HOW TO: Build a Brand in 3 Steps

So you want to build a brand. You’re not alone. Every day individuals and businesses of all sizes launch new brands or decide to change their existing brands dramatically or minimally. No matter what stage you are in developing your own brand, you need to continually follow the three primary steps to build a brand.


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Trump SteaksIn other words, the process to build a brand never ends. The day you think you’ve succeeded and built your brand fully is the day you should prepare to watch your business decline. Brand building is an ongoing process that should always be a core focus of your business, because a powerful brand can support a business through any macro-environmental factor that comes along.

When you build a brand, you’re building long-term, sustainable, organic growth. While there is no spot on the balance sheet for “brand,” brand value is an asset that every business should work continually to build.

Remember the Tylenol cyanide poisoning scandal of 1982? Without strong brand value, the Tylenol brand may not have survived, but in the end, Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol came out of the scandal with even better brand perception than before the scandal.

A more recent example is the series of recalls the Toyota brand faced in 2010. The brand that promised quality was failing to keep its promise. However, the brand held so much value in consumers’ eyes that it not only lived through those bumps in the road but is still considered to be one of the most trusted and valued brands in the world.

Therefore, the three primary steps to build a brand should be integrated into every part of your business. Those three steps are:

1. Consistency

Powerful brands develop as people begin to believe the brand promise based on their experiences with that brand. Those experiences develop into perceptions and expectations. If your brand doesn’t meet consumer expectations in every customer interaction, they’ll become confused and turn away from your brand in search of one that does meet their expectations in every interaction. Don’t let them get away! Use your brand identity guidelines to ensure your brand is always presented in a consistent manner.

2. Persistence

justin bieberBrands aren’t built overnight. To build a brand, you need to be patient and don’t give up. Continually put out messages and brand experiences that consistently communicate and support your brand promise. This is how you develop brand awareness, recall, purchase intent, loyalty, and advocacy. Entertainment brands provide excellent examples for persistence in brand building. For the Hollywood crowd, any day that a celebrity isn’t in the news is a step closer to being out of the business. Celebrities are trained to stay top-of-mind or they’ll lose their relevancy, their popularity, and ultimately, their incomes. There is a reason why the Kardashians, the cast of the Jersey Shore, and Justin Bieber are everywhere — persistence in brand building.

3. Restraint

It can be tempting to extend your brand into new markets, product lines, and regions when the potential to make more money dangles in front of you like a carrot on a stick. However, everything your business does must consistently communicate and represent your brand promise. Therefore, you must exercise restraint. There is a reason why Trump Steaks (pictured above) were not a hit. They didn’t match the Trump brand promise and confused consumers. If you don’t exercise restraint, you could do more harm to your brand and business than good. Don’t give into temptation without thoroughly analyzing opportunities to ensure they are an appropriate fit for your brand.

As a refresher, be sure to read my What is a Brand? and How to Brand series here on the AYTM blog. As you read those articles, keep these three primary steps to build a brand in mind because they should be a part of everything you do in your business.


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Image: Brandi Jordan

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius brings over 20-year of marketing and branding experience as Contributing Editor for the AYTM.com blog. She is the author of numerous books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com.
  • Kensey Mcgurney

    I think what people sometimes forget is that brand recognition is not the same thing as name recognition. You can get your face depicted everywhere, but if it does not correlate to the branding you’re trying to establish, then absolutely – yes – it can do way more harm than good. One should always be careful of what they allow themselves to represent.

    • Kensey,
      You’re absolutely right. If consumers can’t associate your brand with its promise when they see it, then they’re still stuck at the awareness stage of brand building where they’re aware of the brand but don’t know what it’s for or what it offers unaided.

  • I find the celebrity example really interesting, because it seems like
    they are so heavily promoted that it becomes infectious. It’s
    essentially manufacturing popularity. Consumers get so used to having
    the celebrity flavor of the month on the cover of every magazine and all
    over the television that they start to depend on it, and when one
    superstar fizzles out, pop culture demands another! This isn’t
    necessarily a good thing, but it’s definitely market strength.

  • Christine Dixby

    This
    is so true… think about what happened with Brittney Spears, Christina
    Aguilera, all those celebrities – Charlie Sheen! They’re all over the
    place until they aren’t. Usually because they made some poor decisions,
    garnered some bad press, and now they’re a joke in the industry. You
    have to be careful.

  • Salvador Chavez

    Thank you Susan, very helpful article.

  • asdasd

    where ıs the lol brand

  • asdasd

    legaue of legends aq salakları nooblar

  • 2-D THE RAPSTAR

    I appreciate your free game Susan! My name is 2-D and I am a rapper from Seattle Washington.

  • Great article Susan, thank you.

  • vishwash gupta

    do u hv specific inputs for service industry , to say like consultants !!

  • I want to know what are the some best ways to build brand