By Greg Berube, January 15, 2102

5 steps to build a brandToday’s brand environment has become a virtual war zone — brands competing for attention – too many brands and not enough eyeballs.

It’s always been difficult for a brand to maintain its presence or dominance of the landscape and still survive as a meaningful and relevant communication tool. As time marches on, brands can become stagnant and their meaning “confused”, not to mention primary and secondary target audiences could change and alter their needs.

The development or evolution of any brand must have a plan in place for further development and consideration. The loss of touch or relevance with the target group can be devastating.

There are five key points to consider when developing or evolving your brand strategy:

  • Stand for something and own it. By owning some specific territory, a brand can dictate what is acceptable by the consumer. These brands are typically synonymous with a category; etc. Apple – computers, Kleenex – facial tissue and Tylenol – pain relief. The messaging constantly reinforces the brand, its beliefs, continues to keep the consumer engaged and the competition.
  • Use colour to your advantage. Colour provides brands with instant recognition. A strong brand will use a colour to its advantage at all times. Coca Cola – Red, General Motors – Blue and TD Bank – Green all dominant brands with dominant colour recognition that defines their category.
  • Operate within your category boundaries. All categories have a set of cues that denote their brands. Nike uses a swoosh to denote athletics and the Royal Bank uses a lion to denote strength and security. These stake out territory and as leaders set the accepted category trends. Consumers need to be reassured they are supporting the correct brands – visual cues are necessary.
  • Be aggressive and take risks. Brands will need to take risks in order to preserve dominance and maintain control of their territory. A&W re-introduced a nostalgia theme on its root beer cans – targeting parents and grandparents who remember the “earlier” brand, Federal Express re-introducing it’s brand as FedEx, using the “street name” to formally identify the brand. Taking a risk can lead to market dominance and is therefore worthwhile.
  • Change or die. Change can be as simple as a change in colour, typography, and graphic interpretation or as drastic as a change in brand personality.  Don’t be complacent or consumers and your competitors will forget you.