Whether you’re a start-up or a small to large enterprise business, the power of your brand can make the difference between companies surviving and thriving. How you go about developing your brand needs to form part of your overall strategy versus being an after-thought. Over time the brand you develop will become part of the value of your business.

A brand is centered on the emotions you want customers to feel when thinking about you, how they will describe you and includes characteristics of your business, demonstrated through everything you and your team do, from talking to customers to preparing content to share.

There are many advice channels online to help in building a brand, but to keep it simple, we have boiled it down to the three cornerstones:

1. What’s the Business Mission?

Being clear on what you want the business to achieve in the long term is the clarity needed to start formulating the brand identity, being clear and concise as well as a story to help those around you connect with your mission.

As an example, take Amazon’s inspirational mission statement:

“It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online”.

Reading through, it is inspirational, clear and concise as to what the business aims to achieve. It is also calling out what the business wants to be known for, in this case being customer-centric and providing a large variety of different goods.

Once you have your mission statement, the key step is to communicate it to the wider world and make sure your marketing channels are aligned and your people truly believe and share the mission with confidence and that it can be delivered, e.g. expertise, value for money, speed, efficiency.

2. Research and Protect your Brand.

Clearly understand who your customers are and what’s important to them from the brand. Ask existing clients and employees what they feel about the brand from their experience to-date as part of your market research. With the fast pace of opinions being shared on social media it is important to monitor comments and respond to customers accordingly, and in doing so protecting your brand at all costs.

A great example of protecting the brand and in doing so going the extra mile for customers was Virgin Media, when after a husband who thought he had lost a voicemail recording of his late wife he had kept for more than 10 years, described the moment the telecoms giant restored it as “wonderful”. It took the company a team of 11 engineers and three days to track down; however, the positive impact via social media was heart felt and shared globally. A situation that if someone had turned a blind eye could have had a serious negative impact on the brand.

3. Build the Brand and Visual identity.

Bring your brand to life through creating a solid first impression. Don’t rush or try this yourself as it is recommended to work with a designer to help with the logo. Once defined, roll out the brand identity, look and feel into everything you do; from the vehicles driven, uniform, email signatures, tone of voice and in all communications linked to the brand identity etc. To ensure your brand consistently delivers customer value, translate this into the customer journey by having an easy to navigate customer website which is supported by response to queries and after sales care.