How to Create a Sustainable Brand that Sticks to Its Roots
Today’s brand must have its roots in the real world and serve as an umbrella under which the company can expand and evolve in new directions.
Branding. Is it still necessary? Do you have time for it? Should you even bother? Like most business owners, you probably say “yes” to one or more questions.
You may not think of branding as a high-level priority, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to build a sustainable, lasting brand. It may not seem like it, but branding is more important than ever before. With the rise of the digital age, consumers now have more choices than ever before when deciding what brand to invest in.
A secret that even big brands don’t know: Brands can make more money by growing a smaller, more profitable brand than by growing a massive brand with a high-profit margin.
Understand what makes a brand sustainable
Brands have a shelf life. The longer they exist, the greater the likelihood of becoming obsolete. This is especially true for fashion brands, whose styles change more frequently than other products.
Brands can be sustainable by building a unique value proposition or focusing on their customers’ emotional needs.
Brands can also be sustainable by staying focused on their brand’s mission while constantly adapting to changing conditions and markets. For example, a brand can focus on delivering high-quality products to a niche group of consumers while continuously adapting its strategy to expand to new demographics or target new countries.
Sustainable brands deliver the products or services consumers want at prices they can afford. A brand has to offer the same quality of products and services for years to come at similar price points to be truly sustainable.
While the concept is simple, the execution is anything but easy. Sustainable brands must make sure that the value proposition is aligned with the target audience’s needs and desires.
Understand the concept of a brand promise
Many people fail to grasp the importance of brand promises fully. A brand promise is an emotional, powerful statement about a company that becomes its core identity.
Brand promises are the promises that a brand makes to its consumers. They are what the brand stands for and are the very reason why people buy a product or service from that brand.
For instance, a brand promise may be: “I’m going to be the best!” A brand promise helps differentiate a product or service from its competition and helps persuade people to choose it over the other options available.
One of the best ways to define a brand promise is to ask yourself why a person would choose a product or service. Once you understand that answer, you can formulate a brand promise.
A brand promise describes what your product or service can do and what your customers expect. People choose brands based on their expectations, so you need to make sure they understand what you’re promising if you want to influence them.
Ensure the brand promise resonates with your target audience
If you want to create a success story for your brand, you first have to understand who your customer is. You can learn about your customers’ emotions through a questionnaire. Then you have to think about what kind of experience they are looking for.
You can do this by researching your competitors’ websites. You need to see how they position themselves, what kind of emotion they create and what is the overall tone of their website. After that, you can create your brand narrative.
Your brand narrative is a summary of everything you learned about your customer. This summary should be short and effective. It should have the power to grab people’s attention and leave them wanting more.
This is one of the main reasons people buy products from your business. They want to experience the same kind of emotions that your brand creates. When your customer finds this narrative, they will become interested in your business.
Ensure the brand promise aligns with your values
Make sure the brand promises align with your values. This is the only way for you to be sure that you’re living up to the standards and reputation you’re building in the minds of your customers.
Values are your beliefs, the rules by which you live your life. They are principles and guidelines you use to make decisions and set goals.
The values you decide on are not necessarily the same ones you’d expect someone else to have, but they’re the ones you should strive to be successful.
Ensure the brand promise is consistent across all media
This is one of the most critical aspects of marketing. Suppose a company does not have a strong brand identity across all forms of media. In that case, it makes it difficult to develop strong relationships with customers, build trust with consumers, and retain them as loyal, repeat customers.
An excellent example of this is the relationship between Nike and its swoosh logo. While this brand icon is certainly recognisable across various media, the swoosh is not the same across all of them. Nike has created many different versions of this logo.
Develop a meaningful brand identity
When people hear or see your company, they will form perceptions about what you do and who you are. These perceptions will either help or hinder your business.
Therefore, it’s essential to set your business apart and create a meaningful brand identity that resonates with your customers and prospects. When people recognise you and associate you with something specific, they become interested in what you have to offer.
You need to make sure that your customers know who you are. When they go online looking for your business, you want them to think of your name rather than the name of another company with whom they are familiar.
