In today’s fiercely competitive business world, a strong brand is the foundation for your thriving business. But it’s more than just a logo and tagline. A strong brand represents your company’s identity, builds connections, and earns trust and loyalty. So, let’s discover what makes a strong brand, so you can create one of your own.
What Is a Strong Brand?
A strong brand is highly regarded and perceived as valuable. It has an excellent reputation, a loyal customer base, and offers high-quality products or services.
Strong brands are also characterised by the fact that they are not afraid to stand out and clearly communicate their uniqueness.
As a result, they have a higher brand equity—a greater overall financial value in the marketplace.
So in short, a strong brand has a high brand equity.
What Makes a Strong Brand: 13 Characteristics
1. Focus on the Target Audience
Strong brands understand their target audience deeply. This knowledge helps them create strategies that meet people’s needs and desires.
By studying their audience’s preferences, demographics, and behaviour, they can develop offers and campaigns that resonate with them on a personal level.
Oatly is a great example. The brand highlights its environmental benefits, attracting environmentally-conscious consumers. With its unique, slightly rebellious brand personality, Oatly speaks directly to people with strong opinions.
2. Clear Positioning
Successful brands set themselves apart from their competitors by carving out a distinct position in the market.
Take Volvo, for example. The company has established itself as a brand standing for safety and reliability. Its continued commitment to this field has made Volvo the go-to option for people seeking a safe car.
In contrast, Audi stands for performance and innovative design. By seamlessly blending technology with elegant aesthetics, Audi appeals to an entirely different audience than Volvo.
3. Well-defined Mission and Values
Strong brands go beyond merely selling products or services. They have a clear mission and a set of core values that serve as their guiding principles.
A well-crafted mission statement gives brands a sense of purpose and direction. Core values, on the other hand, establish trust and nurture alignment.
This combination allows a brand to form deeper connections with its customers, employees, and stakeholders, fostering brand culture and relationships rooted in shared beliefs.
Let’s take Patagonia as an example.
With its mission to “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” Patagonia has become a beacon for those prioritising our planet.
4. Appropriate Brand Name
An appropriate brand name is another essential element of strong brands.
A well-crafted name is aligned with the overall brand identity and resonates with the target audience. It comes to mind at critical moments in the customer journey. Meaning: it’s easy to spell, pronounce, and remember.
A strong brand name is also versatile enough to accommodate future growth without limitations, like Allbirds or Puma.
5. Distinct Visual Identity
For example, Grammarly’s signature green creates a distinctive and recognisable identity that conveys trust and techiness alike.
6. Distinct Verbal Identity
Strong brands go beyond visual assets and develop a distinct voice and tone in their communications. This verbal identity helps them connect with their audience and create memorable experiences.
Similar to a brand’s visual identity, its voice can convey the unique personality of the brand.
Whether it’s playful and carefree or professional and authoritative, the verbal identity sets a consistent tone for all of the brand’s messaging.
An example is Innocent Drinks, which adopts a friendly, conversational, and witty tone that strikes a chord with young, health-conscious people.
7. Great Brand Storytelling
Brand storytelling has the power to engage and connect audiences on an emotional level. This fosters loyalty and creates memorable brand experiences.
Take Patagonia again. Through its storytelling, it shares stories about its commitment to the environment, building authenticity and trust.
By inviting customers to be part of something meaningful, Patagonia inspires a sense of purpose and loyalty.
8. Exceptional Brand Experience
Strong brands go the extra mile to create positive and memorable experiences at every touchpoint. They understand that each interaction is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression and build customer loyalty.
Brand experiences can be delivered through various channels like products, services or customer support.
It’s not just about meeting expectations; it’s about exceeding them and creating moments of delight and surprise.
Consider Zappos, for example. When a customer ordered shoes for her late husband, who passed away before the shoes arrived, Zappos sent her flowers to offer condolences.
By going above and beyond, strong brands foster loyalty and generate positive word-of-mouth.
9. Consistency in Brand Communications
Consistency in brand communication is the key to building trust and establishing a strong brand identity.
Successful brands like Nike, understand the importance of maintaining a consistent tone, look, and feel across all touchpoints.
Whether it’s its iconic tagline “Just do it” or the swoosh logo, Nike consistently reinforces its brand assets in the minds of consumers. As a result, we can easily recognise and identify the brand.
10. Fair Pricing
Strong brands build trust and credibility by offering fair pricing. They value long-term relationships over short-term gains and strive to be transparent and ethical.
Everlane is a great example. The brand is committed to pricing transparency, openly sharing information about the costs involved in its products.
Educating customers about the production process helps them make informed decisions and trust the brand.
11. Collaboration and Brand Partnerships
Strong brands understand the value of collaboration and strategic partnership. By joining forces with like-minded brands, they expand their reach, leverage expertise, and create mutually beneficial opportunities.
Garage Project, a local Wellington brewery, partners with artists and other businesses like Belen (vegan bakery) and Whittaker’s (chocolate). These partnerships result in beautiful beer labels, beer-flavoured treats and more.
Through this, they attract new audiences and enhance Garage Project’s brand image.
12. Delivering on Customer’s Expectations
Successful brands always deliver top-notch products or services. When brands fail to live up to their promises, trust and credibility can quickly erode.
Take Volkswagen, for example. The company installed software in its cars to cheat on emissions tests. As a result, Volkswagen faced significant consequences, including hefty fines and damage to its brand reputation.
This serves as a reminder that consistently providing exceptional quality is essential for building trust and maintaining a positive brand image.
13. Innovation and Future-Proofing
Lastly, strong brands stay ahead by being innovative and responsive to customer needs.
Take Tesla, for instance. With its fearless approach to innovation, the brand positioned itself as a leader in the EV industry.
Successful brands also stay relevant in a dynamic and evolving market. They monitor market trends, customer preferences, and technological advances and proactively adapt their strategies and offerings.
Like Netflix, which transitioned from a DVD rental service to a streaming platform to cater to the changing needs of consumers.
- Understand your target audience and cater to their needs.
- Set your brand apart with clear positioning.
- Define a compelling mission and values.
- Choose an appropriate brand name that resonates.
- Establish consistent visual and verbal identities.
- Tell engaging stories to foster emotional connections.
- Create exceptional brand experiences at every touchpoint.
- Stay consistent in your communication to reinforce recognition and build trust.
- Offer fair pricing and transparency.
- Collaborate and form strategic partnerships.
- Build personal connections and engagement.
- Deliver on your customer’s expectations.
- Embrace innovation and adapt to stay relevant in the market.
By focusing on these key areas, you can build a strong brand that connects with its audience, fosters loyalty, and drives long-term success.
Title image by Kaboompics