Brands have become a part of every single person's day-to-day life, especially mine. When I get out of bed in the morning, I get up and put on my flimsy slippers that I stole from the Marriot (shhhhh!!), then I go to my Keurig and start making my favorite Trader Joe's coffee. I put on my UO clothes, wash my face with Kiehl's face wash, get in my Fiat, etc. the list can go on-and-on.
Everything we touch and see is a brand. That's why it's so important that your brand stands out! Your brand needs to become memorable and a part of people's lives.
Before I dive in, let me start by saying there is no single process of creating a successful brand. Everyone is different and has a different process. 8 Characteristics Every Successful Brand Must Have is an outline of the information that I think is necessary but I encourage you to always read more and find what resonates with you.
Creating a brand can seem like a difficult process to most and easy to some. If you're a designer maybe your like me where your mind thinks of so many different directions and possibilities that it can sometimes be hard to single out the best solution (the creative mind struggle is REAL!). Even with my experience, I sometimes still find myself jumping through hoops with hopes I'll find the best answer after I'm completely exhausted and out of breath, left with no options in front of me.
It's ok, it happens to the best of us. Without struggle, there would be no gain or no reward for all you hard work.
BRAND DESIGNERS DO MORE THAN DESIGN
I've found that the "marketing" mind of the designer is the one that constantly needs to be exercised. Today, in order to create a successful brand, a designer MUST think way beyond the pretty colors and shapes. You need to understand your audience and think about how a brand will translate onto multiple platforms or in various forms.
This is why I always say that hiring a designer is like entering a relationship. As a professional, I want my clients to always be satisfied with what I produce for them. Which is why I get inside my client's heads, get to know them and get all information upfront before I start designing.
SIDE NOTE: (You'll hear me saying your brand, branding, brand identity, ID, etc. To me, they are all the same. Your "visual brand" is what I say when I'm referring specifically to design.)
ALL YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
Does your brand have a story? Do you see a specific type of customer using your product or service? Is your product original? Will your employees dress casual? What's your color palette? Are people greeted when they walk into your store? Is a yellow monkey wearing a sombrero a good option for your logo?...WHY NOT!?
Yes, these are some questions you should know the answers to upfront and aren't always the easiest to answer. Especially when it's your brand and you want it to be PERFECT.
WHY YOU NEED TO LET GO OF PERFECTION
TRUST ME I AM THE QUEEN OF TRYING TO MAKE EVERYTHING PERFECT, So I'll level with you...You want me to throw some real hard honesty your way right now? EyeSavvy's branding isn't even fully figured out yet...
Yup! I know that sounds a little crazy because I own a company that specifically creates Brand Identities... BUT...EyeSavvy is so important to me that I will always be thinking of ways to make it better.
So I've decided to let go of perfection a little bit. I knew that my business needed to start fast and my branding was something I can always perfect later as I experiment with some trial and error.
(I'm sure a lot of you feel this way) when you care so much about your brand and you want it to be PERFECT, you keep spinning and spinning your wheels trying to find all the right pieces.
I'm here to tell you to let go of all of that right now. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and dive in. Be confident in your brand, let all of the anxiety wash away and get ready to enjoy floating away in a sea of your "I'm a badass," attitude.
I'll figure it all out just like you will figure it all out too.
Implement these 8 characteristics and I know your brand will become successful.
8 CHARACTERISTICS EVERY SUCCESSFUL BRAND MUST HAVE
1.) A UNIQUE PRODUCT OR SERVICE
It goes without saying that every business is based on selling a product or a service. But what makes your product or service unique, fun, and exciting?
Taking your time to define this point of difference may take some time but it is going to be the start of a successful brand.
You want to build a product or a brand that people will want to keep coming back to because they’ve had such a great experience with it. Make it fun!
Some examples? Maybe your coffee shop offers free refills on Tuesdays. Oh, what!? Your nail salon gives you free bubbly every time you visit!? A cupcake vending machine!? WINE WITH VITAMINS IN IT?! whhhaatttttt.
These attributes are all memorable and keep the customer coming back and enjoying an experience.
2.) A STORY
I’m not talking about a bedtime story or a novel, but people like the sentimental connection of hearing your story. People like to know the history behind who you are and how your business came to be.
Don’t worry about being a fantastic writer, sit down with a glass of wine, get nostalgic and write from the heart (all the editing and grammar can come later).
When your story is read, the customer will feel more connected to you and your brand which will make them more likely to purchase your service or product.
