By Raksha Mahabeer (The Beat), co-founder of Summertime
"What makes a great brand?” - As the co-owner of a vibrant creative studio specialising in design, branding and marketing called SummerTime, I probably get asked that question every single work day, at least… And while branding and marketing is both a science and an art, often entailing complex analysis and sophisticated insights, the answer to this question is pretty simple and straight forward.
There are three characteristics that make a great brand…
It needs to be meaningful, memorable and consistent.
What makes a brand meaningful?
Something that’s meaningful has impact. It has purpose. It makes you feel something… It tugs at your heart. Often it is something that captivates and motivates.
A great example of this is Red Bull. More than ‘just those guys who sell an energy drink’, Red Bull are the people who contribute to getting extremely cool stuff done (emphasis on ‘extreme’). They put their money where their mouth is and have “literally” given people like Felix Baumgartner wings. Not to mention their involvement in other high-impact sports like Formula 1.
What makes a brand memorable?
To be memorable, you have to deliver something valuable (which is why your brand first has to be meaningful). When you buy that Louis Vuitton handbag, you buy it not just because it is beautiful or practical. You buy it because it is meaningful and memorable. The brand itself is associated with class, fashion and sophistication. That avant garde flair is weaved into everything they do, including the way their stores are designed, the way they advertise, even the experience you have when dealing with their staff.
With such a unique and special overall brand experience, we associate certain emotions and stories with a brand. This, in turn, cements our relationship with the brand - making the brand memorable.
What makes a brand consistent?
Much like a brand needs to be meaningful to be memorable, every brand experience has to be consistent for the brand to become great.
There’s no use in stopping at the KFC in Sandton and getting juicy and crispy chicken, but when you order the same meal in Rosebank you get stale, dry chunks. The same thing goes for the brand itself.
A brand needs to look, feel and offer the same things time after time. It needs to build trust. It needs to deliver. Every. Single. Time.
Different slogans, different brand promises, different brand experiences confuse the market and results in lack of meaning and the brand only being memorable because it’s so bad and inconsistent, if it’s memorable at all.
So here’s where the science and the art comes in: in order to be meaningful, memorable and consistent, you need to have a clear vision of how to create your brand and what your brand stands for and promises (as I explained in my previous two blog posts). This requires some leg work and a lot of introspection. But once you know what makes you tick and what value you bring, it illuminates your way forward. As the DNA of your business, the golden-thread that can be pulled through, it begins to inform and precede every step you take. Ultimately leaving you with a great brand.
So until my next blog on “How can I best convey my brand?”, may the (branding) force be with you…
Raksha Mahabeer, or ‘The Beat’ as she is known, is a proudly South African entrepreneur, she co-owns SummerTime, a vibrant creative studio specialising in design, branding and marketing. She is a connector, a communicator, a purpose-driven, inspired inspirer! She prides herself in partnering with SMEs in establishing new brands with a view to create jobs in South Africa and the African continent. Believing in business actualisation through conscious creativity, Raksha is a marketing and brand strategy expert with a keen strategic, creative and business mind focused on assisting SMEs in their endeavour to formulate effective marketing strategies that highlight tangible value and meet real human needs. On a personal level, she describes herself as a finger-tapping, drum-beating, music-making, cloud-watching, pixie-prancing, tree-hugging, fire-walking, soul-dancing, Yoda-quoting, oneness-embracing, effervescent, hippie-at-heart!
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