August 5/12, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 4
By Steven Feldman
Ever hear of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)? No? That makes two of us. Anyway, YEC is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most successful entrepreneurs 45 and younger. To date, the organization has accepted less than 10% of the 14,000-plus applications and is helping disrupt business mentorship and the professional business organization model as we know it.
The YEC recently addressed brand building through an article in Forbes magazine. The fact is numerous sources and studies show the majority of businesses fail early on. Those that do survive beyond their first few years then face the challenge of becoming memorable and recognizable to consumers.
It’s not easy to craft a brand identity that both reflects modern tastes and trends and still has staying power to keep it afloat for years to come. Here’s how 10 YEC members recommend building a brand that’s made to last.
1. Produce consistent messaging. As the business landscape evolves and fads fade, many companies make the mistake of constantly changing up their messaging and adopting the latest trends in an effort to stay relevant among consumers. This only ends up confusing their audiences. Instead, businesses should stay consistent with their messaging in order to build a timeless brand. Avoid getting caught up in current events and viral topics. Rather, you’ll want to tell a story that will always resonate with your customers.
- Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
2. Deliver on your brand promise. A flashy logo or nice website is one thing, but you have to live your brand in every action with a prospect or client. Incongruence between how you position yourself and the actual experience of working with you is the fastest way to kill your brand. People remember great, proactive customer experiences.
- Marjorie Adams, Fourlane
3. Think of your brand as a person. Everyone has beliefs and values that define who we are and how we are remembered. For people, it’s intuitive to have a personality, but when you’re building a brand it’s vital to have a similar understanding that is communicated to your buyer. When you are creating your brand based on a persona you craft, consider traits such as congeniality, familiarity and trustworthiness. These traits never go out of style. Steve Jobs built Apple, not the other way around.
- Matthew Capala, Alphametic
4. Focus on your value first. Many businesses mistakenly focus on the sale first. Over time it will destroy a brand as consumers will only see your business in the position of ask and not give. In today’s competitive space, the business that gives the best value will win. Consumers purchase based on emotion. If consumers see your business constantly providing value, most of them will be willing to become your customer during the giving value process as your business has already established authority and trust.
- Fred Lam, iPro Management Group
5. Determine your values and culture. It all comes down to a business’s real integral values and culture. Trends, tactics and teams will change, but values are forever. They are the pillars that represent a company’s principles. A timeless brand has good values that people believe in—and supports a vision that is bigger than any single person.
- Arry Yu, Tenta Browser
6. Keep it simple. To create a timeless brand, go for simplicity. Your customers will remember your brand as the one that made their lives easier. Whether it’s adding live chat customer support so your customers don’t have to wait on hold for 30 minutes or making your products easier to use, find ways to help them and improve their lives.
- Jared Atchison, WPForms
7. Make time for your customers. No matter how much effort a business might put into its marketing, what makes a brand timeless is its customers. As long as your customers continue to grow in numbers, so will your business. It’s a good idea to give your customers a voice when it comes to formulating and implementing new policies as well as creating new offerings. The time you spend in understanding your customers will help take your business a long way.
- Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns
8. Know your customer well. The customer ultimately determines your brand by the perception of who they think you are. Understanding who your customer is, continually engaging them and speaking to their needs is key. Many companies focus on what they have to offer instead of the benefit to the client. Why have Coke, McDonald’s and other famous brands endured? It’s not the quality of their food so much as it is the perception of how the product will make their lives easier, better or more connected that has made them timeless.
- Daniel Griggs, ATX Web Designs, LLC
9. Evoke positive emotions. Building a solid brand means creating good feelings. Take a look at a store like Louis Vuitton. Its handbags are nice, but it is the brand that sells its products. Beyond that, I have never left the store without receiving queen treatment. This is why I keep going back and purchasing other accessories from them. High-end fashion brands develop large followings by tailoring everything to the customer and their preferences. The in-store shop- ping experience is impeccable.
- Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
10. Build a great product first. The timeless nature of a brand ultimately will have more to do with the value put into the product. While the marketing will carry the image of the product forward, the core of a great brand is always a great product. It means reiterating the product, looking carefully at the market for innovation opportunities and, most importantly, always delivering value.
- Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting