Brand Builders: 5 Practices for Keeping Your Brand Strong

After all the hard work and resources that companies dedicate to creating a strong brand and launching it well, the last thing they expect is to see it deteriorate before their eyes. Yet often, that’s exactly what happens.

Once the brand launch is far in the rearview mirror, companies shift their focus away from the big picture toward daily marketing activities and short-term challenges. The brand strategy falls victim to “set it and forget it” – and no brand is inherently relevant, resonant or purpose-driven enough to withstand that. Even with the strongest of brands, when the primary marketing function is putting out daily fires, the overarching brand message weakens over time.

So, how can you prevent your company’s brand from becoming the industry weakling.? Like keeping anything strong – exercise it! Adopt these five practices as your brand builder exercise routine, and you’ll soon see your brand “muscle up.”

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1. Thought Leadership

Assuming the role of a thought leader means taking a position as a leading expert and a guide within your area of expertise, for your customers and your industry. This is a big role – and responsibility.

This is why claiming a thought leader position forces companies to stop talking about what they sell and, instead, focus on sharing their insights about the opportunities and challenges their industry is facing.

Thought leadership is an effective brand builder practice because as a thought leader, the company is always asking itself, “What do we stand for?” – a question that forces internal teams regularly to re-remember their brand’s competitive position and differentiators.

2. Content Publishing

A must for a thought leadership position, and applicable to other brand positions that your company may adopt (i.e., “go-to resource” or “industry innovator”), creating and distributing expert content increases brand visibility and relevancy – both of which are key to building a stronger brand. Highly engaging content also creates emotional resonance and a deeper connection with a brand’s audiences, turning them into raving fans.

Becoming a content publisher forces companies to continually explore new topics that provide value to their audiences and are closely aligned with their brand. This means that content publishers are far less likely to neglect their big picture strategy, and they’re continuously evolving their brand.

3. Consistency

Many companies take their brands on a roller coaster ride. This may mean providing stop-and-go communications or swapping the brand message for something “new and shiny” every so often – both huge marketing faux pas.

Although it may seem that going MIA for a short period of time can’t do much damage, there is simply no such thing as a strong brand that comes back even stronger after an absence. It invariably comes back weaker, having to rebuild its recognition and trust.

Equally, inconsistency in the form of straying from the brand message results in communications that are confusing to audiences. So if your company is sufficiently “out there” but your message is not “on brand,” you’re actually weakening your brand each time it shows up.

4. Personality

Of all the brand builders, imbuing a company’s marketing with an engaging brand personality is the least practiced – especially in B2B.

Most often, it’s simply because the company neglected to articulate personality during initial brand development. Without a defined personality, it’s virtually impossible for marketing communications to be anything more than “professional” – which is not a very differentiating personality trait in the business world.

5. Design System

A design system is a visual translation of the company’s brand and includes the look and feel of all brand touchpoints and communications pieces.

By developing consistent and engaging extensions of the brand design for all graphic elements and content, a company reinforces its brand continually. After all, every element, no matter how seemingly insignificant, makes an impression – good, bad, right or wrong. Therefore, every element needs to be designed with intention – that is, if you’re going for “good and right,” as opposed to “bad and wrong.”

Good design heightens the audience’s experience and subtly communicates how easy it is to work with your company. In fact, nothing erodes the perception of quality and ease of use faster than bad design – if your visual design system is clunky, your company will be thought of as clunky, too.

Let’s make sure your brand has muscle. We can assess the strength of your brand today and discuss how to ensure that it remains strong. Contacts us at 410-732-8379 or to learn more about our strategic approach to brand development and design.

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