Before we answer this question, let’s get one thing straight: an ad agency or designer does not create or make a brand. This can be a common misconception for someone that is new to the advertising world. While agencies and designers might come up with amazing logos and hilarious, breathtaking ad campaigns, our job is to help make great brands successful. Even if we are able to provide you with a strategy and branding that helps you build an empire out of selling toenail clippings, it doesn’t mean that your brand is awesome.
Take a moment to think about brands that you consider great. What is it about them that makes them the way they are? Is it their amazing logo? Their funny advertisements? While these might be things that get stuck in your mind and come up as topics of conversation, it’s almost never why you become a loyal brand advocate, right?
In fact, exceptional branding starts, even before all of this, with the idea and goals behind the brand concept. Here are a few key differentiators that more often than not, help make the any old brand an amazing one:
Admirable brands aim to make a difference (big or little).
While not all brands need to be formed around a cause, usually the better ones are. Whether it’s a company like TOMS that makes shoes while providing humanitarian efforts or a local restaurant aiming to bring a healthy cuisine to market; they want to impact lives in a positive way.
Superior brands help consumers better themselves and achieve their goals.
Usually money isn’t the number one focus of a great brand, it just happens to be a byproduct. When a company is focused on bettering their clientele, the good karma is returned.
Exceptional brands challenge consumers to think and explore.
By educating consumers and opening them up to make their own decisions based on product offerings, great brands are provoking thought and empowerment. The more freedom a consumer has, coupled with a great product, the more likely they are to be become loyal to your brand.
Awesome brands openly invite and welcome the consumer involvement.
It’s not about do this or buy that because we say so, it’s about join us in being a part of the brand. The more consumer feels like they’re actually playing a role in the brand’s development and success the more likely they are to pledge their allegiance in whatever direction the brand grows.
The best brands engage consumers emotionally.
Not to be mistaken with tugging at someone’s heartstrings, but brands that connects with people on an emotional level are more apt to get attention and have consumers relate to the cause or product.
The bottom line is that great brands make an honest promise to themselves, as well as everyone they aim to interact with, about who they are and how they want to be received. The successful ones are the companies that follow through with this promise throughout their existence. If you’re thinking about starting a business, before you come rushing to an advertising agency to help create a good brand, make sure you’ve thought some of these aspects through. Not only will the agency be more apt and excited to support you, but in the end you’ll probably feel a little better on the inside too.