Over the last couple of articles, we’ve underpinned the importance of brand consistency and dedication to a long-term focus on building your brand. Still stuck as to how to actually develop your brand? You’re in luck.
It’s through the work of Keller that it’s widely been recognised and adopted in brand literature that there are four key steps to brand development, with its roots founded upon four questions customers ask about brands and of themselves.
Also known as the Brand Equity Model, the concept behind it is simple: in order to build a strong brand, you must shape how customers think and feel about you. The aim is to provide consumers with unique brand experiences so that they ultimately shape positive thoughts and connections around it.
Let’s look at the four steps individually…
Step 1: Identity – Who are you?
This first step is all about generating brand awareness, ensuring your brand stands out and that consumers can easily recognise it. But be careful, it’s here that you lay the foundations for how your brand will be perceived by your customers. It’s essential at this stage to conduct research into your customers to understand who they are.
What are their decision-making processes? How do they classify your product or brand? How well does your brand stand out at key stages of their buying journey? Are your potential customers aware of your unique selling proposition when making a purchase decision?
Step 2: Meaning – What are you?
By the end of Step 2, your customers should know what your brand means, and what it stands for. The two contributing factors here are performance and imagery (more on this in Part 2). How well does your product or service’s performance satisfy your customer’s needs and likewise how well are these needs satisfied on a psychological level?
A good example to draw upon here is Bellroy. They solve their customers’ needs by designing reliable, durable products that make your life ‘easier, smarter and more seamless’. On the psychological level, their imagery is enhanced by their commitment to ethically sourcing materials that also reduce their impact on the environment.
Step 3: Response – What about you?
In Step 3, you want to elicit the proper customer response from the previous two steps. Put simply, you are managing what consumers think and feel about your brand. The judgements that customers make about your brand typically fall into the following four categories. In order to overcome any negative judgements that customers may have, ask yourself the following questions.
- Quality – How can you improve the perceived quality of your brand?
- Credibility – What can you do to enhance your brand’s credibility?
- Consideration – Does your current marketing strategy successfully communicate your brand’s relevancy to whatever consumer needs you’re satisfying?
- Superiority – How does your brand stack up against your competitors?
Step 4: Relationships – What about you and me?
The ultimate goal of any brand is achieving brand resonance. This occurs once you’ve converted your customer’s responses about your brand into an active and loyal relationship between you and your consumers. Step 4 is one that is often overlooked by many brands. After speaking to a newly retired marketing executive last week, they shared the same view:
“The issue with many organisations today is that they feel they are beholden to their shareholders, when in fact they should think that way about their customers. The lack of alignment between shareholders and customers is what will, ultimately, be a major cause of pain for a brand down the track.”
It is pivotal to foster the relationships you have with your customers to induce loyalty, attachment and engagement with your brand. The more customers feel a sense of community, the more likely they are to repeatedly purchase your products or services.
In Part 2 of How To Build a Powerful Brand, we’ll look at the six fundamental building blocks that will guide you through these steps on your way to brand resonance.
If you need a hand establishing your brand, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.