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4 Lessons in Creating a Successful Brand

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A brand is not just a logo that people see on billboards, on TV, or when they purchase a product; it’s a promise of quality and experience in the mind of the consumer. Building a successful brand is a huge undertaking that requires creativity and hard work among other things. Following are four lessons in creating a successful brand that you may not have learned in university.

1. It’s not just about being smart

You have to be a leader. Drew Houston, founder of DropBox, learned this while still in college. After reading Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, he was convinced that if he wanted to build a big company with a big brand, that he would need more than just a degree. Drew started reading books on business, leadership, and management, practicing what he learned by leading two organisations whilst in college. This gave him a crash course in working with and through other people. Key Takeaways:

  • Buy, borrow, or steal as many books as you can on leadership, management, and salesmanship
  • Find and link up with business mentors who are where you want to be
  • Take some classes on management and leadership

 

2. Build a cult

One of the most recognised brands in the world with a highly loyal fan base, Apple has built a cult following, creating a brand that is more popular than any single product they create. Blackberry, at one point one of Apple’s biggest competitors, has failed to do this, and can be seen fading into obscurity. The Blackberry smartphone as a product was more popular than its creator, Research in Motion (RIM) – a search on Google Insights for Blackberry and RIM will show the spike for Blackberry being higher than that of the spike for RIM. If the same search is performed for Apple and iPhone, the spikes will be closer to one another, showing that people talk about the company as much as they talk about the company’s products. Key Takeaway:

  • Create products and experiences based on your brand and core message

Apple Store Queue

3. ‘Why’ first

Most companies begin their branding journey by looking to create a product that changes lives. By focusing solely on the product, companies fall into the trap of neglecting their brand. Advertising messages often start with a what-how-why approach. This increased focus on a product’s benefits and features can sometimes neglect the brand’s core message and identity. As a brand, Apple flips the conventional approach to a why-how-what approach. They start by addressing their reason for existing, moving onto how this drives their approach to products, and finally revealing their product. Following this order, an advertising message may sound something like this: “Apple exists to challenge the status quo. We emphasize gorgeous design. And we happen to make digital devices.” Key Takeaway:

  • Understand your mission – why you exist. This starts with a top-down approach. When employees understand a company’s reason for existing, they are able to create a better brand experience

 

4. Pay attention to the small stuff

Leonardo da Vinci said it best – simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Sometimes the best ideas are simple ideas. The founders of the board game Cranium used the acronym CHIFF to get everyone on the same page about the brand. CHIFF means clever, high quality, innovative, friendly, and fun, and this became ingrained in the minds of every employee at Cranium. One of the marketing managers of Cranium changed a packaging design which used the phrase “splendid talents” on the box, replacing it with “mind boggling.” The fear was that the wrong phrase might not register with potential customers. Key Takeaways:

  • Focusing on the small things creates guidelines for the bigger things
  • Create simple guidelines to ensure that all employees understand your brand
  • Attention to detail is everything

To build a successful brand you need creativity, hard work, and the willingness to make mistakes. Focus on the ‘why’ of your brand, pay attention to the small details, and make sure all employees understand the brand’s core message and purpose, buying into the brand culture to create a uniform brand image and experience.

A brand isn’t just a pretty logo, it’s a promise of quality and experience: great brands are communicated, not designed

Read the full article: 10 Branding Lessons That Every Business Graduate Should Know (But Doesn’t) Via: kissmetrics

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