Start by creating a meaningful name for you, your company, and your brand. This may mean that you have to spend some time finding a domain name that fits what you’re trying to do.
Create a Sustainable Brand vision
There’s no such thing as a perfect brand. If you take a snapshot of a brand today, there will be things you won’t like. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a sustainable brand. It’s a process. Brands don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re built over time. They evolve. They have a lifespan.
So, how do you create a brand that survives the test of time? The answer is simple: Be honest. Authenticity, transparency, and being straightforward about your product or service are the three fundamental principles of a sustainable brand.
One of the best ways to create a sustainable brand vision is to focus on what you want your brand to be, not what you want it to do. The latter is all too common among businesses that aren’t careful to distinguish between brand and product or service.
Most brands these days have multiple products or services that share a similar name. For example, Coca Cola has many different drinks and foods that share “Coca Cola,” including juices, cola, and diet soft drinks. By contrast, the brand Starbucks is focused on coffee.
Craft the brand mission statement
How often have you heard someone say, “I don’t know what my company’s brand message is, but I know what we are not.”
A brand mission statement answers questions like this: What do we want our customers to feel when they encounter us? What do we want them to think about us when they think of us? How do we want them to see us?
Brand mission statements are short, memorable, and easy to understand. They typically include two to four words focused on what your company does.
A great way to write a brand mission statement is to imagine what your customer’s life would be like if you didn’t exist. Then write a sentence that describes the experience of living in that world.
Here’s a sample: “When you need someone to get things done fast, call us. We’re the only ones willing to say ‘yes’ to your crazy deadlines. Because we know how much your customers value getting projects done on time.”
Define the brand attributes
Brand attributes are the qualities that define a company or brand. They represent the values a brand stands for. For example, Starbucks is a sustainable brand that represents a place where people can enjoy great coffee while meeting up with friends.
When consumers make a purchase, they usually think about how something will help them achieve a particular goal.
Think about the way your company presents itself to potential clients.
- What do you hope your brand communicates to customers?
- What kind of value do you offer?
- What makes you unique?
- How does your company stand apart from competitors?
The answers to these questions should help you figure out the value you provide to your customer. You can also use them to formulate your strategy for getting new leads and maintaining loyalty.
Build a brand proposition
A brand proposition defines the relationship between your brand and its audience. What is it about your brand that makes it valuable to people?
People don’t care about your company. They care about what your company does. This is where your brand proposition comes in.
If you’re selling a car, you wouldn’t say: I sell cars. You’d say: I sell cars with this feature. Or: I sell environmentally friendly cars. Do you see what I’m getting at here?
You can’t tell me that no one has ever seen that adage: “You don’t need a fancy marketing plan to be successful. Just get the word out and do your thing.”
Of course, you can’t say that! But what this means is that we have to put together a clear and concise statement about our business.
This includes: who we are, what we do, why we do it, who our customers are, what problems they face, and what our value proposition is.
Craft a brand strategy
If you don’t know whom you’re trying to sell to, you can’t possibly write compelling content or establish authority on any topic. Your business doesn’t need a brand strategy – you need to create a sustainable brand strategy first.
Brands, like products, are usually developed over time. Brands are usually built on a foundation of values and beliefs. A brand’s purpose is to reflect those values in the minds of the consumers who see it. This creates a sense of meaning and association.
In other words, brands are more than just logos and marketing slogans; they have to serve as a reminder of the brand’s core values. When your brand strategy is complete, you should be able to identify the brand’s values, its strengths and weaknesses, and how they will connect with customers.
Craft brand standards
Brand standards are your organisation’s core beliefs about what it is supposed to be and whom it serves. Your brand standards may include a vision statement, mission statement, values statement, tagline, logo, or any other piece of your company’s messaging that captures the essence of who you are and what you stand for.
“The company is not defined by a set of rules, but rather by the decisions and actions,” says John Rogers, the former CMO of Intel and founder of the nonprofit Project: Knowledge. “If you try to do everything everyone else is doing, you will always have something not very special.”
It’s easy to say this, but it takes practice to ensure that every new decision you make or action you take fits your organisation’s overall theme and vision.
