Let’s face it. Marketing ain’t easy, is it?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ve probably spent tons of time reading blog posts, watching videos, listening to marketing podcasts and praying for a larger audience. It’s totally understandable.
But for some reason, you just don’t seem to be connecting with your audience the way you would like to. And you’re probably wishing you could get more engagement from the audience that you do have.
It’s not an easy problem to solve. And you’re not the only entrepreneur who is dealing with it.
So what’s the solution?
The solution lies in your branding efforts. If you want more engagement with those you wish to do business with, you have to build the strongest brand in your space.
Of course, having a successful brand is easier said than done, isn’t it? Some brands are just “stickier” than others. This is the case for a number of reasons.
In this article, I’m going to outline seven different traits that your brand needs to have. If you can get your brand to embody these traits, then you will enjoy a much better connection with your audience.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the general traits that successful brands consistently have, traits that you should keep in mind while you’re building your brand.
Brand Characteristics that Make Your Brand Stand Out
Trait 1: A Successful Brand Has Purpose
What do people look for when they want to connect with a company’s story? They’re looking for purpose. They may not be aware of it, but prospects are looking for some motivating factor that they have in common with you. They need something to connect with.
Nowadays, people have a lot of choice in most fields about where they want to spend their money, and often the only thing that may differentiate you from competitors is your sense of mission. This means that your purpose should be clear and easy to understand.
Your brand’s purpose needs to be expressed whenever and wherever you can express it. For example, if you are a coffee shop that focuses on using only sustainable ingredients, you might tell post infographics on your social media accounts, You might print facts about the rainforest on your cups. This way, they can connect with you and become more passionate about buying from you. Your brand can, in a small way, become part of their identity.
Trait 2: A Successful Brand is Agile
Don’t think that customers’ tastes will stay the same for long. The world is always changing, isn’t it? This means that your brand needs to be able to change with the times. Your brand needs to be able to keep up with the evolution of the surrounding culture. Observe old brands like Coke that have struggled dealing with a changing landscape in the past. Don’t make their mistakes.
Make sure that, regardless of what size your business is, that all of the leadership from top to bottom is on board with being flexible. Don’t fight change; welcome it, and make sure that your company can, too. The more nimble your brand is, the better.
Trait 3: A Successful Brand is Unique
Again, in most fields, you won’t be the only one offering your widgets for sale. You need something that will differentiate you from the next company. For example, Apple consistently makes big money in the saturated electronics field simply because they are able to brand their products as unique. Just like Apple, you want to identify your ideal customer and build the brand around them. You want to present a mission that they can get behind and even create a community that they can feel like they’re a part of.
What this means is that you can’t always be everything to everyone; sometimes you will have to carve out a micro-niche and serve a very specific sector of the customer-base. Yes, you will have a smaller pool of prospects this way, but your customers will be unusually loyal, and they will seek you out without your having to draw them in, since they will know that you’re the only one who can provide what they’re looking for.
Trait 4: A Successful Brand is Consistent
Think about the last political rant you heard on TV against a specific politician. Chances are, much of the criticism aimed their way was about how they were “wishy-washy” or hypocritical.
Nobody likes a flip-flopper, right?
People hate it when other people are inconsistent and unpredictable, when they say one thing, then change their minds and say another. It causes them to lose trust.
The same is true with your brand. If you don’t stick to one main idea, people will lose the feeling of trust and consistency that they associate with your brand very quickly. You want to stand for something, and keep that image without faltering.
In addition, be sure that your company “walks the talk” and that your actions are in line with your goals. Don’t pay lip service to environmental causes, and then have your CEO fly around in a private jet, for example — that sort of hypocrisy goes viral very quickly.
A good example of a company who manages a very consistent image is Zappos. Their core mission is to produce happiness, and this reflects very clearly in the way they treat their customers and employees. Their customer service is known to be some of the best in the business, and this is why they have so many repeat customers.
Trait 5: A Successful Brand Tells Stories
In order to appear like human beings behind a company, instead of faceless automatons, it’s important to have a story behind your business. Storytelling is what will breed a feeling of true familiarity, and it is remarkably effective at generating trust.
You will have many stories you will need to manage, from the one you tell about your mission, to the stories that you release to the media. Having stories to associate with your brand makes it stick in the mind of your customer more permanently.
Trait 6: A Successful Brand is Simple
Keep the message that your brand is trying to convey as simple as possible. When people see your logo, they should have a gut reaction where they instinctively understand more or less what you’re about; it shouldn’t even have to be a conscious thought on their part. If a brand is too hard to figure out, your potential customers will merely ignore you, and that’s the worst that can happen.
For example, think about Nike. The entire meaning of their brand — the idea of pushing beyond one’s limits and breaking through in spite of trying odds — is summarized easily in three words: Just do it. This is elegant simplicity at its finest. And it’s insanely effective. Shoot for a simplicity similar to this in order to help your customers remember you better.
Trait 7 A Successful Brand is Engaging
Part of getting the attention of your customers these days is to make your marketing strategies engaging and interactive. People want to connect and influence the evolution of your brand; they don’t want to be talked at and overtly sold to. Because of this, it’s a great idea to exploit social media as much as you can and interact with your audience.
Make posts about different events and stories that have to do with your brand, and even comment and “like” the posts of the people who are following you. Answer questions if people ask. This will help your company seem more “real,” and less like some robotic corporation.
These are just a few traits of some of the more successful brands, and the main overall idea to keep in mind is that people just want to be able to relate to a company before they buy. They want to see a bit of themselves in your brand, so make sure to show them that. Allow your brand to become part of their routine and their identity, and you may just have a customer for life.
Slot Machine Photo via Shutterstock
More in: Branding