What Makes a Strong Brand?

The term “brand” has been used to describe everything from company logos to corporate gestalt. In fact, brand is an amalgamation of things including the name or symbol used to identify your company, products and services, the essence and values of your company as well as the assets and liabilities that add to (or subtract from) its reputation, the promise that differentiates you from competitors, and perhaps most important, the place you occupy in the mind of the consumer.

Interbrand recently published its annual list of “Best Global Brands” with Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, IBM and Microsoft as the top five once again. Contemplating these titans, it’s clear what they have common. Sure, four out of five are technology providers—but look beyond that to what makes them so strong.

Strong brands save time. We all lead busy lives, so when we have the opportunity to save time or use our time more wisely, we do. From soft drinks to software, consumers are inundated with choices. Strong brands help us streamline the consideration set so we can arrive at buying decisions faster—which means less time mulling over alternatives.

Strong brands transform the buying experience. If your brand is unique and offers things no one else can, you are in a position to transform the buying experience from pure consumption to something more rewarding. Strong brands engage audiences to not only make the purchase but to advocate for the experience of doing business with them.

Strong brands help us express ourselves. Like it or not, we are a society that is defined by the brands we buy. We may not admit to succumbing to this type of marketing influence, but there’s no doubt it makes us feels good to walk around with the latest iPad Air in hand—and the latest Emilio Pucci studded leather boots on feet.

Strong brands rely on key stakeholders. Strong brands create a “value exchange” between the company and its stakeholders—from prospects and partners to employees and investors—resulting in behaviors that have the potential to prompt revenue and stimulate growth, for a positive impact on the bottom line.

Strong brands manage every point of contact. From storefronts to social media, consumers expect the promise of a brand to be delivered at every point of contact. That’s why strong brands put just as much effort into managing the experience of engaging with the brand as they do defining the brand itself.

The IHAF community is comprised of strong, global brands—with countless opportunities to exchange best practices on branding, brand integration and brand management. Get in on the conversation by sharing your thoughts below or better yet, join IHAF.

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