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Category: Digital · 4 min read

Thriving in the Digital Age, Part 2: You Need A Strong Brand

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on July 11, 2019

author profile photo

on July 11, 2019

Three professionals in a meeting

The foundation of success for your business in the digital age is a strong brand. Sure, it may take some effort, but if you take the right steps it’s not that hard—and it’s worth it.  

Why? Because your brand is everything. It’s the first impression your prospects and target audience get about your business. It can be the deciding factor on whether or not someone does business with you. Let’s talk about this in more detail. What exactly is a brand? And what are strong brands?  

 

Those That Are Strong 

Think with me for a second. What’s your favorite brand? What do they do that makes them your favorite?  

One of my favorites is Chick-fil-A. Here’s why: no matter what Chick-fil-A restaurant you’re in, or where you are, the experience is the same. They’re consistent. They always say “my pleasure” and they always provide quality customer service that exceeds my expectations of fast-food restaurants. Their brand experience is top-notch, and they live by it. 

Or how about innovative brands like Airbnb and Uber, who essentially invented a segment by using technology and turning citizens into employees? They empower others to work with them and use their service.  

And, of course, no conversation about strong brands would be complete without a Starbucks mention. It can be easy to forget that this brand started with one coffee shop in Seattle in 1971. But, with a strong and consistent application of their brand, they have become a global icon, with around 20,000 stores in 63 countries. There are two main things that have kept this brand relevant and dominant:  

  1. The company has worked hard to maintain that local coffee shop feel. 
  2. They developed a game-changing, customer-centric digital strategy, creating their very own app with a location finder, rewards program, a way to pay, and let’s not forget that free birthday coffee. What better way for a corporate coffee company to keep a personal feel? 

 

Those That Have Lost Their Way 

While we’re on the topic of brands, let’s not forget about some brands that have lost their way, didn’t stay relevant, and failed to stand out. Blockbuster, Sears, Borders, and Blackberry are a few. This isn’t meant to scare you, but the truth is, your brand is either thriving or dying. Just like a healthy diet and exercise fuels the body, you have to take steps to care for your brand. 

 

What is a Brand? 

But what is a brand, and what makes a strong brand? Most of the time, when we think about a brand, we think of a logo. But a brand is so much more than that. It’s how you communicate with prospects and customers. It’s your company’s identity. It’s your messaging, your value proposition, your marketing. It’s your reputation. It’s a gut-feeling that someone has about your business.    

I like to picture it as a house. Stick with me. The foundation is your business. That’s what you start with. Then, you add the framing and structure. That’s your value proposition. Your logo is your front door. Your siding is your brand tone and messaging, how you talk about your business. And your marketing materials and content are your outdoor decorations. Altogether, it makes a functional, livable, brand house. 

But it’s not just the outside of your house that matters, right? The inside matters just as much, if not more. The same goes for your brand. The external part of your brand is seen by your prospects and clients, but your internal brand is managed by you and your employees. Everyone that works at your company is a brand ambassador, telling your brand story and representing your business. So, the inside of your brand matters, too. 

We’ve all heard this “marketing” stuff before. But I want to tell you not just that it works, but how to get it done. Now that we’ve laid out the digital landscape we’re in today and the importance of strong brands, let’s talk about how to get it done. That’s coming up in part three, out next week.  

For more ways to grow your business digitally, check out our Digital Builder services.

#19-0496-062820 

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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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