Most people who own or run small businesses work hard to make those enterprises successful. But what is it that makes a brand succeed or fail? Here are some essential elements for success.
1. Commitment to High Quality
Having high-quality products or services helps people remember your business for all the right reasons. Quality can also promote related characteristics, such as consistency and durability.
Christina Bauer-Plank is the global vice president of Hellmann’s and Dressings at Unilever. She discussed how people buy Hellmann’s brands about 1,000 times every minute in more than 65 countries. Bauer-Plank also mentioned that in certain places, like the United States, the United Kingdom and Brazil, one out of every two refrigerators have Hellmann’s products in them.
She also explained how focusing on high-quality results has been integral to the brand since its founding in 1913. More specifically, Richard Margaret Hellmann created the brand after people who came to their New York City deli commented on how good the mayonnaise was.
The couple tied a blue ribbon around each jar of mayonnaise once they felt satisfied it was the best possible. The brand retains that commitment to blue-ribbon quality today through its various standards.
Spend some time thinking about what quality means for your brand. How can you maintain those aspects, even as your company grows or even changes hands? How could you help employees take ownership of that commitment to quality in everything they do?
2. Strong Company Culture
Building your company’s culture can take a while, but the payoffs are usually worthwhile. Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, helped take the brand from a small local chain to a nationally recognized specialty grocery retailer.
Rauch believes culture is the only company attribute others cannot copy or take. Moreover, he says it’s the most important factor for success.
A good starting point for creating a company culture is to communicate it to employees. After all, they’re the ones who will embody it every day. Relatedly, ask them for input. What cultural elements are missing, or which ones could be stronger?
It’s also often valuable to compare your company’s current culture with the ideals you find in your industry or the broader marketplace. Where do those businesses excel? Such evaluations will help you pinpoint where room for improvement exists and how you’re already doing well.
3. Visible Social Media Presence
Social media has become so popular among some demographics that people don’t bother going to Google to find a brand’s website. They’ll just check for it on social media instead.
Social media platforms can also fit into your advertising strategy. For example, Instagram is visual-centric, so it can stimulate brand recall if you choose to advertise there.
However, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of getting overeager about social media. Trying to have your business represented on every single platform often takes too much work. It’s usually better to choose a few platforms most appropriate for your target market and goals, then work from there.
You can also use social media scheduling tools so that new content goes out on all platforms at once. Such options make social media management less manual and reduce the risk of errors or forgetting to publish things when intended.
4. Positive Brand Equity
Brand equity is the additional value a brand’s name gives to a product. For example, when people need tissues, some buy Kleenex, while others don’t mind purchasing the off-brand competitors.
Brand equity can be either positive or negative. It all depends on what kinds of experiences consumers have.
Positive brand equity connects to success because it means the audience recognizes and trusts a brand more than other options. It is not necessarily true that those brands are better than other possibilities. However, they’re what consumers choose most often, and that’s what matters to a company’s bottom line.
Brand awareness, perceived quality and the characteristics people associate with your brand are some of the foundational elements of brand equity. If you feel your brand equity is not currently at the level you’d like, examine those factors first. They’re good starting points for strengthening your brand equity and helping people have more favorable opinions and experiences overall.
It could also be helpful to survey some of your customers to learn specific things. For example, what is it that makes them choose other brands instead of yours? How likely are they to recommend your brand to a friend? Their feedback could highlight where you have work to do to help people perceive your brand as highly valuable.
Start Improving Your Brand Today
No brand is immediately successful. Instead, the people behind it must make ongoing efforts to work on weaknesses and highlight the brand’s strengths. Treat the information here as food for thought as you figure out where your brand stands among its competitors.