How To Build a Successful Brand (Part 1)

You know it is important to make your brand stand out if you don’t want to get lost in the forest of competitors. You know you need something extra, something unique which only applies to your brand and which gets the attention from the audience. But what if you are just getting started or what if you want to revise your brand?

In this first part of a three part series on how to build a successful brand, you will learn about the importance of defining your brand values. The second article discusses how to fuel your brand with personality. In the third and final part, you get some useful information on how you can implement your brand. After reading these three articles you will know the most important basics on how to build a successful brand.

Defining Your Brand Values

Before you think about how you will communicatie, you should think about the message first. Ask yourself the following question: “What am I going to tell the world?”. Your message should be focused on what you want to achieve and why. Only when you have made that clear, you can start working on your tone of voice.

Identify Your Brand
Each brand identifies itself with some values to empower its position. These values tell people who the brand is and what it stands for. A classic example is Coca-Cola which identifies itself with happiness. The Coca-Cola Company managed to create a complete brand around that one feeling.

To discover what your brand should be like, you should think about the things that are important to you. Don’t idealize your brand though. Keep it real and honest. Try to avoid the stereotype values such as trustworthy, qualitative, authentic, fun, etcetera. These characteristics became quite meaningless and hollow over time. Almost everybody wants to be a nice, friendly, trusted,… brand, so you want to be more specific when defining your brand values. You will need to distinguish yourself to stand out from the crowd.

Remember that you are communicating towards people so use words, feelings and emotions with which they can identify. You could call yourself, for example, a brand that sticks to its word instead of trustworthy. Tell people that you will do everything to make them a happy customer instead of calling yourself customer oriented. By defining your brand values in a more human way, it will be easier to set up the visual identity and the tone of voice for your brand.

Make a Statement
Defining your brand values is one thing, but creating your mission statement is something completely different. The mission statement should define the purpose of your organization and it should be easy to understand. Don’t go for the fancy jargon that nobody else but you understands. People need to be able to relate to your mission and your brand. If they can’t, they will not understand what the brand is about and will simply move on.

When developing your mission statement, you can ask yourself a couple of questions. Think about what specific needs your company is addressing to and how it provides a solution to this. You also want to think about what makes your company so special and why people should buy from you and not from your competitors.

In most cases your mission statement will stay the same for a long time, but sometimes it happens that companies need to change it due to different reasons. An example could be when a company evolved to a certain level that the current mission statement isn’t fully covering the load anymore. A good example of a company who has transcended their mission statement is Tesla.

In 2013, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla stated the following: “Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” In one sentence this becomes: “Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”

This is obviously a huge statement but it clearly states what Tesla wanted to achieve from the point when they were founded. In July 2016, Tesla has changed its mission statement to the following: “Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Only one word changed, but it tells a whole different story. Where Tesla first wanted to change how we move, it now wants to change how we live. Because Tesla had realised its previous mission statement, they were in need of an even bolder statement. Although Tesla didn’t reach the mass market quite yet, they needed to set a bigger goal and think even bigger than they already did.

Now, what can we learn from Tesla? Well, it communicates exactly what the brand stands for and what it wants to achieve. The statement creates a strong impact because of the bold message and it represents the high goals and standard which Tesla imposes on itself. It does exactly what a good mission statement has to do:

  • It tells us why it is a unique brand and what makes their product so special.
  • The statement tells us more about the people behind the company who all thrive for the same thing: innovation which creates a cleaner and healthier world without compromises.
  • The change of their mission statement reinforced the previous one and keeps building up the consistency. The message changed, but the brand and its values stayed the same.
  • It represents the brand as it is today and how it will be tomorrow.

Read Part 2: How to build a successful brand (Part 2) – Fuel Your Brand With Personality
Read Part 3: How to build a successful brand (Part 3) – Implementing Your Brand

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