Brand building is one of the most difficult exercise that any entrepreneur needs undertake . Brand building is a long term exercise, which goes beyond the Sales and marketing .
Your core defines your brand. It is your personality, built into your product. If you are a person who loves solving problem, your product will be doing the same. The brand whether personal or business tells deeply about your vision of life or your thought process towards understanding issues and resolving them.
For a newbie entrepreneur , building a brand is a challenge . First thing they do is to spend a lot of money on promotion even before the product is ready. But often these produce dismal results.
Brand is not an intangible thing .
It is your product + your engagement with customers and other stakeholders.
It is the overall experience of the person/organization who interacts with you or your company. Great brands not only derive respect because of the awesome product features but how they engage with customers, suppliers , advertisers and everyone else in the ecosystem. If a company has a great product but treats it suppliers badly, the news of such a behaviour will soon be heard. The brand then will suffer a loss of reputation ( like Apple in case of labor violations in China ).
Of course every site on the internet desire to aim for the popularity of Google and Facebook. However needs to remember that though they earn enormous profits but they do give back in form of charities or other contributions too. One can contribute to charity at Facebook. Google too has multiple tools available to help people around the world collaborate and build things.
It is the vision of the person owning the brand that defines it. I am sure you would have known many cases where things turned around for good or bad. Suddenly a company stopped listening to its customers and fell out of favor. In another case an old dead brand was brought to life and suddenly it became very popular.
The brand building is simple because it ties in your ( the brand owner’s ) way of life and his/her vision. Brand building is also complex because like humans it too may have shades of grey.
In my opinion, here is what makes a great brand.
It understands pain points and seek to resolve it
It has a clear, consistent message
It adopts to changing customer needs
It gives back in charity/contributions
It is very focussed and has a high recall value ( think Apple, Google, Amazon ). Sadly we do not know what Microsoft stands for anymore.
Brands are inspired by people who create them. Does your brand equals what you are in person ?
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net