Every brand is different, so what works for someone won't work for everyone. That’s because a brand needs to focus on a target audience that will be drawn in by a particular set of traits and characteristics that they can relate to. Having said that, there are certain characteristics that have universal appeal, and they will help any brand to find and maintain its place with consumers. Here is a list of 5 great characteristics for any brand:
1. Consistency - Consumers want an experience that they can depend on for the same level of quality each time that they return to your brand. Without consistency, you can quickly lose consumers whose interest your brand worked very hard to earn. People don’t have the time or the money to take a chance on a brand that might only give them the quality that they need some of the time. As an article from Forbes magazine notes, “...inconsistency is often enough of a reason for consumers to take their business elsewhere” (forbes.com).
2. Purpose - Success is only possible if a brand is created and managed with a sense of purpose. That purpose needs to be clearly understood by the creators of the brand so that they can come up with an actionable plan, but it also needs to be articulated for consumers. Knowing a brand’s purpose will help consumers to understand what your brand does and how it does it. Nowadays, consumers have a plethora of brands to choose from, so they need to know exactly why they should choose yours.
3. Narrative - It’s very hard for a brand to be appealing if there isn’t some kind of narrative to drive it. The right narrative communicates a compelling brand story to consumers. Storytelling is key because it engages the imagination and harnesses the power of imagery to make a connection with consumers. “Storytelling is what will breed a feeling of true familiarity, and it is remarkable effective at generating trust” (smallbiztrends.com).
4. Knowledge of target audience - Extensive research of your target demographic is not optional if you want to create a successful brand. You don’t want to end up, “...marketing your services in the wrong way to the wrong people, or in the right way to the wrong people” (marketing91.com). You need to know and understand that consumers who you are trying to reach. Consumer-oriented research in the form of surveys, dialogue and experimentation is the best way to gain an accurate knowledge of your brand’s target audience.
5. Authenticity - A brand’s authenticity can redeem it from a whole host of other faults. Without authenticity, your brand risks being perceived us untrustworthy. Authenticity is the framework upon which your consumers’ trust can be built, so you won’t ever be much without it. “Be authentic because people will eventually see through anything you try to fake” (elitedaily.com). What’s this mean for a brand? It means confidence is only a good thing if you have the capacity to deliver on what you’re boasting about.
Any brand that manages to be consistent, purposeful, narrative-driven, knowledgeable and authentic has a very good chance of truly connecting with consumers and finding success. These brand characteristics can be found in common across a whole host of successful brands that are very different in many other ways. They may not have the same goals, target audience, or strategy; but they have made a point of paying attention to the core characteristics of a great brand.