For a long time, I’ve thought of standards as “brand rules,” which is a very outdated way to think about standards.
The real value of brand standards is that they can help you define a sustainable brand so that it resonates with your target audience and creates a unified message across all channels.
Brand standards aim to remove inconsistency from your message and ensure all your communication aligns with principles. You should have a core set of values that guide your company’s identity.
Create brand guidelines and best practices
Brand guidelines are essentially marketing guidelines. They offer insight into what kind of message your brand stands for. In other words, they serve as a road map for everything that you say and do.
They’re crucial for new companies and those starting to grow and scale because they set expectations for everyone in your organisation.
Creating a brand guideline is an easy way to start defining your standards for a sustainable brand. Brand guidelines contain everything the brand stands for, including a tone of voice, imagery, design, and copy.
Once you’ve created a brand guideline, you can use it to provide consistency across all your marketing materials, such as websites and social media channels.
Create an assets and content strategy
In this case, “content” refers to anything that you can share, but you can also think of content including any written content, such as a blog post. Content marketing is synonymous with blogging for many businesses, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
When you’re thinking about the best way to approach creating content for your blog, you should start by mapping out your content calendar. This is a plan for all of your content from your first post to your next.
Think of it as a map of how you’ll be telling your story on your blog and how you’ll be getting people to come back to read it. You can use a simple Google Doc to map out your content calendar.
Create a brand manifesto
A brand manifesto is a collection of ideas, values, and principles meant to convey the brand’s essence.
It should inspire people to feel something, and it should make them want to know more about the company and its products.
A good brand manifesto can be thought of as a mission statement for a company’s brand identity. If you are designing your brand, it is essential to include the correct information in the manifesto.
Make sure the brand values are consistent
There are many reasons why people don’t put themselves out there and make their values and brand known. For some people, it’s because they don’t understand the importance of branding and marketing. That’s why they don’t know how to market their products effectively.
They can’t put their values across because they don’t have them. So, when you do put yourself out there, make sure you make it easy for others to remember what you stand for.
Your brand is all about how the world perceives you, so it’s essential to get this right. Your brand can only be effective if consistently delivered across media and touchpoints.
You can make your brand values very clear, memorable, and consistent by using the following tactics:
- Start with what you are trying to achieve. What are you trying to achieve with your business? How does your business deliver value to customers? Do you want to provide the best service to your clients or the best product at the lowest price?
- Make sure your brand values are clear. Is your brand about honesty, reliability, trust, and quality? What do you stand for? Can you show these values clearly?
- Consistency is important. How can you ensure that everyone understands your brand? If your brand values change, can you explain them clearly?
- Use your brand to define your business. What are your brand values? Are you offering a range of services or a single product? Are you selling to the general public or other businesses?
I’m sure you’re getting the point – there are many ways to make your brand values clear, memorable, and consistent.
Ensure consistency across all touchpoints
It ensures that customers see the same message every time they engage with a brand. This can help build trust and increase the chance of a conversion.
Conclusion: there’s no doubt that consistency is critical in establishing trust, but how should you ensure it aligns with your brand image?
According to Siegel, it comes down to being consistent with your brand promise. “Your brand promises are those things that you tell customers why you exist, what you’re about, what your mission is,” he says. “That message will show up everywhere, including your website, brochure, and packaging. That consistency between the messages and images you send to your customers and the promise you make to your customers, that’s the core of your brand.”
The best brands don’t just sell products—they sell experiences and values. They give their customers something to talk about, whether good customer service, exceptional value, or a great product.
If you want to build a sustainable brand, it’s essential to do two things: focus on a few things that matter to your audience and constantly look for ways to improve them.
Brands have a terrible reputation for being built on hype and short-lived fads. Brands are often built around the whims of the market and not because they were built to last.
As a result, many brands are constantly looking for ways to reinvent themselves. However, creating a sustainable brand isn’t as easy as it seems. Creating a lasting brand is building a unique and authentic brand story. While it’s easy to be creative, a brand needs to stick to the basics to remain relevant and grow in relevance.
Use these tips and tools to create a sustainable brand that works in today’s marketplace.