Brand building is an integral aspect of personal and business development. It not only increases consumer voice and awareness of a brand, but also gives it identity and value. The advent of participatory and interactive platforms has given many businesses the opportunity to enhance brand awareness and brand equity. If you have been thinking about creating a personal or business brand (in spanish: creación de marca), it is important to know that branding requires a great deal of time and resources. In the following section, we will define brand building and also look at different types of brands and the steps to create a successful brand.
What is brand building?
There is no definition that really captures the essence of brand building in its entirety. Many people think that brand building is about communicating and exposing your brand. That's only one side. The best way to define it is that it is a process of creating value for consumers. It encompasses all the things consumers know, feel and experience about your business as a whole.
Having defined brand building, we will now look at 3 popular types of brands and what they represent.
Service brand: this brand is based on the knowledge, culture and experience one has with the agency/company/people providing the service. Think Geek Squad or Molly Maid.
Retail brand: this brand is based on a combination of product and service experience. Think Chick-fil-a, Kroger or KFC.
Product brand: this is based on one's experience with a specific product. Think Nike, Ford or Sony.
Having examined the 3 popular types of brands, we will now proceed to analyze the steps involved in building a brand.
1) Define your brand
The first stage in brand building is to define your brand. This is a very critical step as it ultimately determines what your brand actually represents. When defining your business brand, you should create a checklist of your core strengths. Similarly, if you are defining a personal brand, you should consider the skills and experience you possess, especially those that stand out. Similarly, you also need to know what your brand stands for and what is important to your brand (brand values). Your values should show in one way or another that you are contributing to the environmental, social and economic well-being of consumers. You may not realize some of these important aspects of brand building right away, until you look at them objectively.
2) Differentiate and position your brand
Before embarking on building a brand, you should take some time to differentiate it so that it can attract attention and stand out from the competition. To differentiate your brand, you must create a unique advantage in the minds of consumers and not simply draw attention to brand building colors or logos or other superficial elements. Once you come up with a unique value proposition, you must use a good branding strategy to position your brand in a way that helps consumers see and appreciate the greater value of your brand over competitors in the marketplace.
3) Build and expose your brand
As I indicated earlier, brand building is not a one-off. Building a unique and powerful personal or business brand takes time and consistency. To build your personal brand, you must continue to reinforce your values and skills by taking on 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) and printing and lettering (imprenta y rotulación) to create a voice for your personal or business brand.
When building your brand, you should also strive to develop brand personality (what people know, think and say about you). This is what drives or motivates people to identify and interact with your brand. The truth is; If you execute your brand building strategies consistently, then you will easily establish a pattern that will be forever associated with your brand.
4) Personalize your brand
If you want your brand building campaign or brand to be successful, you must personalize it. It is important to give your brand an identity. Let consumers see and experience your brand personality in its entirety. Consider your brand as something a consumer wants to identify with in much the same way they would their favorite cars, cell phones or computers.
As you engage in brand building, you should also invite customers to be co-creators of the brand's values so they can feel that they also own and relate to the brand. The best brands encourage consumer-brand interaction by customizing products to meet consumer needs and preferences. When you personalize your brand, you give consumers reasons to engage and interact with your brand for life.
5) Review your brand
Your brand is not static; it will go through a variety of movements during its lifetime. Depending on your branding strategies, your brand will either grow in strength or remain dormant or regress over 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 of 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 for continued brand development. The best way to ensure brand growth is to review your activities and evaluate your successes through metrics such as brand awareness levels and engagement levels. Periodic reviews will help you seize and exploit new opportunities while maintaining your commitment to staying true to your brand vision and strategy. It will also help you steer your brand in the right direction and maintain its relevance as you move into the future.
As you can see, brand building is not a one-off. You have to define your brand, differentiate it, present and review what your brand stands for from time to time. It is very important to be clear about your branding strategies and how you are going to implement them. You should also adopt branding strategies that add value to your consumers and help them develop the right impression of your company and what it really stands for.