Strong, healthy brands aren’t the result of a one-time, herculean effort. They are living, breathing entities that build and change over time. And the ways in which we fuel and strengthen our bodies applies to brands as well. Just like exercise, you need to feed and strengthen your brand with ongoing strategic and tactical marketing activities. It’s a process, much like exercising.
Is it time for brand bootcamp?
How do you know if your brand is really in good shape? Here are 5 characteristics of a strong and healthy brand. If you’ve got these going for you, your brand definitely has muscle:
A strong core
When it comes to branding, a strong core is the essence of who you are and what you do. It’s your whole culture. At Intrinzic we build brands from the inside out, so having a strong core is truly at the center of everything we do. When your core is strong, you know your values, brand attributes, your purpose and mission, your personality and tone of voice, your brand promise, and unique value proposition.
A strong core also gives your brand three things that make life easier: focus, clarity and credibility. Focus guides strategic decision making and keeps you from being distracted by initiatives that take you off the path to achieving your vision. Clarity comes from a strong brand story that all your employees believe in – so you can tell all potential new hires exactly why they should work for you and all prospective customers why they should work with you. And credibility is built from consistence, which, if your core is strong, you can deliver with the same brand experience every single time.
If you don’t have your core muscles built up and can’t describe who you are, what you do and why you do it better than anyone else, you need to start from the beginning. Build your foundation, make it strong, or you will be weakly limping toward your goals.
Can your brand stand the test of time? Is it relevant today and will it continue to be in 5-10 years? Brands that adapt and remain strong and valuable to their clients over the years have endurance. Brands need to be proactive and anticipate change before it happens, knowing when to rebrand or refocus a brand. Which leads me to number 3:
Everything in this world is changing every day. Can your brand keep up with shifting clients, industries and markets? Strong brands are flexible enough to see change coming and make adjustments that let them grow and potentially reposition themselves to always provide value and remain relevant. If you do the same exercises or activities every day for years, eventually your body will stop adapting. You need to challenge your body in different ways for it to keep fit and performing at its peak. When you stop seeing results, you need to shake it up! But also know to only stretch as far as is credible. It’s easy to overstretch and go too far. The most flexible brands extend out from that strong core by adding new products, services etc…but it still FITS your brand equity.
A strong brand attracts new audiences, engages them and builds strong relationships. A healthy brand helps clients and employees find you. It gets them to come back for more after giving you a shot the first time. Your audiences have had so many positive and consistent experiences that when you misstep, you are forgiven because they know it was just a fluke.
A brand with all the characteristics I just mentioned energizes you and your employees. Everyone working toward the same goals, saying and doing the same things and feeling proud of the work they do gives off energy. You should be proud of your business and your direction. This confidence attracts customers and employees so the brand can continue to grow and flex their muscles even more.
Brand Bootcamp Basics
So, what if your brand doesn’t display all of these characteristics? Or maybe it’s stronger in some than others. That is OK. It gives you something to work towards. Here are my top bootcamp techniques for whipping your brand into shape:
2) Have a distinctive identity
3) Build sustainable relationships
4) Know your limits
5) Choose exercises that challenge you, but are attainable
6) Understand and set realistic goals
7) Celebrate the small victories
8) Be a source for competition
9) Know it’s a lifestyle change
10) Keep things fresh
11) View profit as a consequence of health, rather than a driver of business