by Chris Grabowski
But, what is Brand Building?
You might have a product you sell, or a service with a beautiful logo, stunning packaging, website and pithy tagline, but that isn’t your brand, your brand is the consumer perception of what you offer. It’s often not what you think it is, it’s what others think it is, the public and customers perception; the quality of service, what they believe you stand for, your value and your values. Many get this wrong, with brand vs consumer beliefs way off.
It is why plotting how you build your brand the consistency of brand messaging is so important. Brand building at its best is where everyone from founder, newest employee to new customer have the same belief and understanding in what it is the business stands for and what the product offers.
It is why brand building cannot be done in the boardroom, it needs to be in every part of the business and it needs to be a core element of all comms activations.
Building a Brand Strategy in the Digital Age
In ‘olden-times’ when the high street had one coffee shop, one phone store, one shoe shop brand competition and awareness was significantly less competitive. You didn’t know what you didn’t know, you choose what was available. So, if you were buying trainers you might have had your favourites but you got what was there, that did the job and were in budget.
Now, when you want to sneakers you have endless options, from endless supplier, both physical and online, all of which tick the boxes (price, functionality, availability…). So the decision comes down to perception of the manufacturer.
It is the ultimate deciding factor in purchase, hypothetically it is why you didn’t choose, New Balance (you’ve given up on trying to fit in Shoreditch), Nike (bit too Spurs thanks), Under Armour (worrying HR policies!) and why you did choose Adidas. They are alike all the other brands, they would have done the job, at an acceptable price, but you like what they stand for and their environmental perspective.
This is an incredible simplification, but that is the difference and the significance of change in the digital age. Brands are now judged on every little thing they do and don’t do. No matter how much time they spend on branding it’s how they actually behave. How they react to significant social / world events. Consumers no longer just want brands that do a good job, at a good price, they want ones they believe in too. That they are proud to have their logo on their feet, shirt, car, phone…
Benefits of an Effective Brand Strategy
When the brand strategy is aligned, and all parts (from physical interactions to online and social meet) the job becomes far easier, campaigns are easier to shape, they based on a value that everyone is clear on. Brand Managers and marketing teams can easily brief in agencies, and consumers understand what they are getting, not just from a performance perspective but what choosing that brands will say about them.
From a social media perspective, the shift is even more dramatic, brand with clear values, behaviour and tone of voice are easier for consumers to interact with, irrespective of the service or product they offer. It can be anything just look at the difference between the engagement and interaction of a brand like Ben & Jerry’s in comparison to Walls or Apple to Sony. What you see is that not only are the outputs from a comms perspective clear they are taken by the followers and made their own, they empower the followers to do something to interact and consequently organically create word of mouth for the brand. And followers do it, because they are invested, because the like what the brand does, how it behaves how it makes them feel, think…
How Cirkle Builds Brands
For 20+ years we have helped brands to understand who they are, and how to communicate, from large multinationals; GSK, PepsiCo and Nestle to brands that we have helped find their voice, including; BEAR, GU, Happy Eggs…(see example work here)
Working to shape their communications to ensure consistency of brand messaging, in good times, and the more challenging. Creating campaigns that bring the brands to life and help consumers relate to them, and understand them better, understand their values and the benefits they offer.
We are very proud to work with some of the best known best loved brands in the UK but it has taken and a lot of work to get them there!