The theme of our six part series has been Brand Power. Are you building it?
Building something that lasts usually means a strong foundation. Your brand’s strong foundation is the basis for its longevity.
The process of creating, establishing and sustaining your brand is a holistic one. There are so many things that go into successful, sustainable branding. We started the series by talking about the 3 things that make a brand stand out. We continued with defining your brand versus your branding and why it’s so important to blend online and in-person activities and how you build your authenticity.
Now the question is how do you sustain and grow your brand and branding over time?
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” (Warren Buffet )
This is so true especially today, from a very smart man, who has a lot to say about being in and succeeding in business.
You look at Apple, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, BMW, Visa to name a few and they all demonstrate common factors that have contributed to their sustainability and innovation. A great site for studying the great brands is www.rankingthebrands.com.
A few thoughts on this.
Brand Lineage is a brands blood line, history, derivation from origin to present.
Brand Legacy is how that brand lineage will be remembered and carried on.
Brand Leadership is how a brand innovates and serves, pays forward and gives back. Brand leadership is that value statement and promise in action.
Sustaining your brand is about what you do and how you are perceived while you are right here, right now! It is also the promise of how you want to be remembered long after you are gone.
Credit Image: Eva Abreau on Flickr
Here are ten factors that can build brand sustainability that I see represented in all great brands, be it a company or person.
1) Value-Ultimately what I do and offer has to bring and deliver value to people’s day and lives by making it better. That’s why people stay and refer others.
2) Consistency-People need to be able to count on me delivering that value consistently to them , so that they always get what they have come to expect from me.
3) Innovation-It’s so important to be reframing, refreshing, and reinventing the way you deliver your products and services. I have tried to follow important trends and review things yearly! Technology and trends have given us all so many ways to do this. Check out www.trendwatching.com for great ideas!
4) User experience-The unified, consistent experience you create for people with your products, services and online presence is crucial. Make that experience easy, friendly and fun.
5) Unexpected Service-Wow them each and every time with unexpected, over the top customer service, especially when something has gone wrong or someone is not satisfied. The thing that I find that has helped set companies apart from each other is delivering that when people are most satisfied.
6) Customer Loyalty-Show your appreciation to all your customers, but especially the loyal long term ones. They tend to get lost in the effort to find new customers. I have a list of the people who have supported me over the past 4 years. They are the foundation of any long term success. How do you make them feel special and appreciated?
7) Company Culture-The environment you create for your employees and customers translates to the public’s perception. A strong company and community culture says a whole lot about why a brand is successful. “Success leaves clues.”
9) Get More Personal- With the new media platforms; it makes it easier to give people a glimpse of the real people that make a company happen and succeed. A great example of this is Zappos.com
10) Engagement-Invite feedback, ideas and suggestions. This kind of transparency bolsters your authenticity. Reward and pass on your success to employees and customers by giving them incentives, gifts, and premiums.
One of the bigger emerging trends the past few years is social entrepreneurship. Believe it or not, there actually is something called The Center for Social Leadership and it has published a book called, “Social Leadership: A Fresh Vision for Old Problems.”
It takes time to establish yourself and your place, but once you do, it’s up to you to stay on top of trends, customer needs and market changes and don’t forget to have fun! If you really want to see the biggest,baddest brand in the world just go to New York City!
What brands have impacted you over time and what have they done to keep you loyal?
More from living