Key components and lasting influence of a memorable brand
July 16, 2020
In its simplest form, branding is the practice of influencing and controlling a set of associations with a company to help the business’s performance. Done successfully, an organization’s identity will be tied to select attributes—promoting its image or popularity.
While absolute control over a brand is not possible, it can be influenced through deliberate design, advertising, and marketing. By these means, companies can clearly communicate the principles they stand for to target audiences. Considering the power of this practice, it’s crucial that an organization masters the pillars of creating a strong brand to get ahead.
It differentiates you from competitors by helping you achieve recognition and clarifies expectations for customers. The key is in highlighting the contrast between what you can offer and what already exists in the market.
Effective branding elevates a product or organization by adding unique character and promise. In crafting an emotional resonance, the brand forms a lasting image in the minds of consumers.
For example, Coca-Cola places emphasis on the lifestyle it associates with its drink. In its advertisements, purchasing coke is described as adopting an experience — it’s an act that brings family and friends together, encourages sharing, and brings happiness. By placing the distinction on an emotional state of being, Coca-Cola ensures that the brand is universal, comprehended across all cultures and languages.
People love to tell others about the brands they like; it generates referrals. Additionally, people generally tend to do business with companies they’re more familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel comfortable at ease purchasing your products and services.
Starbucks is a great example— despite the countless cafés in the world to grab a cup of coffee, many millennials consider it a staple of daily tradition. The emphasis on classy design, a cozy atmosphere, friendly staff, and fast service provides a consistent experience around coffee consumption no matter which store a customer is in. This has created a loyal following among its consumers with 31,256 stores worldwide, a figure that has about doubled in the last decade.
Many employees need more than just work — they need something to work toward. A strongly branded company helps build commitment. When employees understand the mission of a business and its reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals the business owner has set. A clear brand strategy tells your employees how to act, how to win, and how to meet the organization’s goals.
“Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. So to represent that feeling, we’ve created a symbol for us as a community.” — Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO
A successful instance of this would be Airbnb’s collaboration with DesignStudio in elevating the company’s brand. Coining the “Belong Anywhere” campaign, the brand studio conceptualized it acting as a unifying internal and external communication platform for the business. With the new proposition, Airbnb elevated beyond other hospitality companies and disrupted the travel industry, evolving into a multi-billion dollar business with community at its heart.
What’s the elevator pitch for your brand? You need to be able to explain it in a few words and make a compelling reason for your stakeholders to buy into it. People will need to buy what your brand stands for.
These are the drivers of strategic initiatives. Externally, it’s what we experience when we consume the brand. Internally, it is the most important competencies that will be consistent across our offering.
Think about what you’d like the brand personality or character to be. This is how the brand connects with audiences and wants to be perceived.