What does it take to build a strong brand?

What do Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Qantas and Coles have in common?

They are ranked as the strongest brands in Australia in 2019 in this year’s annual report of the most valuable and strongest brands in the country.

Prepared by Brand Finance, the report reveals that total combined value in this year’s brands ranked totals more than $166 billion.

The report measures overall brand value using revenue forecasts and the brand strength index and also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.

According to Brand Finance Australia managing director, Mark Crowe, brands drive demand, motivate staff, gain business and reassure financial markets.

"Strong brands create high brand equity with customers and other stakeholders, enabling a business to differentiate itself in the market, increase margins, sell greater volumes and promote repeat business,” Crowe writes in the report.

There are some very important reasons to make sure your marketing is spot on.

  • It forms a strong customer bond, and customers are more likely to care about a brand when they understand the direction of the company.
  • It builds loyal employees who become advocates for your company. They are more likely to work harder and spread a positive message about your business.
  • It means your marketing and advertising efforts are more likely to be effective.
  • It drives desirability, meaning a higher price point.
  • Customers that have a good experience are more likely to be repeat customers, enabling your business to build a loyal customer base

The evolving landscape

But standing out as a strong brand is no mean feat, particularly since the explosion of social media. The last decade has seen an incredible explosion in the number of ads consumers see every day.

According to Brandwatch, the internet has approximately 3.17 billion users, and 2.3 billion of them are active social media users. This marketing channel is pulling 91 per cent of retail brands, which use an average of five social media channels to build their brand and ultimately, sales.

One of the key challenges for brands is the fact that the landscape is continually evolving. Consumer behaviour has changed, and a ‘single channel, mass broadcast’ approach no longer reaches a brand’s entire audience. Television viewing times are reducing and technology is evolving, and the growth in smartphones has been astronomical, Deloitte’s Building Brands in a Digital Age report found.

Meanwhile, audience attention spans have shortened. We’re subject to more information than ever before, and to cut through, brands need to rethink the way they tell stories and consider omnichannel approaches.

Despite the challenges the current landscape presents, brands are surviving and thriving. Here are six ways to build a strong brand:

1. Conduct an audit: Understand who your customer is by uncovering how your product or service is viewed by consumers. Conduct a competitor analysis, comparing competitor websites, Google rankings, branding and advertising approach.

2. Map out your unique value proposition: Knowing where your brand differs and excels will enable you to position the brand in a more compelling light. To do this, gain insights from managers, stakeholders and customers and condense this information into descriptive messages to communicate the meaning of the brand.

3. Develop branding: Create the look, feel and voice of the brand by considering the colours, fonts and logo that will front the marketing.

4. Build a brand identity: Implement a strategy to build brand awareness, including social media and traditional marketing methods such as PR, television and print advertising.

5. Create brand personas: A great way to funnel your marketing efforts in the right way is to create a collection of personality traits (or brand personas) that can help you understand your target market. These realistic representations of your key audience segments can be created by understanding the type of person that would be most interested in your products and services. An authentic persona can help you establish trust with consumers. Brand personas usually fall into a few different buckets based on human behaviour. For example, you could create a brand persona known as Frank, a 47-year-old accountant with a wife who works full time and two school-aged kids. You can go further by including information about the type of car he drives, his disposable income, where he could typically holiday and how he likes to shop. This process is a great way to understand who your ideal customers are, and why they purchase from you.

6. Improve and refine: To remain competitive, companies need to analyse and refine their brand to ensure it’s delivering on the promises of what the company stands for.

If you’re in a marketing role and need to step it up a notch, take a look at RMIT Online's Master of Marketing. This in-depth course provides current or aspiring managers with high-level expertise in planning, directing, implementing and monitoring an organisation’s marketing efforts.

The Master of Marketing will teach you how to design and undertake marketing management planning, identify and improve your strategic marketing thinking and develop a breadth of knowledge by exploring a number of key marketing areas, such as marketing management, consumer behaviour, marketing communication and marketing research.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of marketing management, consumer behaviour, marketing research and marketing communication strategy.

The degree comprises core and elective topics, enabling you to design your learning to suit your career trajectory.

Contact our Student Advisors today on 1300 701 171 to find out more about our online Master of Marketing degree program.