Building a hot brand is hard work. As you work on fueling the right brand experience, firing up employee engagement and sparking consumer loyalty, it’s possible to lose your way in the smoke cloud. It helps to stay focused on the intended outcomes, so you know where you’re headed and why.
Here are seven attributes of a hot brand to help you fan the flames of brand loyalty for your company.
Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is. So find out what they think. And then build your strategy around the aspects of your offering that are most relevant and engaging to customers. Listen closely to what they have to say. How is your brand most relevant to their needs?
From the customer’s perspective, how are you different from your competitors? A hot brand is clearly differentiated from competitors in ways that are relevant to consumers. In some industries, differentiation is challenging due to commoditization, and it’s especially important under those circumstances. Bottled water is a great example. For the most part, the product itself is completely undifferentiated – it’s H2O. The brand differentiates it, providing a reason for a consumer to choose one bottle of water over another.
Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits to your brand to differentiate it. The brand’s personality is expressed through employees, advertising, packaging and all other brand touch points. Take the time to think about the personality of your brand, and be specific about how you describe it. If everyone who communicates on the company’s behalf really understands the brand personality, you’re much more likely to communicate with a consistent voice.
Branding isn’t just the responsibility of the marketing department. It’s much bigger than that. Because of the focus and effort needed to build and maintain a hot brand, it has to start at the top of the company. If top leadership isn’t committed to living the brand, the branding effort will fail. It has to be integrated across every part of the company internally, before it can be experienced outside the company.
Your employees are the face of your brand. Do they understand what that means? Can they live the brand in their daily role within your company? Does your leadership team live the brand and demonstrate it in their everyday interactions? Every employee needs to understand his or her role in delivering the brand experience. Once your brand is part of the culture of your organization, those outside the company will feel it, too.
The personality of your company is best expressed though the interactions your employees have with customers and prospects. You may talk about great customer experiences in your marketing, but if customers don’t experience it, it’s simply not true. Treat your front-line employees like your brand depends on them, because it does.
A brand helps you stay focused on a unified message. That focus helps you break through the communications clutter and build connections with current and potential customers. Your brand becomes the filter through which decisions are made across the company.
Building a hot brand is an ongoing process that requires focus and discipline. Ultimately, the goal is a corporate culture that constantly and consistently reinforces the brand essence, promise and personality. And that will have a huge impact on fanning the fires of loyalty, both inside and outside your company.