Branding For Dummies
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Each year, Interbrand, a global branding consultancy, produces a ranking of the best global brands by value. The 2013 report concluded that the following brands were the most valuable in the world:

#1 Apple #11 Mercedes-Benz
#2 Google #12 BMW
#3 Coca-Cola #13 Cisco
#4 IBM #14 Disney
#5 Microsoft #15 HP
#6 GE #16 Gillette
#7 McDonald’s #17 Louis Vuitton
#8 Samsung #18 Oracle
#9 Intel #19 Amazon
#10 Toyota #20 Honda

To build even a fraction of the awareness, credibility, and reputation that these global brands share, instill your brand with the following ten traits.

Simple, powerful differentiation

Great brands differentiate themselves in a way that’s clear, easy to explain, and meaningful to consumers and all other stakeholders. They hold a unique position in the market because they provide benefits competitors can’t match.

A clear and compelling vision

Brands are built from the inside out. That means they originate in companies with clearly established mission, vision, and values statements that drive all their organization and branding decisions. Then they express their beliefs in everything they say and do, from the products and services they offer to the staff they attract to the communications they send into the marketplace.

A promise consumers value and believe

The greatest brands symbolize solutions that consumers want, need, understand, and believe in, delivered with experiences that continuously exceed customer desires and expectations. Great brands understand that the promise customers believe in and count on the brand to continuously uphold is the essence of the brand. It’s the pledge upon which the brand and its reputation is built and kept.

Distinctive, reliable, superior products and services

Great brands deliver great products. They excel in product design, production, and packaging; they’re known for superb communications; and they’re heralded for excellent service before, during, and after the sale.

A strong, memorable brand identity

Just seeing the names of the world’s great brands listed at the start of this article should unlock images in your mind of each brand’s logo and possibly the brand’s tagline, musical signature, and ad look as well. That’s because each great brand puts forth a brand identity that’s simple, strong, memorable, and presented without variation on every product, in every market, through every communication, and at every consumer contact point.

A consistently presented brand message

A distinct and compelling brand message is at the heart of all great brand communications, regardless of the communication format or medium. Whether you encounter a great brand through its product or packaging, its print or broadcast ads, its social-media or website presence, or through a personal experience, the character of the brand is always consistent, and the core brand message never varies.

An amazing brand experience

An amazing brand experience positively reinforces the brand message and promise at every single point of encounter. Great brand experiences start at the very first impression and continue without fail through the purchase deliberation, the buying process, and after the sale when awesome service generates the kind of customer brand passion that cements brand relationships for life.

Brand allegiance through and through

Find a great brand, and you’ll find a business that’s headed by a brand champion and staffed by a team of brand fans. To develop allegiance and commitment to your brand, start with those in the highest levels of leadership and ownership positions and continue through to every staff person who has an impact on your product, promise, and brand experience.

Adaptability to changing times

Strong brands remain strong even as they migrate to new geographic areas, into new consumer groups, and through changing economic times and market conditions. In spite of changes in the competitive arena, economic conditions, consumer interests, or market trends, they stay relevant to consumer needs, interests, and tastes.

Focus, passion, and persistence

Another common trait of those who build great brands: They have discipline, persistence, and strong commitments to their brands. Those who get bored with their brands and start sampling new marketplace positions, new points of distinction, new looks, and new variations on their brand promises never reach the league of great and valuable brands.

The prize of sky-high brand equity goes only to those who stick to their brand messages, propositions, and promises with unwavering loyalty. Repetition may sometimes feel boring, but it builds great brands, and great brands build great value.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bill Chiaravalle served as Creative Director with world-renowned brand strategy and design firm Landor Associates before founding Brand Navigation, which has been honored with numerous branding, design, and industry awards. Barbara Findlay Schenck is a nationally recognized marketing specialist and the author of several books, including Small Business Marketing Kit For Dummies.

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