Great brands are not always the biggest or successful or even the most profitable. A great brand is often a combination of several elements, including; how it makes consumers feel, it’s values, mission and vision, trust associated with it, what it inspires in people, how aligned it is with society, how it communicates with the world, it’s position in the market in comparison to competitors, uniqueness and consistency.
All of these individual elements can support in making a brand great, in the eyes of consumers, stakeholders and the wider market. More often than not, becoming a great brand is a combination of a distinct understanding of the societal landscape and luck.
Sometimes brands are in such a rush to make something that is cutting edge, they can be guilty of forgetting who they are and what their customers truly want. Rather than trying to appear edgy or cool, brands need to understand their audience and focus on what makes the brand experience unique for them.
Investing time and effort into understanding the brand and developing the subsequent marketing materials can create an experience which reflects the target market and makes it feel more personal. Take Quorn, for example, who have been a popular vegetarian brand for some time.
Due to an increased number of people either cutting down or completely cutting-out meat in recent years, Quorn has more recently been flexing their marketing muscles to align with changing attitudes to healthy eating. Whilst focusing on maintaining their current consumer base, they chose to put an emphasis on targeting families with children, to encourage swapping for meat-free alternatives whilst maintaining taste and nutrition, building brand
Great brands are those that understand how to innovate and continuously fine-tune their efforts to achieve balance and synergy, in order to achieve their goals. They regularly realign their objectives with customer insights and use that data to ensure they can be the first and the best at doing something cutting-edge, new and beneficial to consumers.
Think of Apple, in the 1980s they pioneered personal computing to the mass majority but throughout the 90’s they were relatively quiet in the eyes of the ‘general consumer’. During the Apple revival in the early 2000s, the company evolved from a computing business to consumer-facing giant. With the launch of the iPhone, iPod and Macbooks, Apple reinvented itself and instantly propelled itself to the forefront of the luxury lifestyle sector, with an innovative approach to technology for the new Millennium.
Reliability is one of the reasons consumers love a brand, they know it will deliver every single time. They would rather spend slightly more to buy from a particular retailer and know that their items will be delivered within a certain timescale. Even if they don’t, they know there will be a simple resolution and errors will be rectified with little effort on their part. Reliability is key to maintaining a brand reputation and can reduce the risk of losing your customers trust, which can be much harder to rebuild than to simply work to ensure you deliver on your promises.
Amazon’s delivery service is one of the reasons why customers return to use the retail giant, time after time. The capability to receive your parcel
Where your consumers know what to expect of your brand and you’re able to deliver on it every time, they are more likely to rely on your products. Although evolving to develop new things is an organic step for brands, it’s important to maintain a point of reference or a core offering which you can build upon and complement with other products or services. Maintaining your core messaging and ensuring consistency in branding, throughout each campaign, ensures that your customers will be more receptive of new products through familiarity.
McDonald’s is a key example of consistency. All across the world, you can expect to be within close proximity to a McDonald’s restaurant, ensuring that if in doubt you can rely on them to deliver a service which will be the same in pretty much every establishment. The core menu is the same and although this varies slightly based on local culture, you can still expect the same level of service and feel comforted by the fact their global branding is so easily
These key four strategies can help you understand what draws and keeps customers coming back for more from a brand. Becoming great takes time and requires a brand to maintain these core areas of operation and ensure that strategy is an ongoing process. Maintaining and improving perception on an ongoing basis requires a deeper insight into the likes and dislikes of the audience to ensure that your brand can always meet expectations and never let’s them down.