Chapstick, McDonald's, Disney- What do these all have in common? They're all globally recognized brands. Even just reading their names probably brought to mind specific memories or feelings. Children can often recognize the branding of a business before they are old enough to read. It's that kind of branding that truly makes a company stand out. But how did these brands become global powerhouses? It's not something that happens overnight. With a little work, and a lot of planning, you can create a brand that's easily remembered.
Sure, there are going to be other businesses in the same niche as you. That's okay. To make your brand stand apart, find out what makes you different from everyone else. Use your company values, personality, and promise to find out your unique difference. In a recent interview with the American Marketing Association, Soon Yu gives some great advice on how to find your key point of difference, "Think about it: If you left the room, what fragrance do you leave? What would people remember about you? What would be your signature? If the brand isn't there, what do I remember about that brand? If that signature can be an embodiment of your key point of difference, you are kicking some butt."
Though they have made changes and adapted their products, most companies with stellar branding keep their core business model the same. The old saying goes, "If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it." This is true for your branding. It's fine, and even expected, for your brand to evolve over time. However, you want to keep what sets you apart consistent. If you are a boutique that is known for edgy, over-the-top fashion, stick with it. Don't change just for the sake of changing. Stay true to your brand and you will be rewarded in the long run.
It's easy to forget that people don't have to be attached to your product to be attached to your brand. People become attached to the emotions that they associate with a brand. That's what keeps them coming back. There are so many different ways to create this type of emotion. Funny colloquialisms, charitable involvement, nostalgia–all of these can create an attachment to your brand that has almost nothing to do with your product, but it makes your brand feel human. Consumers want to believe that businesses aren't just in it to make a buck. They want to know that the money they spend will go to something more.
Creating a company is just the beginning. It is the brand and culture that you create around your company that will allow it to thrive throughout the years. Give people a reason to love your brand, and the rest will fall into place.
Jamie Woods is a writer and Social Media Specialist with Atwill Media. She has a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University with a focus on advertising and public relations.
When not working, she enjoys life with her kids and husband.