15 Things to Know About Building Winning Brands

Author of Brand Aid: An Easy Reference Guide to Solving Your Toughest Branding Problems and Strengthening Your Market, Brad Vanauken, points out 15 most important things to take care of in building a winning brand:

1. Brands are Personifications of Organizations, Products, Services and Experiences
In this way, they are the primary sources of relationships with customers, promises to customers and customer loyalty.

2. Top Management Support is Crucial
The toughest obstacles that brand champions have encountered in creating brand building organizations, three of the top nine involve the lack of top management support.

3. Profound Customer Knowledge is Essential
The first step in crafting a brand’s promise is defining the target customer. Without a profound understanding of the target customer, a business will never thrive and may not even survive.

4. The brand and its products and services must exceed customer expectations.
No amount of customer communication and relationship building can compensate for inferior or even parity products and services.

5. Awareness
ustomers first must be aware that there are different brands in the product categories in which your brand operates. Next, they must be aware of your brand. Ideally, your brand should be the first one that comes to their minds.

6. Relevant Differentiation.
It is the most important thing a brand can deliver. Numerous studies have shown that relevant differentiation today is a leading-edge indicator of profitability and market share tomorrow.

7: Evoke Emotions and Create Sensory Experiences
Emotional connection is what every brand should ultimately strive for. If your brand can achieve emotional connection, it can gain customer loyalty.

8: Exhibit Admirable Human Qualities
Exhibiting admirable human qualities is especially important for brands during crises. Companies that respond quickly and honestly, companies that accept responsibility, companies that show concern for those affected, companies that keep those affected informed about what is going on, can recover from and even become stronger from a crisis.

9: Stand for Something

10: Constant Product and Service Innovation
While brands are not products or services and products or services are not brands, a strong brand requires strong brand management and constant product and service innovation.

11: Create a Sense of Community
Communities create emotional connection and loyalty. They also facilitate add-on sales.

12: The Corporate Culture must Reinforce the Brand Positioning
Hiring employees whose personalities and values match those intended of the brand will ensure that the brand experience is consistently delivered as intended.

13: Internal Brand Building
One of the most difficult tasks in brand management is transforming the organization from one that does not understand the scope or importance of brand management to one that embraces and actively builds the brand as a critically important source of sustainable competitive advantage.

14: Front line Employees are key to a Brand’s Success
Does the person answering your 1-800 number know what the brand stands for? How about the in-store sales associate? The copywriter for your brand catalog? The person developing a brand promotion? The people who design the brand’s products?

15: Consider co-creating Your Brand with Your Customers
This competitive strategy recognizes the value of viewing the marketplace not as a “zero sum game” in which your gain is always someone else’s loss but rather as a place in which value can be created by discovering mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations that would traditionally have been considered competitors.

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