Building an Effective Brand in the US
In today’s economy, building a business brand is extremely important to the success of a company. Branding helps build a reputation and enables your company to get recognition from a diverse audience which allows the public to gain more trust in the product. A key point to note with branding is that your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. As Jeff Bezos once mentioned, “a brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well”. Without a doubt, one can clearly see how this quote resonates with Amazon’s success with its branding strategies over the years. According to an article by Hubspot, your brand is the thing that feels intangible and typically affects all aspects of a business which relates to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.
The first step to building your brand is to start with a brand audit, to see where your company lies in the industry vs similar firms. According to Marketing-insider, branding can be broken into these strategies:
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Name Selection
- Brand Sponsorship
- Brand Development
As a company looks to build its brand in the US, highlighting its purpose should be the first step to understand what your customers would be like. Nike is a good example. One of its ads, Never Far Down featured LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods which gave them over 7 billion brand impressions and created over 400 million social engagement interactions according to an article by Forbes. This goes to show that they are very customer-centric and only focused on building deep emotional relationships with customers on a global level.
In terms of the strategies mentioned above, brand positioning helps you position yourself clearly in your target customer’s minds. This involves establishing your company’s mission and vision of what your goals are as a company. Next is brand name selection, which ties the name of your brand to the services or products you deliver to customers. With this step, you must make sure you find the right name for your brand which may be a challenging task. Here are some quick guidelines for brand names from Marketing-Insider:
- Brand name must provide context into the product’s benefits and qualities.
- Brands must be easy to pronounce, recognize and remember. A great example is the Nike brand which is more recognisable than “Troglodyte Homonculus” which is a clothing line.
- Brand name should also be extendable
- Brand names should translate into forgeign languages pretty easily. In today’s global world brand names are oftentimes translated into many languages which results in damaging meanings. For instance, in 1991 Mazda launched its Laputa minivan. In Spanish the word “puta” means prostitute. Mazda claimed the world “Laputa” was designed to deliver maximum utility in a minimum space,comfortable ride. This can attract a lot of questions from customers. Another example is Coca-cola which in China is first read as “Kekoukela” meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse stuffed with wax”.
- Lastly, brand names should be capable of registration and legal protection in the US.
The third of the four branding strategies is sponsorship which categorizes you into four buckets; manufacturers’ brand, co-brand, private brand & licensed brand. Lastly, there’s brand development which focuses on extending one’s brand name to a new form, size, color, or flavor of an existing product category. A great example is Coca-Cola’s strategy of introducing new flavors like diet cola with vanilla or Kellog’s strategy of extending its Special K breakfast cereal brand into its own line of cereal with an additional line of snacks and nutritional bars. In addition, companies need to highlight how they’ll visually represent their brand in terms of color and typography. Shopify states that you should choose colors that differentiate you from your direct competitors to avoid confusing consumers. When deciding what colors or typography to leverage, it is advisable to use tools like Coolors to brainstorm colors that may look good together. According to Forbes, Nike delivered a strong quarter with a 9% sales increase by leveraging its current strategy of continued product innovation. John Donahoe, CEO of Nike stated that “Production innovation and brand strength allowed its team to connect with customers worldwide”.
The next step is to design your logo as this would be the face of your company. Observe Walmart’s logo below that has both the spark icon and the wordmark which could be used interchangeably.
Below are some more logotypes that you can reference when you communicate with designers to convey your brand logo as you expand in the US. Another article by Indeed, advises companies to ensure they highlight slogans that are short and catchy phrases that can be implemented during a marketing campaign. In reference to slogans; Nike has been able to create a catchy phrase for its customers “Just Do It”. Whenever you get a Nike product in the world, you would always associate its products with this slogan. As a company looking to expand its business in the US- identifying a slogan like Nike only helps inform your customers of the culture of your company.
For these reasons, companies looking to build their brand in the US should always remember that you may never have full control over how people perceive your brand. Be fully aware that there is always room to shape and evolve your brand as you learn more about your customer’s personalities and how to communicate with them but can never control your customer’s perceptions from any encounter with your services. The best you could do is make sure you follow the highlighted steps above and try to follow your company’s core values.
If you are ready to differentiate your brand from your competitors and stand out in the remote world? By partnering with Alariss Global, you’ll get local experts who represent your brand and will help you develop a strong branding strategy in the US market that could help attract different clients.