Basic Branding - Steps to a Stronger Brand

Ever wondered why all the marketing fuss with branding? Have you ever asked yourself why all those huge budgets spent on branding or re-branding?

Are those companies so badly out of ideas that end up spending millions on the development of a better brand or is it something that I'm missing?

As it turns out, someone had this idea of trying to put value on brands. They came up with some terrifying numbers for the mere mortals. Some of the top world brands in 2012, Coca-Cola and Apple have their brands valued around 76 billion USD, each. Now, mind my words, I said the brand only, no other assets were valued.

Sure, they spend every year billions in advertising, they have marketing teams bigger than the entire United Nations personnel, and they have huge research departments. True, it would be difficult for anyone to argue that all these  do not matter. Though few of us have their resources, can we still apply some of their market strategies? Can we (the mere mortals) ever create brands that will sometime in the future be compared with, for instance, IBM? 

Let's see what can we do without the yearly 4 billiions advertisng budget of Coca-Cola, but with some creativity.

1. Strategy

First things first. You need a strategy for your entire marketing process. Strategy will give you direction so you will always follow your goals, will help you make better decisions. Strategy will help you talk to the right customers, the right customers that need your products and not the customers annoyed because you keep on pushing advertising campaigns. Now, your strategy does not and should not be the overcomplicated corporate strategy. Keep it simple, agile and remember you are more likely a guerilla warrior than a corporation. You have to be mobile, flexible and fast to react to the market variations.

2. Visual Identity

Sure, a logo is not a brand even though most of us just make that association. Still the very essence of a brand is to have you, the consumer, make the association between the values and emotions that advertising budgets strive to create, and the easiest element you can remember: the logo. With all the designer marketplaces available online today picking up a logo and some typo should not be a problem. There is of course the problem of the value for that logo, but that problem can appear even with large budgets and respected  designers. If you ever make it to the big league, professional agencies will start dealing with that visual identity and make the required changes. Try to be coherent, if possible original and innovative and associate that visual identity with as much as possible in your activity without being ridiculous.

3. Engage the community!

Now this is quite a challenge! In the supercompetitive times we live there is a huge hunt for users, buyers or clients and keeping them engaged. I have no intention to make this article an engagement tutorial...So do not fool yourself, having a website, facebook and twitter accounts does not mean an engaged community. You need events that your clients are interested in, you have to provide them the kind of information they want, tell them a beautiful story and actively listen to them.

4 Differentiate yourself!

By all means available differentiate yourself! You must find ways to differentiate yourself from others, be it individuals or companies. This is how customers recognize you. The risk to step out of the line is rather significant in this never-ending chase for uniqueness, and some brands have managed to surround themselves with a lot of laughter as a result of that. You'll just have to trust your instincts and take the risk, there is no safety model.


the value of brands infographic

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