Strategies for Building a Strong Brand

Keep Pace with a Changing Culture

Back in the 1970s, Apple and Microsoft popularized the home computer. As both companies grew, the differentiation between the brands started to become apparent. Apple was dedicated to creating innovative and trendy products like the iPod and iPhone that catered to all groups rather than just IT technophiles. When the digital workforce began to grow, Apple started to produce programs, accessories, and tools that made these jobs (and especially creatives’ jobs) easier.

To this day, Apple is a leader in innovative design and efficient product development, and they dare to be different — that’s the heart of the Apple brand. Surprisingly, Bill Gates perfectly explained the reason for Apple’s success at an Apple event in 1983: “To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s attention.” While no one can argue that both companies are successful, the Apple brand made tech more creative and personal.


Make a Social Impact

People want to be heard, and companies that lend an open ear can reap major benefits as a brand. One company that does this perfectly is the Always line of feminine hygiene products. Consumers have a need for these products, but not necessarily a need for the brand. What sets Always apart from competitors Kotex and Tampax is their pulse on society. Their branding empowers girls and women to love and value themselves unapologetically — joining a social movement bandwagon that’s been making waves for decades.

Plus, just like Apple, Always has grown and evolved with society. It recently announced that it will remove the Venus symbol to be more inclusive to transgender and non-binary customers, “For over 35 years Always has championed girls and women, and we will continue to do so,” the company told USA TODAY. “We’re also committed to diversity and inclusion and are on a continual journey to understand the needs of all of our consumers.”


Maintain a Clear Brand Message

When you feel excitement in your stomach and tears welling in your eyes, you know you’re watching a Nike ad. Their strategy is to tell stories about everyday people — not superheroes. This archetypal branding is powerful, consistent and noteworthy. It doesn’t matter what clothing or shoes the athlete is wearing because the message is clear: If you have a body, you can be an athlete and a winner. Just do it.


Consistency is Key

A strong brand is recognizable and consistent whether it appears in print and online or on radio, TV, or social media. Consistent brand standards from visual presentation to taglines are paramount when building a strong brand. It’s easy to spot a McDonald’s along the highway because they all have consistent branding. And if someone were to hand you a shake, burger, or fries in their packaging, you’d know where it was from in less than a second. Be consistent with your branding throughout the purchasing cycle and among all your print and digital properties.


Big Doesn’t Equal Strong When It Comes to Brands

All of these brands are big names, but so was Blockbuster at one point. A big name doesn’t always equate to a strong brand. Rifle Paper Co. is a small greeting-card business owned by a husband and wife in Winter Park, FL. Their branding caters to locals with region-specific designs and special sidewalk sale events that bring the community together. Through clear branding, social impact, and the ability to adjust to the industry, Rifle Paper Co. is now a strong, well-loved company that continues to thrive. Today, they’ve expanded to produce fabrics, books, pencils, posters and even shoes through a partnership with KEDS. Small company. Strong branding. Big impact.