Strong branding gives your company an edge. But how can you tell if your brand is strong? These are some signs branding experts look for.
Recall is intuitive
Can your customers easily describe your product offering? Strong brands trigger intuitive recall. According to branding expert Laura Sellors, this happens because branding promotes a common understanding about an organisation, its function and capabilities. Consider McDonald’s: When people see its restaurants, they know what burgers they can hope to get there.
Consumers' understanding of brands also changes over time. Even the biggest names lose appeal and need rebranding. This is why Burberry Group recently announced it was unifying its collection under one brand to make it easier for customers to understand its product offering. “We believe this will make it simpler and more intuitive for our customer,” said CEO Christopher Bailey. “This is certainly not cosmetic. It is a huge change,” he added.
Consistency in communications
Are all your marketing materials recognisable? Strong brands are consistent, assuring customers of quality and promoting the company in the marketplace.
Consistency goes far beyond product packaging. Today branding also covers the gamut of online operations. From websites and social networks to mobile apps, any platform where a company is present needs branding. Financial news company Bloomberg even 'branded' its technology hub in San Francisco. "They have strong brand guidelines and they wanted to make sure their brand came through," explained Eric Heiman, principal at Volume Inc, a company that worked on the project.
Branding experts know that the key to consistency is setting solid guidelines. “Your brand guidelines are there to ensure continued reinforcement of your identity," said Sellors in her article.
Does your brand trigger emotions? Strong brands stir emotional reactions. Take Coca-Cola, for instance. The MNC promotes drinks in advertisements showing people having fun in order to trigger happy feelings.
Companies invest heavily to trigger emotions and branding experts have developed unique ways to provoke this powerful response. 12.29 is an olfactive branding agency that creates custom scents for major retailers and companies. The power of smell isn't a new concept, according to co-founder Samantha Goldworm who pointed out that bakeries have long put vents on the street "because the power of smell triggers something so emotional and so compelling you literally follow your nose".
Does your brand stand out? In today’s crowded global market, strong brands grab attention. Graphic D-Signs' creative director Dan Antonelli described this phenomenon as "the one eye-catching business card among the 50 that are pegged to the community bulletin board".
To make your brand stand out, ensure it's unique – create an original logo that’s differentiated from competitors and get it trademarked.
For inspiration, you can check out how retailers push creative boundaries to promote brands on crowded high streets using experimental showrooms, pop-up shops and flagship stores. The book Brand Spaces reveals some of the powerful strategies wielded by experts to turn retail stores into 'branded spaces' for companies, and is worth checking out.
Now that you know the signs of a strong brand, you can evaluate your own. Does it stand out and trigger strong, positive emotions? The sooner you know where your brand can be strengthened, the sooner you’re on the way to boosting sales.