Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. It’s what sets you apart from the competition, it’s what allows you to command a premium price, and it’s what attracts customers to your web site or front door. Whether you are building a business brand, product brand, or your own personal brand, the basic elements are always the same.
In order to create value for your customers and stakeholders, and to differentiate yourself from the competition, here are three basic elements to follow when building your brand: clarity, consistency and constancy. These are also known as the “three C’s of branding”.
Be clear about what your business or personal brand stands for and what your promise is to your customer. Think about why you are in business, what makes you different, and what you want to be known for. As Gail Hyatt said, “people lose their way when they lose their why.”
Volvo makes it very clear that one of its core values is safety and this is communicated internally to employees as well as externally to all potential and existing customers.
Be consistent in everything you do from your tone of voice to your brand attributes, the customer’s experience of your brand, the use of your logo and even your brand’s colour palette. These are all important elements in building your brand.
Think about how you want to be personified or reflected. Do you want your brand to be formal or casual, young or mature, cool or traditional? Whatever you decide you need to make sure you are consistent on all fronts.
Even without the company name it is easy to recognise the golden arches of McDonald’s, the Nike swoosh, or the bird illustration used by Twitter. This is because the logos or symbols are used consistently in all advertising, business stationery, store frontage, product packaging or uniforms. If you are in the service business you also need to ensure that your customer service is consistent at all locations and channels.
Remember to make sure that your potential and existing target market is getting access to your brand message on a regular basis. Even though people are bombarded by messages everyday you need to ensure that you are not forgotten. Keep your brand visible in the market place whether it’s through product placement, distribution, advertising, word of mouth, or on social media for example. Your effort will be rewarded over time.
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So, whether you are or working on building your personal brand, or your company’s brand, remember to ask yourself if your brand fulfills the “three C’s of branding”.
If you want more information on building your brand read “How to Create a Consistent Image for Your Brand”.