Let’s start building a brand. You first have to identify the values of the brand.
Think of brand values as the key behaviors or virtues of the brand that need to be expressed consistently, day in and day out. Taken together, these values form the essence or theme of the brand. They’re like a belief system of the brand.
Determining the brand values starts by understanding the overall marketing strategy of your business. What kind of products and services do you offer? What are the key trends and new opportunities in your markets? Who are your customers, and who are your competitors?
Given that, what is your overall value proposition in the marketplace? What are you promising to deliver to people?
Brands are created to deliver benefits to the consumer. Benefits come in many forms:
- Functional Benefits, the basic job that the product does.
- Emotional Benefits, how a product makes a consumer feel.
- Economic Benefits, how a product saves time and money.
- Self Expressive Benefits, how a product makes us appear to others.
Other Types of Benefits, such as benefits to society or the environment
A brand can deliver many of these benefits. So start by looking at your products and services. What is the bundle of benefits they deliver and that consumers can count on over and over? Your new brand is that promise.
Next, we’ll turn our attention to giving the brand identity all of its own.
Creating a Brand Persona
Brands can take on a life of their own, almost to the point where they seem like a person. And just like us, they can have their own, unique personality.
The next stage of the brand-building process is to create this personality, or what we call a brand persona. Given the brand's promise, you give the brand a set of human-like characteristics that your customers would expect from someone who keeps this promise.
Brands with a personality stand out more. In marketing, that’s a huge advantage because that relationship causes the customer to be more loyal. That’s what valuable brands do.
To create a brand persona, you have to create a list of personality traits that shape the overall personality of our brand. Various researchers in the field of marketing have studied brand personalities to find out what kinds of traits might be available to use. One of the most recognized in this field is Dr. Jennifer Aacher. In her classic research report titled “Dimensions of Brand Personality,” she outlines a framework of personality traits that brands can take on.
The five core dimensions are Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness. Within each of these are more detailed traits. For example, under sincerity, we would find: down-to-earth, honest, genuine, and friendly. These traits are further broken down into sub-traits. For example, under the trait, friendly, we would find the substrates of: warm, happy, cheerful, and caring.
Your brand may have traits that are similar to your target audience. What’s most important is that the brand has traits consistent with someone who would make and keep its promise. That makes the brand more trusted and authentic.
Authentic brands are those that reflect the characteristics of the people who deliver value to the marketplace. Now that’s great brand building.