By Lindsay Kwaselow
1. Be Insanely Unique. This involves diving in and studying what your competitors are doing and do whatever it takes to set yourself apart from the ordinary, monotonous landscape. Do not be vague in your branding approach, but rather zero in on the qualities (or single quality) that simply makes your brand better. According to Entreprenuer.com, “Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” The actual definition of branding involves a marketing practice that identifies, and more than anything, differentiates a product from other products.
Being unique also requires reflecting your own personal values and underlying principles within your brand itself. First you have to identify, what makes your brand or company tick? What do you stand for? What makes you special? Stay true to yourself and to your brand and your audience will follow. This creates a personal experience and today, the experience really is everything.
2. Be a Thought Leader. Don’t act like a know it all. You don’t know it all, so act like a leader. Leaders lead by example. Leaders have an impact on others because they don’t just step outside of the box, they skyrocket themselves up and out of the box. They recognize and talk about companies across industries that have altered and improved the way consumers buy goods and services. Leaders recognize their strengths and dispose of their weaknesses. Better yet, they forget about their weaknesses entirely. Find your strength - one single thing you can do better than anybody else, and RUN with it. There is no such thing as a “Jack of All Trades.” So be a master of something. Own whatever that is, and do it in a way that differentiates your brand from the clutter and the competition.
3. Bleed Trustworthiness and Transparency. Despite the saying, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” you can’t fake being honest. Think of your brand as the promise you make to your customers – and you better intend on always keeping that promise if you’d like to sleep well at night, or more importantly, stay in business. How many people trust Amazon’s purchase process due to the brand they’ve built and the way they’ve changed the game? Everyone trusts the service they provide, and if you’re a Prime member, you trust your package will arrive at your doorstep within two business days. Amazon is in fact so transparent, and their customer base is so incredibly loyal, that they have actually forced the United States Postal Service to work on Sundays. Now that’s some bossy, powerful branding!
4. Start a Serious, Eternal Relationship with Mobile & Social. It’s simple. Your brand needs to be present where and how your customers spend their time. For the first time in history, time spent using mobile apps has actually exceeded the time consumers spend watching T.V. This is huge. We’ve seen studies that show results of consumers spending an overwhelming (and somewhat alarming depending on how you view it) amount of their time on their mobile devices. Here are a few stats to let that settle in:
· According to TechCrunch, “Today’s consumers are spending over 85% of their time on their smartphones using native applications, but the majority of their time – 84% – is spent using just five non-native apps they’ve installed from the App Store.”
· TechCrunch also reports that for social apps, Facebook in particular takes up a large chunk of mobile usage time. “As a category, social networks claim 14% of all smartphone usage – or more than 25 minutes per day. Facebook is the leader here, with 1.25 billion mobile monthly active users.”
· Mobile usage occurs on the go in most cases and is often used to compare prices while physically shopping at a store or showroom. A Placed Inc. and Cars.com study reported, 63% of automotive shoppers researched and shopped online while physically at a dealership using their mobile device.
· In 2013, ComScore reported, “Consumers are spending 1-out-of-3 minutes of all online browsing time on mobile devices and that activity is only expected to increase." - And that was 2 years ago (which is like a decade in digital time).
5. Do Not Underestimate the Untouchable Power of Your Logo. Your logo is the essential core, the foundation, the attributable starting point for the launch of your brand’s absolute, complete identity. In a word, your logo is everything, and it should be everywhere it can possibly be. Furthermore, there is something about simplicity that is a common denominator amongst the most powerful and successful brands ever created. Interbrand compiled a list of the top 100 brands across the world based on the their overall value and yearly revenue. The list included obvious game changers like Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, and Google.
The Logo Factory then conducted a study analyzing the logo designs of each company to determine what they had in common. They revealed, “93% of the top 100 brands had a logo design that was relatively simple in form, and this is not a result of coincidence.” According to DesignBuddy.com, “Simple logos are unquestionably more versatile than their more intricate and detailed counterparts.” If your brand is just starting out, first devote your energy entirely into your logo in order to choose one single, simple, solitary symbol that defines who you are and what you represent.
…And that’s how you brand like a boss!