The first step in learning how to build a brand is to acknowledge that a true brand is more than a logo, more than a name. A brand is a dynamic, breathing thing that evolves and grows. It lives, it connects, it touches, it evokes, and it produces. Figuring out how to build a brand means putting the magical uniqueness of your business out there in a connectable way.
The concept of what a brand truly is is often misunderstood. In his book The Brand Gap, Marty Newmeier affirms that a brand is actually “a person’s gut feeling about a product or organization.” So, how do you ignite a “gut feeling?” Decide what you want consumers to feel about you, think about you, and associate with you and your business. Products have life cycles. A live brand, though, extends beyond products or service to continue the conversation (and conversions) for your business.
How to Build a Brand: Start with Personality
Consider some of these brands with strong and distinct personalities. Old Spice doesn’t just promote deodorant – it evokes messages of masculinity, adventure, humor, and appeal. Nike sells an image of athleticism that’s up for any challenge and full of determination. Beats by Dre is young and trendy, while Dove body products evoke sentiments of beauty and softness. Think about the vodka brands Stolichnaya and Absolut. Both are selling vodka, but each of these brands are saying very different things.
Many business owners, especially small business owners, don’t know what these big brands have to do with their business. A small-town plumber isn’t trying to be the next Apple or Nike. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to know how to build a brand (or hire specialists to build it for him). Every business can benefit by growing the connection with its customers. Narrow down the fluff that can surround advertising into a focused and authentic representation of why your business is valuable.
Cue Personality. Personality undoubtedly plays a major role in the way we connect with others and build relationships. Your brand is no different. We know that introverts or shy people are valuable without being the center of attention, but in the business world, if your brand stands timidly outside the conversation circle, it will ultimately affect your bottom line.
Creating loyal customers is the purpose of learning how to build a brand, and a brand’s personality impacts everything. If your brand has no personality or no fervor, customers will treat your brand likewise: with no fervor and little loyalty. A dash of personality makes all the difference! Just check out Progressive Insurance’s bland Facebook page. They have a little over 340,000 fans. Progressive’s mascot Flo, however, has over 5 million!
How to Build a Brand: Develop the Personality
To develop your brand’s personality, start by asking yourself a few questions you’ve probably never thought of asking before:
- What’s your brand’s favorite color?
- What does it love to do on the weekends?
- What’s its favorite song?
- What does its voice sound like?
These basic questions encourage exploring who your brand is and who your brand wants to attract.
Don’t confuse brand personality with a brand’s identity… Brand identity is made up of facts. Identity is concerned with where your brand lives, what it sells and what it produces. Unfortunately, this identity is what we promote too much of the time. Businesses are great at telling the facts of what they are or what they do, but aren’t intentional with providing them a feeling for who they are. This emotive energy and personality is something we need to promote. Whether or not a business intentionally puts forth a brand personality, customers will still form their gut feelings about it. Developing your brand and its personality is the decision to actively influence this gut feeling.
Don’t just define your brand. Develop it. The personality of your brand isn’t naming a product or a price, it’s showing consumers what kind of person uses your product or service or how this makes them or their life better. Allow your brand to embody the characteristics that are authentically yours, and likewise, the characteristics that consumers want to be associated with.
How do you get your customers to feel that “gut feeling?” The answer is simple: be human. The more humanity your brand demonstrates, the easier it is for people to identify with it. Brand personality connects with the way consumers express their own personalities and define their lifestyles through association with your business. There are a few basic concepts that, when blended together, produce an emotionally evocative brand:
Learning how to build a brand isn’t too complicated. It’s really just humanity connecting with other human beings in a focused, strategized way. Customers put their faith in brands they can believe in and relate to. Don’t succumb to the pressure to build a brand that tries to be all things to all people. It’s okay (better) to narrow your focus, and develop a brand personality that acutely represents your business, as well as what your target audience is looking to experience, feel and ultimately be. A secondary definition for “brand” is an identifying mark. So don’t be afraid to jump into this “how to build a brand adventure.” Breathe life into your brand. Speak up. Leave your mark.