When you think of a powerful brand, you most probably think of brands that are worth millions and business logos that are instantly recognisable globally. However, size is irrelevant when it comes to determining a brand's power, only its depth matters. The brands of small businesses can be more powerful than that of big corporates.
Usually, when you think of a powerful brand; you have their end in mind, where they are now, how well people speak of them. Like any success story, people don’t see the hard times, they only see the good times. They don’t see the many uncomfortable and painful conversations, tempting and unethical deals rejected and the many fights they had to lead and suspend on behalf of their brand before they became the ‘overnight’ success people see today.
The most influential brands are respected brands and respect is earned daily. Here’s how.
1. Align your decisions with your brand purpose and values
Know your values and define the purpose of your brand. When you know what you value, you’ll clearly know what you can and can’t tolerate. You’ll know when to stay and walk away; depending on whether your brand and actions are aligned. When you use your value as a compass for making decisions, you create an identity of what people can expect from your brand. People start associating you with certain qualities; courageous, honest, passionate, and daring.
2. Say 'no' often
People like to hear the word 'yes', but a 'no' said with conviction is more meaningful than a half-baked 'yes' said with resistance. When you say 'no', you start to paint a picture of what your brand represents and what it does not.
3. Work only with the best
To be the best, you must work with the best. Hire people who share your brand’s values, so even when you’re not around as a leader, then they will continue to protect your brand. Your team will defend your brand because the brand’s values are their values (ingrained in their hearts), not merely the values they have adopted. When you work with the best people, they will carry your brand message in everything they say and do.
4. Never accept the unacceptable and unreasonable
Stick to your guns. When you know your brand values, you’ll know what is acceptable and reasonable business conduct and veer away from anyone that has unreasonable business expectations for your brand. The powerful brand stays away from clients and other stakeholders that ask them to bend their rules for their benefit.
5. Have standards and live up to it.
When you have standards, people who want you to do things their way will ask you to change your criteria, to lower it, so that they can get what they want. You will be faced with this daily, especially if you have particularly high standards for your brand. If you lower your criteria, you reduce your values, and you lose your brand power.
Writing a blog post about brand power is more comfortable than emulating it. Similarly, talking about powerful brands is more convenient than being a powerful brand. It is easier to talk than to do; that’s why many brands are content with mediocrity because greatness requires effort, relentless conviction, and persistent drive and passion for succeeding. To build a powerful brand, you must have values, say 'no' often and mean it, be surrounded by the best, never accept the unacceptable, and you must let your standards define you. Powerful brands are created intentionally, not by accident.