What is a brand?
A brand is a name, symbol, sign or design that identifies a product or service and differentiates it from its competitors. Even more important than the name or the logo is the promise that a brand has attached to it. A brand signifies the expectations and experiences a customer will derive from a good.
What makes a successful brand?
A strong brand meets and exceeds customer expectations. The way to do that is through delivering on the promise that the brand makes to customers. Warby Parker is one of the largest eyewear brand in the United States, and they built their brand on designing designer eyewear at affordable prices whilst also being a leader in socially conscious entrepreneurship. This is the bare minimum that a customer must expect from them. Their glasses retail for less than most high-end designers such as Chanel and Bvlgari, but they deliver on having comparable quality. With each purchase of glasses you make, they donate a pair of glasses to organizations who support people with visual impairment. They deliver on their brand promise. In a similar way House of Tara, a Nigerian make-up brand and studio, consistently delivers on its brand with an array of makeup products specifically designed for the African woman and the use of carefully curated images that redefine the essence of the African woman's beauty, across their social media platforms. House of Tara takes pride in the fact that its brand caters to the African woman and offers products that suit a range of African skin tones from fair to deep dark.
Building a brand
Building a brand has to be very strategic. It is how you are presenting your enterprise and values to the world. A brand signifies quality, barriers to entry and creates a competitive advantage. What consumers perceive when they think of your brand highly influences their decision to patronize you so this is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. The focus shouldn't necessarily be on the aesthetics, fonts and images you wish to use but instead on the values, emotions and experiences you want to evoke in your target audience. That will influence all other decisions.
More than anything, a brand must remain consistent. From the customers interaction with a member of staff of your organization to the packaging of the products. They all must reflect your core values. An example of this is with the popular Nigerian hair company, The Mohini Experience, whose customer service, products and packaging exude luxury and the ultimate beauty experience that its customers seek with every purchase.
Don't try to mimic the look of other brands and especially competitors. Branding is how you should stand out from the crowd so be bold, daring and innovative!