How to build a strong brand
The vast majority of companies, especially in the start-up phase, neglect communication and marketing. It's a mistake that can be very costly in the long run and one that the basics of Marketing Communication avoid. Rather than avoiding it, it's a fact that it's a long-term asset to pay attention to it right from the start. Attention that translates into building a brand.
First, the famous marketing. The truth is that if you don't have a brand that truly represents the company, your idea is more likely to die on the beach. And why is branding so important? The brand is responsible for the perception of the long-term value of your business. Products and services can change over time. But the brand must be solid. A classic example is Apple.
One of the most common doubts entrepreneurs have is how to build a brand strong enough to survive in a competitive market. There are four pillars that a company needs to stand on in order to consolidate a brand:
- Differentiation: what I do that nobody else does (value proposition);
- Relevance: how relevant my product or service is (it's what makes the company constantly evolve);
- Ownership: what makes up the brand universe, such as the logo, colors, letteringetc;
- Consistencyhow solid the brand is. The brand remains the same, it's the business model that's being adapted.
Many entrepreneurs also confuse brand, business and communication. The terms refer to different strategies that a company can use. The brand is the long-term vision of value. It is built and lasts. Business is the strategy for your product or service, such as promoting the company to customers. Communication is what makes the company recognizable, what reinforces its distinction: the brand.
To define the brand, you need to build a genetic code for the company, which can be thought of in three dimensions:
- Value proposition, which is nothing more than its essence. It's an ongoing construction that requires defining the rational and emotional pillars that you want to work on. It's the DNA: how the brand was born and how it wants to be perceived.
- Positioning involves thinking about the target audience, the references, the market niche and the competition. Once you have all this data, you have to define what makes your company unique. In some cases, positioning can be medium-term. It's the market that will dictate this, as it compares it with the competition and must always be linked to the value proposition.
- There are three waves that have shaped the purpose of many companies over the years. The first was focused on surprising and creating awareness of the brand. In the second, companies wanted to build relevance for the world, appealing to emotional connections and value. The third is the current one, in which brands have a strong and defined purpose, with communication that seeks to engage and create an ecosystem.
To create value, you need to know where to go. The brand has to be bigger than the business and the entrepreneur has to make it even bigger. Communication and marketing can make all the difference to your company. You have to start paying attention to the brand right from the start.