If you want your business to rise to the top, you have to build your brand– and we want to help. So we’re rolling out a two-part series on the essentials of brand building: why you need it, what the building blocks are, and how to make it happen. [Check out Building your brand: Part 2]
What is your brand?
Your brand is the foundation on which your business activities should be built: so it has to be strong. Think of the businesses you patronize, and the products you buy. You don’t just know their name– you know their brand. For a lot of people, an immediate mental picture comes to mind: the aesthetic, the jingle, the look, feel, taste, or experience of the product or service they love. The longer the brand strength is maintained, the more far-reaching the impact is.
For example: if you’re in the south, you know that instead of “What kind of soda can I get you?” your server is more likely to ask “What kind of Coke do you want?” And what’s one of the main reasons Coke has become synonymous with soda? Rock-solid branding.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers,”
Brand–and brand identity–are far from two-dimensional definitions, or bullet-point lists. We love the new, holistic way of looking at branding pioneered by Jean-Noel Kapferer called the Brand Identity Prism.
5 Brand Essentials
According to Kapferer’s model: if you’re going to build a brand, these essentials have to be in place: Physique comprises all the physical aspect of your brand. It can include the color scheme, packaging, logo, the shape of the product, and more.
- Personality is everything that makes up the character of your brand. It’s how your brand communicates with the outside world: copy, endorsements, design elements, and so on. It’s how people perceive your brand. Let’s pretend your brand was a person: how you would describe that person–and why—is key to determining “personality” as you build your brand.
- Culture is the system of values and principles guiding your brand—and the organization and culture behind it.
- Relationship–like personality–is symbolic and refers to the relationship your brand evokes. For example, The Fisher-Price brand relationship is likely parents and children, or kids and their playmates.
- Reflection It’s really important to consider reflection when you build a brand. It’s the characteristics of the brand’s most stereotypical buyer.
- Self-image It’s the consumer’s ideal self. As a marketer, you can use who your ideal buyer wants to be to guide your brand-building strategy. Picture a brand strives to evoke confidence, fun, and user-friendliness. Then, people wanting to feel more confident and in control at work are going to be drawn to a brand with that personality.
Now you know the “blocks” you need to build a strong foundation for your brand, you can start to dream big about how to put them together… We’ll cover strategies for just how to do that in our next post!