All strong brands, big and small, have some traits and characteristics in common that make them so. Let me share seven features that are key to a successful, healthy, and sustainable brand.
After working in branding and brand development for over 17 years and spending most of my days with businesses, business owners, and continuously researching and learning, we’ve found seven traits that are a part of all of them. All brands, big and small, have these things in common despite the size of your business.
Your brand needs to be unique. No matter how many people are out there doing the same thing you do, you need to take on the challenge, sit down, and figure out what value proposition sets you apart from everybody else? Of course, there will be some common ground with businesses similar to yours, but because you are a unique human and you are a part of your business, you already give your business something others don’t have. YOU!
Your uniqueness can be about how you do business, how you present your product, or how you provide customer service. Your brand voice and the way you talk are going to be different. This unique value is something you need to talk about and make sure your audience knows about. What is your zone of genius? What is that differentiating factor?
“Make sure you find your uniqueness, and once you do, share it with the world, over, and over again.”– Valentina Gomez Bravo.
Another key trait for a strong brand is clarity. Confused people don’t buy, so you must be clear internally and externally about who, what, why, when, where, and how your brand behaves, looks, is, and does business. If you are not clear, then, of course, you will not be able to share that with other people, engage, create a connection, and convert that audience. Achieving this clarity will help you convey your message in a way that makes sense to your customers. Nobody knows your business as you do, and to you, it’s super apparent everything you do, how amazing it is, and how it can help people. But that’s not clear to everybody else, people can’t mind-read just yet.
“Your message has to be simple, clear, and understandable so it can be memorable.”– Valentina Gomez Bravo.
Everything you do in our business has to have a purpose and a reason. Your customer will see it, whether they realize it or not. Always be intentional. Your logo, brand colors, fonts, and aesthetics should be as they are for a reason. The way your website is built, your photographs and imagery, your customer journey, sales process, social media content, emails, text messages, you name it… don’t leave it to chance.
Intentional doesn’t mean perfect, it just means there are purpose and reason why behind it all. Ask yourself, does this help my goal? Does this reinforce my desired message? This is a way to take control of your brand reputation and narrative.
“Don’t let others control your brand narrative.”– Valentina Gomez Bravo.
I’m going to repeat it, and I think I’ll keep saying it forever because it’s super important: confused people don’t buy. So, if we say one thing with our brand identity, another with our website, a third different message on social media, and then show up in person or via email and don’t represent our brand in the same way, your brand is all over the place. It’s like having multiple personalities and people not knowing who in your brand and business they’re going to meet today.
Repetition helps to remember, make sure you are always repeating a cohesive story so you can move from like, to know, to trust, efficiently.
“If all of your messaging goes together, it’ll get there faster and more efficiently!”– Valentina Gomez Bravo
Salespeople recommend between 5 and 20 touchpoints to make a sale or to convert a potential client depending on what you offer. You want to show up consistently in front of your audience, whatever that looks like for your brand.
It’s like that one friend that’s always late, and that’s part of her brand. You love them, but they are late every-single-time. It doesn’t matter if they show up on time once, all people are going to remember is that she is chronically late. The only way to change that about her reputation is to consistently show up on time until the narrative changes. The same thing happens with your brand and your business. One interaction is not going to be enough, especially if we change the message every time we interact with our audience.
“Say what you mean, mean what you say… or talk the talk and walk the walk, you know the drill!”– Valentina Gomez Bravo
If life has taught us anything, it is that the only constant thing is change and that the tree that doesn’t bend, breaks! Having the capacity to adapt to new circumstances, taking on new challenges, and adjusting when needed are fundamental skills for a business owner and a brand for long term survival.
Your brand should be able to adapt to what your market and your ideal customer needs without losing its essence and being able to stay true to the brand’s core values. Showing your audience that you have what it takes to be there with them no matter what comes helps solidify brand loyalty and will help your business weather any storm that comes your way.
“Your brand, like you as a business owner and people as humans, will grow and change. That’s ok, we all need to grow and be better every day anyway.”– Valentina Gomez Bravo.
My last key, one of my favorites, and the most important one, is authenticity. I know “being real” is kind of a buzz term, but the bottom line is that’s where the world is going. You need to be real about who you are as a brand and a business. Not only from an honesty and transparency point of view, but it’s also all about building a brand you can stand behind and sustain over time.
Being authentic helps and invites people to connect with your brand honestly and more effectively. Your audience won’t be deceived for long; you will be found out, which could cost you a pretty penny. Besides, it is exhausting to put up a front until the end of time.
Share who you are, what you do, and why, what you stand for, take a stand, don’t be afraid. Remember, humans, are wanting to connect on the other side of that screen or transaction. Bonus points, it helps you find your uniqueness (remember key #1).