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Article -> Building Your Brand

Date Added: April 2006

Building strong brands means getting the right brand knowledge to your customers. Brands can be linked to thoughts, feelings, perceptions, beliefs, images, attitudes, experiences and behaviors. The main goal of having a brand is to enhance customers' awareness and create loyal customers to maximize your profitability. To effectively build brand equity, there are three processes to follow: (1) choose brand elements, (2) provide an association, and (3) measure effectiveness.

When first choosing your brand, there are many options for companies to consider when choosing a brand element or identity. This could be the product name or service, logos, symbols, tagline, or packaging. For example, Snapple has unique, wide-mouth bottles with catchy juice names. This gives Snapple value branded equity and differentiates it from other juices.

There are six criteria for choosing brand elements:

  1. Make your brand memorable so customers can easily remember it.
  2. Make your brand meaningful to customers.
  3. Make your brand likeable and appealing to customers.
  4. Make your brand transferable so your company can easily introduce new products.
  5. Make your brand adaptable and current.
  6. Make your brand easy to protect from competitors so they cannot copy your ideas.

It's often good to combine several elements when determining your brand. You can use a logo and tagline together to get a strong effect. For example, Nike has the "swoosh" logo and the "Just Do It" tagline. Nike is known around the world and is very successful. Taglines are very powerful, but often overlooked. They are short, concise and very efficient. The State Farm Insurance jingle of "Like a Good Neighbor..." is a great example of an effective tagline.

Now that you have an idea about the elements of choosing a brand, it's important to think of secondary associations. This includes such things as distribution, spokespeople, sponsorships, etc. This helps customers better identify with your brand and be more likely to affect customers' evaluations of the brand.1

Associations are especially efficient when customers don't care about what brand they choose. They often will buy a brand based on associations. Spokespeople are good examples of this. People will sometimes buy a product if someone famous uses it because there is the sense of connection with the famous person. Tiger Woods is the spokesperson for Nike. Golfers who aspire to be like Tiger Woods are likely to buy the products that they are promoting because they think if they have the same products, they will be identify with Tiger.

Once you have your brand element and associations identified, it's important to measure effectiveness by conducting brand audits. You will be able to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your brand to ensure you are receiving the maximum value. A brand audit will identify the relevant elements and make recommendations on whether to modify, delete, or add to different areas of your brand. It also will evaluate if your secondary associations affect your brand equity.

Branding is an important process in making sure that your customers are knowledgeable about your products/services and have strong associations with them. Companies that follow the process of measuring brand equity will be successful in developing a brand that customers can relate to.

1 Keller, Kevin Lane. "Choosing the right brand elements and leveraging secondary associations will help marketers build brand equity." Branding Shortcuts. September/October 2005.

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