The 5 Characteristics of Successful Brands
Successful brands all have major components and values in common that make them the profitable brands that they are. As a business owner, it is important to have a customized brand that is true to your business offerings and core values. I am going to walk you through the 5 characteristics that all successful brands share and questions you should be asking yourself about your own brand.
In order to do this, we need to take a look into what branding is. The definition is literally “how a company wants to be perceived by others”. Remember this, ok? Because as we walk through these characteristics, we are going to keep coming back to this main point.
1. Successful Brands are Unique
There are thousands of other businesses out there who do something very similar to what you do and what you sell. The angle you play off of and the brand components that you have are what will set you apart. The most successful and profitable brands have been the ones that have presented their offering from a different angle or thought out of the box. I like to use Apple as my example because I love all things Apple. Apple started by thinking of computers very differently. They wanted a personalized computer. This was something that no one had really heard of before. Look at the success they have now. People like unique.
How many times have you seen a logo that looks almost identical to another logo you have seen once before? The designer got caught up in the trends of the time when creating it, instead of thinking about how they want the business to stand on it’s own and be memorable.
A recent trend in logos that I see being overused is scripty/caligraphy fonts and watercolor effects. Let’s be honest. How many times have we seen this variation of a logo time and time again. There is nothing unique to it, it just gets lost in the sea of other trendy logos.
Now before you start freaking out about your logo and how it looks very trendy, remember there are so many more elements to your brand visuals to make unique and give your business brand a style that only fits you. So just make sure to have elements to your brand that are customized to your business so that you do not totally fit in the same box as everyone else with those trendy logos.
Questions to ask yourself: Does your brand present itself to be unique through its concept of visuals? If your brand is out there presenting itself as the face of your business, do you really want to look very similar to everyone else’s business?
2. Successful Brands Convey Their Story and Message Clearly
If your brand is supposed to be what you want others to perceive of you, your brand needs to easily and quickly convey what it is you do and why you do it. This is where I see a lot of entrepreneurs go wrong when they set out to create their own logo or graphics. I call it “pretty design” syndrome. They create a sweet looking design, but the graphic and logo itself fails to convey the story and message about the business. My job as a graphic designer is to create a design that has the intention and purpose of telling a story.
Obviously logos can’t tell the whole story of a company, but they should give a hint into what they do. Whenever I create a logo for my clients, there is purpose behind each design element. The logo should also build off of the business mission.
The example below is of a past client of mine, Jessica Groff.
Jessica Groff is a mom of young twin girls whose business mission is to help women gain their identity and bodies back after motherhood. She is a lifestyle coach who helps them turn their mess of a world into something beautiful again. With her main mission in mind, we created her logo concept above. The jewel to the left of her name is fragmented and made up of a lot of broken pieces. However, in the end it makes a very unique jewel - just like motherhood!
Another example below is of my client, Nicole, from Business Revived. Her business’s mission is to really take women’s businesses back to the heart of serving their clients and giving them what they need, in order for their business to grow. Her idea is that you sell what your clients actually need and are looking for, not just what you think they want. She is also all about simplifying business and life. As you look at the logo below, you can tell that the logo plays off of this in a really simple way.
Questions to ask yourself: Does this tie into my business mission and message? Is there a reason behind my design elements?
3. Successful Brands Connect With Ideal Clients
Your brand image and message needs to connect with your ideal clients. It should not be trying to attract the most people that it can, but instead the correct people. Every piece of your brand should be in place to attract only those who are a great fit and meant for your product or service. Because in the end, the people who are going to get the most out of what you have to offer, are going to be the eager buyers and the ones who appreciate what you do.
This characteristic plays a big part into your brand message. So every email that you write, every ad you put out there, and every social media post or copy on your website, should be using the “law of attraction” by speaking to your ideal client. The ones who this product is for. That way, your brand message is easily weeding out the people who would not be a great fit and end up being problem customers anyways.
Your brand colors can also really take advantage of this characteristic as well. Certain colors are scientifically proven to evoke certain types of feelings and emotions. So thinking of how you want your potential clients and customers to think when they view your brand can really be useful. It is not a coincidence that many fast food restaurants use the colors red and yellow. Together, these colors are known to provoke the appetite and feelings of hunger. Blue is a trustworthy color and many banks use the color blue. You will see many health and wellness brands use green, as this color is often associated with nature and eco-friendliness.
Choosing my brand colors was a decision that I mulled over when creating my own business logo. I chose the colors I did because they were still feminine and felt right to me, but were not the pinks that everyone else in my industry seemed to be choosing.
Questions to ask yourself: Is your brand message working at attracting only the right and best people? Do your colors make sense with who you want to attract and what you are offering?
4. Successful Brands Show Up Where Their Audience Is
Successful brands are strategic with where and how they show up. They think about where their target audience hangs out. For example, Lowes and Home Depot know to show a good amount of commercials on the HGTV channel. Nike knows to do commercials on sports channels for obvious reasons.
Successful brands know which social media platforms are going to be to their advantage and do market research on what hashtags to use to get in front of the right people. You can do the same with your business. Get into the mind of your target audience and start showing up where they hang out.
Questions to ask yourself: Who are some of your competitors and where are they spending their time showing up? Where would your ideal client be hanging out on social media? What hashtags would they use? What times would they most likely be on? What types of companies and celebrities would they follow?
5. Successful Brands Are Simple To Understand
A good brand must be simple and easy to understand. I am going to use Apple as my example again. All Apple designs are very simple and sleek. Their products, their packaging, their ads and website, etc. On their website, you will find a simple black font, lots of white background and white space, and not much text to read. They eliminate anything that is unnecessary. Their brand visuals play excellently off of their product simplicity. Their computers are slim, simple, user-friendly and have no extra do-dads.
Just remember, if your brand visuals, website or message are confusing from too many things to look at, your customers won’t buy. Buyers don’t want to work hard to know how you can be useful to them or their end desire.
Questions to ask yourself: What is the ONE thing you want to be known for being the BEST at? How can you incorporate that into every component of your brand?
Successful brands all know that a company’s brand can make or break the success and ability to make profit because brand design is a well thought out process with intention behind every decision. So next time you are wondering why designers seem to take a long time designing things, that is why. Brand designers are like little marketing scientists.