Once people realize the power of branding and what it means to have an established, respected brand, they begin to consider the paths and methods necessary to build a brand of their own, something that is more than a picture and a slogan. A brand that draws people in, turns occasional customers into raving fans, and gives them the right message to get more potential customers engaged.
So what is this process? How does a company take a brand from concept to market success? In a sentence, branding is all about communicating value in a way elicits a consistently engaged market response. The most important word in that sentence is “consistently,” because brand building is a process. It takes time, solid information, good strategy, patience, and skill.
Brand building is not just about ideals or superlatives. There are certain specific elements that allow marketers and brand managers to set goals and apply metrics to evaluate the process. Each of these metrics are involved in and connected to each step of the process in some way.
But what is that process? Brand building in five clear and simple steps. Notice, it’s not “easy” to build a brand. Clear, yes. Simple, for the most part. But easy? Not by a long shot. Brand building is hard, and success will require hard work… and a whole lot more.
Step 1: Scout the Competition
Before building a plan for the new brand, smart marketers look at what the competition is doing, and where they’re having success. Who are they marketing to? Why? How are they connecting with them? What are people saying about those brands, and how would that be useful in the rollout of the new brand?
Step 2: Decide on the Target Market
Even with mass marketing, there should be a clear and defined target audience for the brand pitch. Find out what these people want, what they need, and how they want that delivered. Then determine how the brand in question can or should meet those felt needs better than the competition.
Step 3: Craft the Vision and Mission
The mission of the brand building process should complement the overall vision of the company, and the mission of the brand should be to meet the needs determined in step one in a way that engages the audience and creates a profitable position for the brand in the marketplace.
Step 4: Communicate Unique Value
Anytime anyone is planning to bring a new product or service to the marketplace, they need to take time clearly and concisely articulating their unique value or unique selling proposition. Customers are not going to do that work on their own. They’re going to see the brand and react… or not. Smart marketers get good answers to “what will be said” and “how will they react” before launching a new brand.
Step 5: Craft the Message Approach and Tone
Now that it’s been decided what the new brand will be, who it will appeal to, and how that will be communicated, it’s time to determine the guidelines for how the product will be introduced to and managed in the market. Some branding campaigns are serious, others are tongue in cheek. Some focus on features and benefits. Others stick to catchy jingles, memorable characters, or silly vignettes. Finding the best approach and tone will be determined by the product, the target market, the vision of the company, the mission of the brand, and the response the campaign is intended to create.