Building your brand successfully

How can you strengthen and sustain your brand in the long term, while generating success in the short term? Many companies are struggling with this. I’m going to help you – in seven blogs.

New commercial processes are becoming increasingly complex, due to extensive digitisation. And by this. I not only mean the wide variety of social media that can be used, but also the fact that the customer of a product or service has become much more outspoken, and expectations are therefore higher. ‘Cowboy behaviour’ is severely punished. This may be the reason why brand-driven organisations are markedly more successful.

This blog is an introduction; it is the first of the seven-piece series. Step by step, I will explain how to build a strong brand. Are you with me?

Become a lovemark!
It is no longer the sole domain of the marketing department, but an actual assignment for the entire organisation: we are the brand! I call it a brand promise. What do you promise? Do you live up to this promise? If you can rock this, your brand becomes a lovemark*. Lovemarks make people love the brand, close it in their hearts and keep it there. You understand that this is very positive for sales and long-term success and growth. Lovemarks offer value for money, because they not only inspire, but also do what they promise. The best example, currently, is Coolblue. Really, they got everything right!

Note that what works for one brand, is not guaranteed to work for the other. So, my advice is always: stay close to yourself and don’t look too much at others. If you look too much at others, the result will look forced, and people won’t buy into it.

Can every company or organisation be brand-driven?
People often think that this is only important for larger commercial companies. But it is certainly not. Because this concept generates more revenue and growth, commercial companies are more sensitive to this approach. But you can also see that more and more charitable, cultural, educational and governmental institutions are facing the same issue. We need to do something with our brand, but what?

These organisations are not concerned with turnover, but with growth and continuity. Building a brand is not only for complete organisations; it can also be applied by a department that strives to achieve a certain positioning, or by a person (personal branding) or for a new product. For example, Anceaux Marketing’s brand promise model has been used to successfully market a new product.

How to become a brand-driven organisation?
To turn a brand into a popular brand requires quite a lot of work. It starts by enabling the entire organisation to be THE BRAND; with other words, what you say on the outside (think of marketing and communication), should also be true on the inside. Otherwise, it’s all done for nothing.

In brief, the steps of building a strong brand in a row:

Building a brand promise
This is your brand strategy, a company’s right to exist.

–  What is the mission?

–  What are the core values?

–  What distinguishes it from other suppliers?

–  Who is it for?

I will discuss this in depth in the second blog of this series. This is the foundation of a company, and therefore of crucial importance.

Carry this out company-wide at all levels
Again, it is of the utmost importance to implement the brand promise on all levels of the organisation. Employees should be inspired and must want to contribute to realising the brand promise. It is stated that only 20% of the brand experience comes from marketing and communication, and 80% from behaviour. Winning externally, starting internally

We will discuss this in depth in the third blog. .

Create a comprehensive customer analysis
A brand promise is intended to clarify what the company stands for and who it is aimed at. Now it is important to find out more about who is ‘who’. There are different ways of doing this, either separately or in conjunction. Examples: analytics, mapping customer journeys and/or creating personas.

I will go into this in more depth in the fourth blog of this series.

Branding: create a consistent content strategy
Following on from the previous steps, the content strategy comes into play. What will be the brand image? In look & feel and in text. What channels are used to convey this message? It must be in line with the brand promise at all times – consistently communicating the right message.

In my fifth blog, I’ll tell you a lot more about this.

Build brand supporting campaigns
What I often see with large, but certainly also with smaller companies, is that campaigns are like loose sand. It would be much better, within the framework of building a strong brand, if campaigns were brand-supporting and formed part of the branding. It becomes even more complicated if there is no build-up for the campaign flow, and activities are carried out separately, for a quick fix. As far as I am concerned, this is a mortal sin if the goal is to become a lovemark.

I will tell you more about this in my sixth blog article, along with how to build a results-oriented campaign and achieve short-term success while working on creating a strong brand.

Evaluate and adjust when necessary
All the above steps must contribute constantly to the construction of the lovemark. One wrong step and it will be destroyed. That is why it is important to keep evaluating and adjusting the steps, separately and in connection with each other. Building a strong brand is a continuous process. A brand needs to be maintained, and requires small, sometimes large adjustments. To move with the times, without losing recognizability.

And, you must have guessed it by now, I’ll go deeper into this in the final blog of this series, number seven!

*  = Borrowed from advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi

Source: the book ‘De vijf stappen naar een betekenisvol merk’ (‘The five steps towards a meaningful brand’)