3.) A TARGET MARKET
Knowing your target market is a crucial part of your brand and the marketing involved. Who is your ideal customer? Where do they shop? What do they wear? What are their favorite activities?
Get inside your customers head and ask yourself what advertisements they might see every day.
If your target market is 30-year-old mothers with newborns, then perhaps giving free samples at the end of Lamaze class is a good idea. Or maybe you can advertise with specific bloggers that are known to be read by mothers.
Envision yourself in your customer's shoes and get to know them on a deeper level. This will be a huge help when you start to spend money on advertising.
4.) AN ONLINE PRESENCE
We live in a digital world and it's only going to become more advanced each day. Having an “Online Presence” can mean so many things (and maybe is a larger topic for an individual post down the line).
But let's start with a few basics. Your website should be the main platform where all of your information lives. Once you have your website, everything can tie back to that, such as social media or email marketing.
It’s also crucial to have a website so people can find you when they search for your business on Google or Yelp. If people are unable to find your business in certain search engines, they will move onto the next business that they see! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain clients or customers!
You should always have an online presence and constantly be updating it with different SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies. Here are some links that can help you with optimizing your digital marketing and SEO:
5.) GREAT DESIGN + BRAND CONSISTENCY
Great brand design is more than just a logo; it goes much deeper than that. A brand is a feeling or a memory. It’s how the customer remembers you through visuals, communication, and experience. That’s why investing in a high-quality brand identity is an imperative step for a successful brand/business.
Paying a low-cost designer to do a logo here and maybe a poster there could potentially ruin your brand image. Why? Your brand needs to be thought of holistically. A design that looks good on a package may not work as well on the web. Or a design element that was used on the poster doesn’t match the logo.
It's important to define color palette, style, texture, photography, etc. in the beginning so that everything you create uses the same design formula and will remain consistent.
My advice to you is to never underestimate the power of fantastic visual branding and great design, hire an expert to think about all of the puzzle pieces before trying to put everything together. There are a lot of elements you need to think about while building your business and having a knowledgeable brand designer is an essential asset to your success.
Remember: Hiring a designer is like entering a relationship; it needs to be a great fit for both people. Each person (designer and client) should list out their wants and needs before starting work with one another to avoid any miscommunication throughout the design process.
6.) FANTASTIC CUSTOMER SERVICE
Everyone has heard the saying, “the customer is always right”. In reality, this quote is completely false but we live in the 21st century where customer satisfaction is vital. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that if I experience bad customer service somewhere, I’m 97% positive I’m not going back.
Owning a business is a lot of work and it’s normal to get wrapped up in the craziness of it all. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. What’s the first thing the customer sees when they walk into your store? What do they get excited about? How do they react to your product? Could there be improvements to help make everyone happy?
Also, another important factor that will help with your customer service is keeping your employees happy.
If your employees are happy in the work environment, that happiness will be spread to the customer:
“That girl at the register was really nice and considerate, I’ll definitely be coming back.” The little things will turn into being the big things.
7.) THE “WOW” FACTOR
I know most of this blog post seems like it’s all about “wowing” your customer. That may be the case but when I say, “wow factor” I mean doing something no one else has done that literally makes the customer shout “WOW!”
One example may be sending your client a gift card in the mail for no reason other than the fact that you value them as a client. Offer someone something free, just for fun! Or add something wacky to your store.
I remember the first time a Cold Stone Creamery came to my town. One of the first things I was told about Cold Stone (other than their heavenly ice cream) is that if you give the servers a tip they will sing for you. “Really!?, I thought, "that's so rad!"
Make people talk about your brand by “Wowing” them!
Screw what everyone else is doing! Yes, here at EyeSavvy we say what's on our mind when we feel passionate about something.
It's important to see what your competition is doing, but there's a balance. Trust me when I say that constantly comparing yourself to your competitors will bring a lot more stress and anxiety into your life. Don’t get hung up if someone’s website is better than yours or if they have a better idea than you.
In the end, all that matters is your business and what YOU believe.
You can be your genuine self by following your intuition; your "gut" will be your most valuable possession that drives your inspiration and passion. Use it and give yourself the confidence to excel your brand because YOU believe in it so much. You will feel much better, I promise.
Like what you've read?
IT GETS BETTER. I've designed an extensive workbook for you, that breaks down all of the 8 characteristics listed above. It will help you define your target market, start your brand design and help you give your customers an overall stupendous experience.
Thank you so much for reading my blog post. I'd love to hear more about your brand and if my information helped. Feel free to share with your family and friends!
With Best Intentions,