Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brands Are Built

One of the things I think about a lot is brand success indicators—how likely it is that a brand will succeed, and what components make success likely.  Brand Channel has a great article on this, Successful Start-Ups Launch with a Brand, that delineates why they think some brands thrive and some fail.  The key seems to be to start early and build your brand from the ground up.
One of the biggest misperceptions that companies have is that branding begins when the firm has money and can hire an expert. The most successful companies consider branding from the moment the business is just a kernel of an initial idea. When Joe Smith says he is starting a company and his buddies ask what business he is starting, this is where the concept and the establishment of a brand should begin: in his answer," explains Ed Gyurko, founder of Brand Illumination, a New York-based industry analyst and investor relations consulting firm.
Your brand should infuse every element of your business, because your brand is your word.  You have to start with a plan and answer some deep questions about the purpose behind your product.  Does your product or service fill a need?  Does that need have a wide enough market to support your business?  How exactly and how well does your product or service fill that need?  And (in my mind) most importantly, how do you plan to communicate your product or service as a solution to your potential clients and customers?

It's vital that you consider these things up front.  The most successful businesses have answers to these questions, and every step they take in developing their brand supports their mission statement, their answers to those questions above, from the name to the logo to the collateral.  It has to be cohesive, concise, and clear in order to win.
A brand is not a commodity that successful companies can buy. A successful brand is a highly valued asset that the best companies build – for themselves, for their customers and the markets that they serve. The most successful companies began the process of building their brand long before they first opened their doors to do business.
And of course a snappy logo, a punchy slogan, and a stunning celebrity endorsement doesn't hurt either.

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