Alt Text Unlike dogs, not all brands are lovable.

New companies are blooming everywhere, springing out globally offers something better, cheaper and faster. This in turn, creates tougher and much more exciting competition, something no businesses can ever escape from. It is an endless battlefield of which old and new, large and small businesses are either winning or dying.

The next thing to do after creating a solution is to market them. And as of now, there is a great chance that millions of customers are out there dying to use your solution to their problems, but they may be unable to find you.

All because they cannot see you, and even if they do, they would not be able to differentiate your brand from another.

This is where branding comes towards salvation. A clear and concise branding strategy will create enormous value to the company. You can refer to our previous article here to understand why branding will give you and your company a great matter of value.

The ultimate goal of building strong brands is to create favorable brand knowledge structured for your customers, which in turn, can result into a wide range of business benefits such as:

  1. Price Premium
  2. Active Customer Loyalty
  3. Licensing Opportunities

Who doesn’t want that?

Are you aware that Apple offers their Apple Pencils with their iPads for $99 and its leather case for $25 yet people are still buying it?

Branding Shortcuts

Alt Text [Source](http://interbrand.com/best-brands/best-global-brands/2015/)

Initiating brand-building can be time consuming, and resource exhaustive. However, there are three shortcuts to leverage your brand equity, the start of your brand-building journey!

1. Choosing Brand Elements

What and how is your brand trying to communicate with the market? Choosing the right brand elements will allow consumers to create initial perception. Here are the list of features that build up brand elements:

Brand Names
Logos & Symbol
Characters
Slogans
Jingles
Design and Packaging

But what is the deal in building your brand elements? It should be:

Offensive:

  1. Memorable: Avoid complex design, make it simple. Check your smartphone and look into your most frequently used apps, do they have a complex design? Most of the time, no

  2. Meaningful: Create something of value in your brand, ONLY for your target market. Meaningful brand elements will gain your brand favorable perceived value.

  3. Likeable: Avoid a bad design and message, make a logo that people will love and will be proud to share with their friends or colleagues.

Defensive:

  1. Transferable: Your business is set to expand, ensure that your brand is suitable if you launch a new product within or beyond the product categories.
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    Source

  2. Adaptable: People change, technology change, and brand should adapt accordingly. Take a look at KFC’s logo over the time. It changed, but the core value stays.

Alt Text [Source](http://khairunysarts.blogspot.co.id/2015/06/task-2-kfc-logo-statement-argument-color.html)
  1. Protectable: If you have a great brand elements, protect it. You will never know when will competitor attempt to copy your brand elements. T-Mobile protects it’s color, it can sue you if you use it, be careful, folks!


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2. Aligning product and services to marketing activities program

Take example of starbucks where in every of its retail shop across the globe have the same or similar brick and mortar design, friendly baristas, same packaging. This will provide a stronger associations of your brand from consumer’s perspective

3. Piggybacking & Leverage Secondary Associations

The mainpoint here is to transfer other favorable associations from other brand to link between host brand and your brand. Until recently, big brands transfer favorable associations from its brands to the other entities. Transferring favorable associations creates a desired image in just a short period of time. The theory is that even if you have little to no knowledge about a brand, you often will associate them with a well known brand, such as Apple. Yes it’s true.

Remember when Nike cut ties with infamous golfer Tiger Woods after his alleged scandal? Nike also terminated Manny Pacquiao’s contract after his anti-gay comments. Nike avoids any form of unfavorable associations, and so should you.

Alt Text [News Source: NY Times](https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/sports/nike-manny-pacquiao-anti-gay-remarks.html)

Secondary associations comes from four things:

  1. Other Brands: brand alliances, ingredients, extensions
  2. Places: Country of origin, Point-of-sales
  3. Things: Events, causes, third-party endorsements
  4. People: Endorses and employees

When I showed you this and a word "home furnishings" what comes to your mind?
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Yes, IKEA.

If you are not familiar with Supreme brand, what do you think Supreme is selling? Well, it is a skate brand. Transferring lux feeling from Louis Vuitton.

Alt Text *Image credit: Highsnobiety*

Validate

Brand-building requires continuous checking. One way to validate your desired outcomes of your brand elements and the actual consumer perception towards the brand is to ask consumers what they think about your product. You can use brand health studies to measure it. Always remember to do it either quarterly or twice a year and to treat your brand like a human-being.