service yields will be the ultimate driver of your brand and ability to resonate in customers’ minds.

For example, HotelsByDay offers day rooms, but the outcome they provide is convenience and relaxation for travellers dealing with stress and fatigue. A refuelled mental state is the company’s outcome, not their service of being able to book a day room at a hotel.

Ask yourself these five questions to gauge your brand’s strength, and then make the necessary adjustments in the areas you’re lacking flavor. Honing a brand strategy takes time, but it’s also important to remember that a good brand is never done being built. You could create a buzz upon launching, but without continually investing time to make sure your brand voice, goals, and follow-through align, it’s easy to return to irrelevance. And in some ways, that’s the exciting part.

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