There is no one definition that actually captures the essence of brand building in its entirety. Many people think that brand building is all about communicating and exposing your brand. That is just one side of it. The best way we can define it is that it is a process of creating value to consumers. It encompasses all things that consumers know, feel, and experience about your business in its entirety.
Having defined brand building, we shall now look at 3 popular types of brands and what they stand for.
Service brand- this brand is built on knowledge, culture, and experience that one has with the service delivering agency/company/people. Think of Geek Squad or Molly Maid.
Retail brand- this brand is built on a mixture of products and service experience. Think of Chick-fil-a, Kroger, or KFC
Product brand- is built on the experience that one has with a specific product. Think of Nike, Ford, or Sony.
Having looked at the 3 popular types of brands, we shall now proceed to look at steps involved in brand building.
The first stage in brand building is defining your brand. This is a very critical step as it ultimately determines what your brand truly stands for. When defining your business brand, you should create a checklist of its core strengths. Similarly, if you’re defining a personal brand, you should look at the skills and expertise that you possess especially those which stand out. On the same token, you also need to know what your brand stands for and what is important for your brand (brand values). Your values should in one way or another show that you are contributing to environmental, social, and economic well-being of consumers. You may not realize some of these important aspects of brand building immediately, until you look at them objectively.
Before embarking on brand building, you have to take time to differentiate it so that you can attract customers attention and stand out from competitors. To differentiate your brand, you have to create a unique advantage in the mind of consumers not merely getting attention by brand building colors or logos or other superficial elements. Once you come up with a unique value proposition, you should use a good branding strategy to position your brand in a way that will help consumers see and appreciate the greater value of your brand over competing ones in the market.
As I indicated earlier, brand building is not a one off thing. Building a unique and powerful personal or business brand takes time and consistency. To build your personal brand, you have to keep reinforcing your values and skills by taking up new roles and assignments that will give you more exposure. Alternatively, you can use promotional channels, blogs, forums, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to create a voice for your personal or business brand.
When building your brand, you should also endeavor to develop brand personality (what people know, think, and say about you). This is what drives or motivates people to identify with and engage with your brand. The truth is; if you execute your brand building strategies consistently, then you will easily establish a pattern that will forever be associated with your brand name.
If you want your brand building campaign or brand to be successful, then you have to personalize it. It is important to give your brand an identity. Let consumers see and experience the personality of your brand in its entirety. Look at your brand as something that a consumer wants to identify with pretty much as they would with their favorite cars, cellphones, or computers.
As you engage in brand building, you should also invite customers to be co-creators of brand values so that they can feel that they also own it and relate with it. Top brands encourage consumer-brand interaction by personalizing products to meet the needs and preferences of consumers. When you personalize your brand, you give consumers reason to participate and engage with your brand for a lifetime.
Your brand is not static; it will go through a range of motions in its lifetime. Depending on your brand strategies, your brand will either grow in strength, or remain dormant, or recede with time. In the brand cycle, new events, changes, and circumstances bring challenges and opportunities to enhance the value of your brand or re-establish it. All these possibilities should give you the impetus to take charge of your brand building activities.
As your brand name grows, so do the responsibilities and expectations to continue with brand building. The best way of ensuring brand growth is reviewing your activities and evaluating your successes through metrics such as levels of brand awareness and levels of engagements. Regular reviews will help you seize and exploit new opportunities while upholding your commitment to remain true to your vision and brand strategy. It will also help you steer your brand in the right direction and keep it relevant as you move into the future.