Become a preferred brand

In February of this year, I met with 35 brand-certified peers. During our time together we shared some of our favorite brands and talked about why those brands stood out to us.
My favorite brand is Disney because of its family-oriented focus. It is about making people happy: Its stories have happy endings and its service model creates extraordinary experiences. The brand has been consistent since brothers Walt and Roy founded the company in 1929.
Some of the group’s favorite brands included Adidas, TOMS shoes, Nike, BMW, Sephora, Trader Joe’s, L.L. Bean, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, Red Bull, Vitamix, Guinness, Always, Tesla, Google, Apple, Lyft, the U.S. Marines and Southwest Airlines.
In listening to the stories of why these brands stood out and why they rose to the top of our minds, some similarities began to surface. There are some lessons to be learned from these smart brands for both consumer-oriented companies and business-to-business brands.
Lesson No. 1: Have a strong commitment and understanding of why your business exists and how it contributes to the betterment of your target audience and/or the world.
Lesson No. 2: Altruism can be a business-driver. Stand for something greater than your products or services. Pay it forward.
Lesson No. 3: Create an internal environment that is inclusive and where people feel empowered. Make employees your No. 1 brand ambassadors.
Lesson No. 4: Make sure your company’s brand strategy and business strategy are aligned.
Lesson No. 5: Create a consistent customer experience at all touch points — online, on the phone, in person.
Lesson No. 6: Establish standards when involving third-party resellers in representing your company’s brand.
Lesson No. 7: Stand behind your target customers, enrich their world and empower them to achieve their best.
Lesson No. 8: Reinvent your product and service offerings to continue to deliver upon your commitment to your customers.
Lesson No. 9: Provide meaningful experiences that remain in the heart of your customers for life.
Lesson No. 10: Really understand who your customers are and embrace what is important to them.
Lesson No. 11: Walk the walk and live and treat others in a manner that is consistent with your brand. Empower employees to do the same.
Lesson No. 12: Stand behind the products and services you offer with a guarantee, knowledgeable employees and quality service.

Think about how you can apply some of the lessons above to strengthen your company’s brand to become the preferred brand among your target market.

Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.