5 Things To Build A Strong Brand
After working intimately with clients during a time of economic uncertainty and major cultural change, a pattern emerged. Those that prioritized brand values above all else separated those who thrived and those who began to spin out of control. Short term thinking can easily overtake long term brand development as emergency measures are put into place. Below are five important things one should know in order to continue to build a strong brand for long term success.
- Prioritize the brand’s long term vision – The short term can become the focus when unexpected needs arise. These needs can be prompted by both successes and emergencies but if they are approached with a short term lens, which may alleviate some immediate needs, they can ultimately come back around and produce bigger challenges down the road.
- Growth starts with incremental decisions that support the overall mission – Building off of our first point, keeping focus on what the big picture will help make incremental decisions more efficient by prioritizing efforts that support the larger brand mission. All to often minute details are fussed over at the cost of brand development.
- Talk the talk, walk the walk, then talk about the walk – Brands are expected to act on their stated values. The next evolution is for brands to reflect and report on their brand value initiatives, assess points of success and set a path for improvement. A great recent example of this is Chipotle’s Real Foodprint tracker. From day one they stated their purpose to sustainably provide “real food” to change the world. Over the years they’ve told this story in all brand touchpoints, and now they’re measuring and reporting on it.
- You cannot be all things to all people – Trying to be all things to all people results in a brand that doesn’t stand for anything. Brands need to be honest with who & what they are and are not. Understanding and accepting the role your company plays in peoples’ lives will help define the way you can authentically connect.
- Look for opportunities to lead in moments of crisis. – During culture change and uncertainty, people are looking for leadership and understanding. This is a great time for brands to support their community through empathy and compassion. For example during the early months of COVID, swimwear brand, Summersalt, listened to how their community was feeling via the brand’s social media channels. After they read that customers said they were feeling down they transformed their regular customer service channels into an opportunity to provide emotional support through a free text message service, they named “Joycast”. It gave their community a chance to reach out if they needed a mood boost and someone from their “customer happiness” team would send over a 10-minute meditation video, self-care ideas, or a puppy GIF. The hotline was an extension of the brand’s purpose, “Hardworking travel wear designed to keep up with you.” It supported its audience outside of a product transaction, redefining “keeping up with you” in a way that was authentic, needed & topical (Fast Company).
Brand values create a foundation for leadership and employees to check if short term thinking aligns with long term purpose during times of crisis and success. The prioritization of values can lead to smarter decisions, focused marketing and a better return on investment by ensuring that your brand is communicating with your audience at the right time and in a way that’s authentic.
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