3 Questions To Ask When Building A Brand

After you have created and launched a successful product or service that satisfies a real need in the market place, how do you differentiate yourself and make your offering stand out as the brand that customers want amongst similar product offerings? How do brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and Nike stay competitive?

First of all, if you are able to craft something that is truly unique and has never before been introduced (btw, does that even exist?), then kudos to you. You win, for a little while. Soon enough, the competition will crowd your market.

Whether you are proactively and openly sharing your story, or passively and quietly letting your brand speak for itself, every brand has its story and every interaction a customer has with your brand is an opportunity for him or her to have unique experience with that story. As Clint Swindall, founder of Verbalocity would say:

“Everyday you walk through the doors of your office, you are either adding to or taking away from the culture of the organization. There is no middle ground.”

Brand experience works in a similar way. Every experience a customer (internal and external) has with your brand will either add to or detract from his or her perception of your products or services. Thinking beyond the products and services being offered while being mindful of the type of experience you are providing will ultimately allow your brand to become more successful.

Here are a few questions to consider as you are thinking about building a successful brand:

Why does your business exist?

  • Always start with why. Simon Sinek, the author, speaker, consultant and the person known for popularizing the concept of “the Golden Circle” describes it well in this chart below.

What are your brand values?

  • How are decisions made and are they value-driven? (i.e. what features to offer next, whom to hire next, where to invest more money and resources, what processes or structures to implement or eliminate)

What tone and voice does your brand have?

  • Is it formal, factual, technical, jargon-heavy? Is it casual, light-hearted, empathetic? Is it sales-y and assumptive? Is it humble and approachable? How does your brand communicate with the world?
  • This is important to identify, as a brand certainly can have many voices. It’s expressed in your design, content, and marketing. It’s how you respond to customers’ inquiries; whether you say “I’m so sorry” or “We apologize”; it’s expressed in what you share on social media, or how you share successes and failures (if you do). In practically every aspect of your business, the brand’s tone and voice can be heard.

Of course there are many other areas to consider and hard questions to think through. There are assessments and tools to help you figure out what your brand is. This is only the beginning.

Your brand is something that you can probe, discover, and at the same time, create and shape. After all, “building” a brand is process. When you deliberately put forth the effort to build a solid brand early on, it will help in the long run to better attract people (customers, sponsors, investors, candidates, fans, etc.) that emotionally resonate with you and your brand’s personality.

What do you think?

What are some brands you like and why? If you were a brand, what would you brand personality be? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!