Creating Iconic Brands

28 Feb
Creating Iconic Brands

Nike.  Apple.  Facebook.  Google.  Some brands just make it big. So big, in fact, that the brand name goes before the product does.  And to some extent, they become a household name.

How can you create such an ideal brand that’s synonymous with all the good things you wish to be, like quality, luxury or perhaps dependability?  Can you build a clear, strong, stylish, unique image for your brand? Can you give it such a unique personality that it gains a specific, clear, appealing meaning in spite of the brand clutter plaguing most markets?

Logos and names do matter. But brands are really defined by how people experience them. What matters most is not what the brand says, but what it does, how it behaves.

Here are a few thoughts you can think about in making that iconic brand for your company:

First and foremost, BE UNIQUE, and stand out.   Great brands achieve a high level of individuality and speak to a person rather than to the entire market.

There is a tendency among some, even at the most illustrious business schools, to treat the term ‘iconic’ as a trendy synonym for successful mass‐market brands. Iconic brands are unique, special, distinctive, and have very strong and appealing personalities. They have the kind of recognition that iconic movie actors or singers have.

Can you brand your product like a rock star?  Or, a movie matinee idol?  That’s what you want to strive for as you build an iconic brand.  Give it a unique personality and a highly distinctive voice, then be true to its personality and voice no matter what.

In iconic branding, the brand’s identity trumps everything else in the marketing plan. Don’t extend an iconic brand too far, for example, or you’ll water down its meaning and lose the special boost in sales and loyalty that your iconic status confers.

BE CLEAR. Refrain from speaking jargonese and from talking manufacturer. If your positioning statement uses acronyms, chances are most people won’t understand your branding, and your branding won’t last very long. Example, “Best DVD Copier” presumes that people understand what “DVD” and “Copier” mean. Ten years from now, who knows if DVDs would still matter. Here’s a good tip for you to try: If your parents get your positioning, then chances are, it’s good.

BE POSITIVE – When creating a brand, make sure that it is established on positive attributes like “doing good things,” or “being a catalyst for change.” Don’t try to create a brand that is focused on beating or damaging your competition. Make sure that your brand promotes happy thoughts. No one would want to buy a product that is majorly focused on hurting its competition. If you want to beat your competition, establish an uplifting brand

Consistency is key. Think of one message and work on it. Many companies commit the mistake of coming up with more than one message because they‘re afraid of being niched and want the entire market for themselves. “We sell the best high-end phones, and the best ones for the budget-conscious.” Let’s face it. You have to cater to a specific market, one brand at a time. This is the reason why big companies try to come up with multiple versions of the same product, so they can brand it for a specific market.

Building a personal brand requires a lot of time and consistency, the latter of which is a critical element to the brand’s success. Being consistent is what builds familiarity and trust in the minds of others and demonstrates that you are very serious about your business and it’s image.

By not being consistent, you may appear to be undecided or confused which leads to a loss in credibility.

The Opposite Test. You can always say that your products are “nutritious, delicious, and fresh.” However, how many other companies can claim that their products are nutritious, delicious and fresh? See if your competition uses the antonyms of the adjectives that you use to describe your product. If it doesn’t, your description is useless. Example, I’ve never seen a company claim its products to be slow, hard to use and bulky.

Fool-proof your message.  Once you have the perfect brand positioning for your perfect product, it’s time to make sure that everyone understands the message it conveys. Start within your organization, from your immediate people to the receptionist down the front desk. Make sure that everyone understands the message.

The power of PR. When it comes to branding, too much money is worse than too little because people who have a lot of money tend to spend a lot of money on stupid things like stupid awards night commercials. Keep in mind that brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself.  Go advertise above-the-line, but don’t waste too much on advertising, use PR.  Make people realize that you’re offering a great product and you get great response.

Try staying away from conventional branding, and avoid speaking like a manufacturer.  Empathize with your target consumer, and genuinely speak to them.  Brands are created in the customers’ minds. And though customers may get attracted by the brand’s value proposition, it needs to live up to the promise and build a relationship based on trust.

Customers value some products as much for what they symbolize as for what they do.  For Nike, Apple, or BMW, customers value the brand stories largely for their identity value.  Acting as “vessels of self-expression, the brands are imbued with stories that consumers find value in constructing their identities.

Every marketer aims at creating brands that customers love and trust. Yet it is only a few brands that are able to win the hearts of customers.  The challenge for brand managers comes after the non-believers have bought into the brand. The brand experience needs to be managed well.

Though branding has been regarded as a science, the process of building brands that are endearing is also an art. The culmination of science and art is what results in the creation of truly great brands.  If your brand becomes known in the market, good.  If your brand becomes popular, better.  But, in time, if your brand becomes an icon, great!


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