The Recipe for Successful Brands
Brands are everywhere. They’re in the grocery store, advertising with your favorite team, adeptly woven into the podcast you’re listening to, and even associated with people, with the growth of executive branding and influencers in the digital age. But, marketers know that there is much more to an iconic brand than the name and identity.
REQ has defined, connected, and protected some of the world’s leading brands for over 15 years across B2C, B2B, B2G, nonprofit, and the individual level. Despite clear distinctions between our clients’ audiences and goals, we’ve identified similarities of the most successful brands. Here’s what we’ve learned.
A Brand is More Than a Logo
Brands are the end product of the art and science of creating a competitive advantage that differentiates an organization from its competitors. Much deeper than the logo, brands are an emotional connection and a reason to belong, both internally and externally. Sometimes this sense of belonging can be so strong that someone chooses to have the logo tattooed on their arm.
Brands have foundational pillars, a story, and a voice, which is conveyed through the logo, the color scheme, messaging and content, and all of the touchpoints on- and offline. These combined brand ingredients enable organizations to:
- Stand out boldly
- Communicate simply
- Enhance value and resilience
- Build loyalty
- Galvanize an internal culture
- Differentiate from current and future competitors
If these goals are achieved, a brand grows the bottom line.
Brands Must Be Grounded in Data & Research
Our brand strategies are based on years of experience uncovering the emotional reasons why people connect to brands, and each brand needs a bespoke discovery and research process. When building or refining a brand, it is imperative to look deeply into a client’s audience behaviors, trends, internal culture, and messaging to ensure a brand’s longevity. It is not practical or desirable to undertake a full rebrand every year.
This foundational research is important for brand strategies, but it should not stop once the design team takes over. Brands should continue surveying and testing everything—from messaging and copy to brand identity and website user experience—to help validate the initial findings and, if needed, make adjustments before alterations may become cost-prohibitive. The upside of spending a little more time and budget testing on the front end vastly outweighs the risks.
Great Brands Don’t Sit Still
Brand updates can be a steady evolution, not only revolution. Although foundational elements of a brand may remain intact, great brands are not afraid to grow and evolve. These secondary changes, such as expanding a color palette, tweaking photography and illustration style, and refining the brand’s personality and voice, help keep things fresh and avoid audience fatigue.
When undertaking a rebrand or brand refresh, post-launch activation is critical. REQ’s brand strategies include a brand launch plan informed by the audience research conducted during the discovery phase. A strategic brand activation is crucial for building brand awareness, generating excitement and engagement, and driving short- and long-term goals.
Activation tactics can include:
- Digital and social advertising
- Organic social media
- Influencer marketing
- VIP events
- Traditional radio and targeted digital audio
- Over-the-top/connected TV
- Out-of-home (billboards, bus stops, etc.)
- Public relations
- Website redesigns
- And much more
The final activation tactics should be selected based on your organization’s goals and audience behaviors. For example, if your audience doesn’t use X/Twitter, it may not make sense to spend time and budget on that platform.
A refreshed brand or new brand is as exciting as it is important for an organization, and should be viewed as a valuable opportunity. Successful brands are nuanced and require a deep understanding of audiences, competitors, and trends. Importantly, successful brands also need buy-in from internal stakeholders—especially at the top of the organization—to energize the culture and inspire commitment to the brand mission. The value of brand building will filter throughout the organization.
The brand process requires thoughtfulness and creativity. As a partner, REQ brings the tools, experience, and expertise to understand where your brand is now and position it for where you want to go. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help build your brand for the future.