Collected from Marketing Magazine:
7 Steps in building a strong brand:
1) Start with a quality product:
To build a strong brand you must start with a quality product that delivers superior performance. All strong brands absolutely demand a superior product or service. High quality is a prerequisite to entry so don't think high quality is enough to set your brand apart from the competition.
2) Identify your brand's singular distinction, define your message, and position your brand properly in the marketplace:
Once you have a high quality product, then you must decide upon the singular distinction for your product that is most important to your target market. Are you first, best, fastest, or most luxurious in your category? If so, then you may have found your point of singular distinction. You should put a lot of thought into choosing your brand's singular distinction because everything you do will reinforce your singular distinction in your market's mind in some way. An interesting thing to know is that many times the first brand in a category emerges as the category leader and can enjoy that leadership position for years and years. If your brand is not first in your category then create a new category so you can position your brand to be first in that category. Being first in your category is often a positioning strategy that allows your brand to be the leader in your category for many years. Federal Express was not the first package delivery company so they invented a new category--overnight package delivery. Not only were they the first brand in overnight shipping but they continue to be the leader in that category. Your brand must make people feel better, be faster, do something much better, or deliver a perceived quality of lifestyle much higher than competitive brands. Take the time to understand your category and then position your brand in some manner that makes it very distinctive within the category. Own a word or phrase When defining your message, try to own a single word or short phrase in the mind of the market. Coca-Cola® owns "the real thing". Volvo® owns "safe". Miller Lite® owns "less filling, tastes great". Federal Express owns the word "overnight". If somebody else in your category already owns the word, choose a different word. The chances are that word is firmly etched in the mind of the target market and they associate it with your competitor's brand. You are not very likely to change that impression regardless of how much money, time, and effort you put into trying to take over ownership of that word. The strongest brands that exist today are strong because they stay focused on that one aspect of singular distinction. Once you try to position your brand to be many different things to many different people, then your brand begins to not really mean much of anything to anyone. Positioned properly, your brand will enjoy a leadership position in your market.
3) Tap into emotion:
Develop accessible attributes for your brand. Your brand should readily tap into your target market's psyche and evoke an emotional response.
4) Build the image:
Visually, verbally, and through your actions you need to build the message you are trying to create about your company's value. Choose or create a memorable name for your brand. Create a visually effective logo. Write a tagline or slogan for the brand that concisely captures the essence of your unique selling proposition. Your brand should communicate through all marketing channels with one voice, in the same tone, in the same style. In other words, your brand image must remain constant across all channels of communication.
5) Market the image:
Projecting the image of your brand should be carried out among all contact points with your market. This means your name, logo, advertising, and all marketing communications materials should communicate your USP and consistently communicate your brand's message. Don't forget about your website, mailings, sponsorships, and events. Your branding effort must permeate your entire organization. The CEO, the customer service staff, the sales force, the people who ship your product, and the people who sweep the floors at night must all know and demonstrate your brand's singular distinction at every touch point with your market.
6) Live the message:
You need to deliver on the promise you make to your market. Whatever your brand image, positioning statement, or unique selling proposition, you have made promises to your market that you must deliver on. Remember, your brand is nothing more and nothing less than these promises and you must deliver on these promises in the mind of your market. Everyone in your organization must be trained to think from a brand perspective. All employees who have contact with prospects and customers should speak and act in a way that is consistent with your brand's values. Brand Advice as Sagveien 17 0459 Oslo Telefon 22 80 52 00 Telefaks 22 80 52 09 www.brand-advice.com
You'll know your organization is working together to build a strong brand when there is an underlying sense that your employees act based upon what is in the best interest of the brand rather than in their own self-interest or in the interest of their departments. Tell everyone in your organization that the one yardstick for evaluating every decision will be whether or not the decision is made by answering the question: "What is best for the brand?". The customer's experience must meet or exceed your brand's claims and promises of value. When your entire organization is clear about your brand's values and promises and everyone in your organization works together to build a strong brand, your market will notice and their image of your company will be consistent with your brand identity. Your brand can deliver an enormous sense of satisfaction and enjoyment to your employees--but only if they treat it right.
7) Measure your brand equity against the competition and continue to build and refine your brand:
The only way to know how well you are doing in your branding effort is to measure your brand equity against your competition at frequent intervals. This can be accomplished through a variety of market research methods such as conducting market surveys, analyzing the price premium your brand can enjoy, studying the sustainability of your brand, and conducting focus group research. Brand equity is constantly changing just as society's values, perceptions, and intelligence are changing. You must understand the equity your brand has in the market and also understand how your brand's image measures up against the identity you are trying to create. When the image you have in the marketplace is not consistent with the image you are trying to create for your brand, then you must refine your branding strategy and project the newly refined identity. Branding is a continuous process of communicating with your market. When you build and manage your brand properly, your brand will be pay you large dividends and your brand will be the most valuable asset you own.