Paul Lewis, Author at lewis andersen

Four ‘big brand’ lessons you should apply to your business

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branding-irons-in-fire

It would be easy to think ‘everyday’ businesses on a budget have little in common with how billion dollar brands tackle their marketing.

But how about the need to:

  • attract more customers?
  • outsmart the competition?
  • stay relevant, fresh and engaging?

Any of these sound familiar?

Your business can easily adapt the way big brands address these challenges – without the need for a big brand budget.

Here are four crucial ‘building blocks’ used by world leading brands that you can apply to your business.

1. Start with Strategy

Strategy is the art of making purposeful choices. Based on where you are now, what’s happening around you and where you want to get to. Steve Jobs had a compelling vision for Apple that guided strategic choices about products, design and quality. When he returned to Apple, he slashed the product range by 70 per cent – and by doing so turned around a failing business.

Being clear what you’re not going to do is as crucial as deciding what you are going to do.

2. Shape your Story

You need to craft an engaging narrative, supported by messages that set out what’s different and special about what you do – and how you go about it. Nike doesn’t just sell sports clothing. It inspires wannabe athletes to ‘Just do it’, tapping into our values and aspirations to make us feel optimistic and empowered. And it provides us with tools to track our progress.

Your story needs to establish a strong, emotional connection between your customers and your brand.

3. Define your Style

Your choice of imagery, design, colours and words establishes your brand’s personality. Use it to stand apart from your competitors. Virgin Airways oozes glamour, fun and sex appeal. Its style is core to its strategy – offering a stark contrast to the staid and traditional approach of British Airways.

Your communications should radiate your brand’s personality to help people decide whether or not you’re for them – you can’t be for everyone.

4. Make it Stick

Give your customers a coherent and consistent experience to build their confidence and loyalty. Love it or loathe it, McDonald’s does this brilliantly. It serves the same food in the same way, in over 35,000 outlets worldwide. By keeping its brand promise, McDonald’s keeps its customers. They come back for more, because they know exactly what to expect for their money.

Ensure all your customer communications and touchpoints reflect and reinforce your chosen strategy, story and style.

Get these four steps right and you’ll be on your way to establishing a brand that’s irresistible – regardless of your budget.

Do these four steps work for you?

What’s your experience of using them in your business?

Mind your (brand) language

Mind your (brand) language

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Mind your (brand) language

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Lots of brand work is rightly devoted to visual identity – logo, strapline, colours, fonts, design style, use of imagery, etc. The importance of language and tone of voice is all too often overlooked. Read More

Why you should think of your brand as a cathedral

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Why you should think of your brand as a cathedral

I read a great blog post recently, by a former colleague at the RSPB.

She was writing about the importance of ‘cathedral thinking’ when it comes to saving our wildlife and countryside.

It took 250 years to build York Minster. The people who conceived it, and most of those who built it, never saw the magnificent edifice that resulted from their imagination and toil. Neither did their children and grandchildren. Read More