A brand is a promise, an experience and a trusted friend.
A brand is an experience we keep going back to because it makes us feel good. It says something about who we are. It is a promise that we are reminded of by smells, sounds, touch, taste and visuals (image). Brand developers know that you find or create your brand or a brand will be created for you.
Here are 5 branding rules.
- Your promise needs to be unique and bold
Your customers expect honesty, fast reliable service, quality goods and friendliness—by the way that is the same thing your competition has to offer. Tell them something that your competition is not telling them. And do not tell them about your family—I am not going to buy your services because you show me your happy family. I am sure business owners copied this advertising tactic from politicians because that is basic political advertising—“Show the family.” This is supposed to translate into “I’m honest.” By the way, honest people do not say, “I’m honest,” so don’t do it in your advertising. Don’t do it.
- Find or create your brand
Be a brand developer not someone who wanders what happened. Our experience has been that brands are discovered or they are created or allowed to develop on their own. Letting your brand develop on it’s own is a sure plan for disaster. Discovery is a process of questioning your customer base and finding out why they do business with you. You will be surprised. Homestead Creamy found that customers preferred their product for the simple reason that it 'Tastes the way milk should taste.'
The second method is to create your brand. FedEx and Maytag are good examples of this. In the 1970’s FedEx was one of five ‘courier delivery services’ when they started but they were the first one’s to make a bold promise—“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” All five of the existing delivery services could have made this claim but it was FedEx that claimed this position first (be first or be different) and they are considered the premier on-time delivery service today. Can you visualize a FedEx truck? That’s good design. (Design is a critical element in brand building.)
Maytag’s management decided that they wanted the position of reliability. Management asked engineering and product development to design a washing machine that would not breakdown (at least for 10 years). Advertising created “the loneliest repairman in town.” Learn more about developing a brand
- Brands (promises) have to be simple and clear
“When it rains, it pours”
“Be all that you can be”
“You deserve a break today”
“Good to the last drop”
“It’s the real thing”
“We’ll leave a light on for you”
“The best or nothing”
Some of these branding statements are very old. How many do you still know?
- Brands are consistent
Starbucks baristas are always engaging, even when they don’t feel like it. Chic-fil-A makes every experience what you expected or better. Small businesses and individual stores can do an even better job of delivering the brand and creating excitement and loyalty from customers. Know what makes you different and focus on it. It is easier for small businesses so do it and grow.
- Brands are constant at every touch point
Brands are consistent in their design, colors, environments, logo use, uniforms, truck graphics, advertising and everything that the customer touches when dealing with the brand. Your brand is more than all of these elements but the visual conveys the message quicker and that is part of the reason we still ‘buy with our eyes.’ Design is powerful!
A brand is a promise delivered. Create your brand.
About Ken Gasque
Ken Gasque is a brand image-maker, marketing planner and designer. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services to stand out in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing—his work reflects his belief that “We buy with our eyes.” Ken writes and lectures on brands, design, images and brand development. www.gasque.com