Lisa Robbin Young

What Makes A Brand Great? 

When you’re developing your brand, it takes a lot more than just creating a fabulous and memorable logo or coming up with a catchy tagline. A great brand makes a lasting, memorable impact in the mind of your customer. It's built on a combination of things, like strategic planning, consistency, and your brand stories - they "mythology" of your company, your found (YOU), and your offers. It doesn't happen by accident. You have to choose - and keep choosing - to have a great brand.

image of a generic brand board

Photo by Leeloo The First

Show Your Vision

Most brands have a clear vision. Your vision basically outlines the long-term plans and aspirations for your business, so it’s a great way not just to explain to your customers, investors, partners, and others that you’ve got a plan and you know what you’re doing, but it’s also a wonderful reminder to you of what you’re aiming for in the end - sometimes it’s easy to forget. Part of that vision is private. Internal to the company stake holders (employees, team members, you). But the public facing part of your vision is often found in the form of a vision statement. It's one way (but not the only way) to communicate that vision to your Raving Fans.

Consistent Brand Voice

When you’re building a brand, you need to have a consistent brand voice - that way, whether you use your branding on your website or you hire a sticker maker for some giveaway swag, you’ll be able to make sure everything looks the same and, crucially tells the same story with the same message. 

That means you're not speaking informally on your website and then showing up ultra-professional in person. That creates a disconnect. It you say "y'all" on your website, say it in person, too!

One of the best things to do to keep your brand voice consistent is to be genuinie - especially as a personal brand. The worst thing you can do is create a persona for your brand that doesn't feel authentic to who you are. You'll feel imprisoned after a while - chained to a brand identity that doesn't fit you. If your brand is an authentic reflection of who you are and what matters to you, then you won’t have to keep remembering what you said or did or how things sounded; it’s easy to remember - because it's YOU... or at least the version of you that you want the world to know.

This is important: you don't have to air all your dirty laundry. You can keep some things to yourself. No one has a right to see every part of you (except you). YOU get to decide how to "shape" your public brand by deciding what you want the world to know.

That said, you never have full control of your brand because it's ultimately up to your audience. It's how THEY see you and the stories they tell about you that ultimately define your brand. As I often say, you can't control the outcome, all you can do is influence it based on how you show up in the world. That's actually a GOOD thing because if you're being genuine, you're attracting people who like what you're about and repelling the folks that don't. 

Exceptional Customer Service

A great brand understands how important it is to treat your customers well. Understand your market, do appropriate market research, get customer feedback, and engage with your customers to get a broader view of who they are and what matters to them.

When you know what your customers want, you’ll be able to tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to meet their expectations - in ways that also work for you - and you can use your brand to tell them you know what they’re looking for.  

Staying Relevant

Staying on top of trends, attending industry events, going to conferences, and so on - the more you can learn and implement, the better. That doesn't mean running yourself ragged, but it does mean having an idea of what's actually going on inside your market beyond your doors.

Of course, to stay relevant means you might have to make changes in your business, so if you’re really serious about making your brand great, being comfortable with the idea of change is a must. The only constant is change, right? Make calculated, strategic changes when it matters. It will help you stay relevant to the people that matter most to your business.

And it's okay to NOT be mainstream. In fact, most creatives aren't. They've found their own path forward and that's half the reason their audience loves them. Let your audience love you and your brand, too!

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