In addition to the 3 vital Brand Functions, every brand should have a set of Brand Ideals that they uphold in everything they do.
Brand ideals are the higher purpose of a brand and go beyond a company’s products or services.
These ideals become the reason why customers purchase in the first place and hopefully become loyal brand advocates.
The first of these ideals is the Brand Vision.
A brand’s Vision is often initiated by an effective and passionate leader who is able to articulate how the future should look and how the brand will evolve.
A brand’s vision is sustained by individuals who have the ability to imagine what others cannot see. They possess the tenacity to deliver what they believe is possible, when others may see it as impossible.
As a result, leaders who take the time to share their most audacious dreams and challenges, often inspire not only their internal team, but also the purchasing decisions of the consumer.
While a Brand Vision is a look into the future at what a brand inspires to become, the second brand ideal is a Brands Meaning.
This is why a brand even exists in the first place.
It could be a big idea, a strategic position, a set of values, a reason for being, or a common cause.
A brand’s Meaning becomes more powerful over time with frequent use and exposure.
People will begin to relate and connect to what the brand stands for, which increases brand equity and loyalty.
The next brand ideal is Brand Authenticity.
Authenticity is defined as when a person’s actions are consistent with their beliefs and desires, despite external pressures to conform.
When you know what your brand stands for, and it’s core purpose, you will make decisions that support those beliefs.
Remember, your brand can’t be everything to everyone.
All you can do is be true and consistent about your brand’s purpose and who your brand is for.
Think about it this way. You can’t promote your business as a budget brand to a large audience one day, then turn around the following month and define your business as a luxury brand to a completely different audience.
People will immediately become confused about what your brand stands for and question your authenticity.
Consumers will identify and engage with messaging and a belief system that is memorable and perceived as authentic.
Whenever a customer experiences a brand, it should feel familiar and they should immediately be aware of the desired effect or the outcome they will receive.
Therefore you must also establish coherence and consistency with your brand strategy.
Being consistent, especially with your visual identity, will unify your brand and build trust, loyalty, and familiarity with your customers.
However, while you want to create consistency within your brand, you actually want to do the opposite when it comes to your competition.
Brands are constantly competing with each other within their business category, and at some level, compete with all brands that want our attention, our loyalty, and of course our money.
The question you should be asking yourself is …
Why should people choose your brand over the competition?
To help separate your brand from the competition, you must demonstrate brand ideal number 4, Differentiation.
This ideal makes it easier for customers to understand what makes you special, and more valuable.
Another question to ask yourself when defining your brand ideals is …
If your brand suddenly didn’t exist, would anyone miss it?
Now, I want to be clear and make sure that you’re aware that the brand strategy that you will be developing is not meant to be a completely rigid set of rules.
Yes, you will need to be consistent with your brand to build awareness, and avoid confusion, but you must also have Flexibility within your brand so you can position your company for change and growth in the future.
The marketplace is consistently evolving, and your brand must be able to quickly and easily make adjustments to seize new opportunities.
A carefully designed balance between control and creativity will make it possible to maintain brand standards while allowing the ability for change when it’s necessary.
While we are on the topic of future growth in your brand, this is the perfect time to address the next brand ideal, which is Longevity.
After all, you want your business to continue to thrive and grow for many many years, right?
To achieve longevity you must build consumer trust.
Brands who are able to stay the course through times of change and uncertainty are able to rely on a foundation of consumer trust.
These are the brands that will survive and be successful, regardless of the ever changing marketplace.
When developing your brand strategy it’s not a one and done process.
It takes Commitment to actively manage, protect, preserve, nurture, and enhance your brand assets to ensure it’s integrity and relevance.
You must constantly be engaging with your audience and your team.
The best companies provide their employees with tools that make it easy to be a champion of the brand.
And finally, the last of the brand ideals is Value.
Building awareness, increasing recognition, communicating uniqueness and quality, and expressing a competitive difference provides measurable results.
All this hard work and dedication creates Value in your brand that you must continue to uphold throughout the life of your business.