Branding is important. Not only can a strong brand distinguish your product/service, but it also builds a strong sense of brand association, where consumers come to associate your brand with a certain product, service or even lifestyle, especially in the presence of strong competition.
From Apple and Google to IKEA and Nike, here are some branding lessons from top global brands to help polish your own!
1. Focus On User Experience
From unboxing a product to visiting a retail store, it’s important to build an experience that’s related to your brand. For instance, IKEA takes great care to create a cosy and homey experience for consumers, to build its association with home shopping.
Beyond creating an optimal retail experience, Apple also takes its packaging seriously – and for good reasons too! The seamless and intuitive unboxing process (usually showcased with product reviews) helps to build positive brand association for the tech giant.
Google, for example, has become synonymous with internet search and email. This didn’t happen by accident as it surpassed its already established competitors by focusing on speed, depth and simplicity of the process. This made it easy for users to switch.
Not only will the constant creation of positive user experience elevate your brand, it’ll forge a strong brand association to distinguish yours from the others.
2. Evoke Emotions
Buying a certain product/service can translate to an indirect endorsement of the brand. Sometimes, consumers may opt for a certain brand precisely because of what it stands for or, how it makes them feel.
Let’s take a look at Nike. From product designs to its athlete ambassadors, the brand is built to consistently inspire people. So, when you choose Nike, you’re also choosing the potential for greatness.
In this similar way, Apple is often associated with creativity, while Mcdonald’s light-hearted content evokes happiness through its creative ads and jingles. The same applies to Disney, Mercedes, Mariott and Haidilao – even without us saying anything about these brands, you’ve probably (subconsciously) associated these brands with some emotions.
Beyond building a strong brand identity, it’s also important to evoke the same emotions associated with your brand, for consumers to share the same sentiments.
3. Be Consistent
Considering all aspects (from communications with messaging, tone, voice to design with font, colours, logo), consistency is key. A constant branding will help to raise the awareness of your brand, as well as build loyalty amongst consumers.
Again, we refer to Nike. From its slogan ‘Just Do It’ to athletes it endorses and the content it puts out, the inspirational messaging of the brand has remained constant. This has been one of the reasons that it such deep brand loyalty.
To do so, develop a brand guideline to ensure the consistency of your brand’s message and assets. The guideline can include details on the editorial voice, usage of logo, tagline, font and colours. While many SMEs may neglect putting it down in pen and paper, doing so forces entrepreneurs to think about your brand. At the very least, it also helps employees and partners better understand how to use your material.
4. Humanise Your Brand
This isn’t just another marketing jargon. With relatability comes trust. Injecting a dash of personality can help consumers better connect with your product/service – an aspect Netflix has excelled in.
By taking on a friendly voice and messaging on social media, one might just take Netflix for a friend who’s constantly making great recommendations on the latest TV shows and movies to watch, as opposed to a corporate brand that is promoting its service (though that’s essentially what all brands do). From making memes out of its shows to adopting a humorous tone, Netflix’s affable social media personality has grown to become synonymous with the brand itself, becoming a positive form of brand association as well.
Plus, connecting with your audience on a more personal level can help to increase engagement with your audience.
5. Create Quality Content
While reach may be important, it’s quality content that’ll attract and appeal to consumers.
Take IKEA for example. Not only is the furniture retailer quick at riding along with the latest trends, its witty captions and bite-sized content help to deliver its message in a palatable (and humorous) manner.
Beyond producing trending pieces of content, brands such as Wildlife Reserves Singapore has been taking the educational approach. In addition to updates on the animals’ well-being, the wildlife park often educates its consumers via Instagram, whether it’s through polls, quizzes or even keeper takeovers (check out its highlights!). Putting out nuggets of information in an interactive way can help increase the brand’s engagement levels and at the same time, spark curiosity about the animals and increase visitorship to the parks.
Creating original pieces of content is a challenging task. So, while producing something that has already been created is inevitable, don’t be afraid to put your spin to it, to distinguish your brand. For instance, you can adopt different content formats, or consider looking at a topic from a different perspective.
While there are many lessons we can learn from great brands, there is, unfortunately, no one formula to guarantee success. As with all things creative, building a brand identity that’s unique to yours will require much trial and error.
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