The past few months have been a tumultuous array of unfortunate events. At the same time, the pandemic holds a large potential for progress and innovation, and this is a really good time to start building or branding your company.
Whether you are an entrepreneur with a dream, or a leader of a growing company, or a marketer, looking for ways to help your clients stand out, you have come to the right place.
As the leader of an innovation consultancy, I’ve helped many new brands get born, and grow exponentially. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen many fail in their endeavors, and completely dwindle down as a brand during the pandemic.
But this is a time of renewal and rebirth, and as long as you are willing to admit your failures and open to learning how to do it right, I would like to share my 5 tips on creating a successful brand, regardless of where you are currently in your expansion:
1. Find a way to reach people in an unexpected way
However incredible your idea or product is, if you fail to connect with a substantial audience, your business won’t be able to thrive. Today we have more options than ever, so getting an idea to spread should be easier than ever, right?
Unfortunately, the attention graph is inverse as choices grow, and as marketers, we have far smaller chances of reaching people. Doing the same things your competitors are doing will not cut it. Learn from them to get started, but experiment along the way. Be unexpected. Be unique. Be you.
2. Focus on the people who are listening
Time and time again I see brands and marketers make the same mistake. They think of their market as everyone who is out there! As any good dating coach will tell you, if you try to get every girl, you’ll end up with none – or worse, many girls you don’t even like.
The key to successful branding is – customers. It’s a natural human tendency to go for numbers, but you have to resist the urge and choose a niche of few instead of many. Focus on what your real buyers like and what they are interested in. Your goal should be to connect with them through all your marketing and branding efforts. Don’t take it personally if the broader audience cannot relate. They simply don’t matter.
Uber’s campaign telling Lyft drivers to “shave the stache”, Lyft’s logo.
3. It’s not about how much you advertise, it’s about how you do it
Behind every strong brand is an even stronger story. That’s what advertising is – telling your story through verbal and visual messages. How you distribute the message is also important, but not more important than the message itself.
And, since the goal of advertising is to grow your audience, if you can find a way to get others to share your story with others, you will hit the target twice. My favorite example by far is Dropbox’s strategy for free storage – so simple yet so genius.
4. Be bold when branding
Standing out as a brand is not easy, but it’s even more difficult in the digital world. You need to be bold and brave in order to get noticed. In Seth Godin’s words: The riskiest thing to do is to not take risks.
Do you have an idea for a post or ad you are a little skeptical about? Is it a bit too funny, compared to your previous posts and ads? Go for it. In a place as crowded as social media, anything unremarkable is forgotten, so if the “risky” message doesn’t catch on it will be long forgotten by the time you even know it. But if you want your ideas to spread, you have to keep trying to stand out enough to be remembered. Be thought-provoking, be bold, and you shall be rewarded.
Carlsberg’s campaign promoting the launch of new, premium beers.
5. When branding – speak about the people, not to them
The most common mistake I find in the digital world is the outdated “TV” approach where the brand poses as a salesman and tells the audience why they should buy. In the world of social media, those messages just do not work.
Today, marketing is all about the image and emotion, and the messages that translate best are those that imitate the voice of the people. Your messages should sound like the subconscious voice that every one of your customers has, the magical voice that actually makes them buy things even when they don’t consciously know why. Have fun with your messages. Focus less on selling and more on creating an experience. Focus less on selling, and more or being relatable.
Growing our brand is difficult but launching a brand from scratch is even harder. Remember to give your brand a fun-loving and relatable personality, and tell a story that people will love enough to share it with others. And if you are stuck on where and how to start, consider consulting an expert. Helping over 40 companies launch and grow has taught us a thing or two.
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