How to Build a Brand That Has Customer Loyalty

Brand Building 101: How to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Your brand exists for one main reason: to connect with consumers. 

It’s the same for any company — from small startups to large corporations. 

Without customers purchasing your products or services, your business isn’t a business. So, how do you get customers to notice your company, and how do you keep them coming back? 

The answer revolves around your company’s secret sauce — your brand. 

Think of your brand as your company’s personality, its core characteristics and visual representation mixed with its mission and vision. It’s what sets you apart from other businesses in your industry and can be the difference between customers simply recognizing your brand and long-lasting customer loyalty. You want people to relate to your brand enough to feel invested in it, want to be part of it, and be inclined to share it with others. When consumers feel connected to a brand, 57% will increase spending with it and 76% will choose it over another.

How do you create a brand that keeps people invested? Let’s look at what the Brand Pyramid is and how it can be a great tool to uncover insights and develop strategies during your brand-building process. 

What is a Brand Pyramid?

Think about today’s popular brands. Companies like Progressive, Apple, or Nike may come to mind. They didn’t become recognizable by accident. You can bet they’ve used some version of the Brand Pyramid. The Brand Pyramid is a tiered tool that helps businesses clarify who they are, who they’re for, and how. It’s a framework that can help companies put into perspective the journey a customer takes from brand recognition to loyalty. 

It can be tempting to assume you already know your brand well or that you have it all stored in your head, but putting your brand through the Brand Pyramid framework is an important exercise for any company. You may not know your brand as well as you thought, and while you may have your brand mastered in your head, that’s not doing anyone else at your company any good. Getting the essence of your brand down on paper will help increase consensus and consistency while improving brand strategy. 

Here’s an exercise to try. Meet with your company’s stakeholders individually. Ask each person essential questions about your brand, including:

  • What three to five words best describe your business?
  • Who is your target customer?
  • How do your products or services benefit target customers?
  • How should your products or services make customers feel?
  • What makes your business different from competitors?
  • What is your company’s mission and vision?
  • What are your company’s core values?

Notice if these questions are hard to answer or if there is disparity between people’s responses. This indicates that your team doesn’t have the brand nailed down. And if your company is confused about your brand, you can bet your customers will be, too. That means it’s time to assemble your stakeholders and work together to create a brand pyramid that feels right for your business, so let’s look at the pyramid a bit closer.

Who Invented the Brand Pyramid?

The Brand Pyramid was invented in the 1990s by global marketing research and consulting firm Millward Brown. The firm studied thousands of companies over the course of 30 years, looking at the core elements of a successful brand and the psychology behind the natural stages a consumer goes through when evaluating a brand, consciously or not. From there, the firm came up with the five-stage Brand Pyramid we know today.

Here’s how the Brand Pyramid works and how your business can assess your brand’s customer reach.

The Brand Pyramid Framework

1. Presence

In this stage, consumers are aware of your products or services but have no real attachment to your brand. They may have seen or used your product but would easily choose another brand without much thought.

2. Relevance

Your target audience has taken more notice of your product and has begun to assess whether it’s right for their needs in terms of price and value. This is where you need to ensure that your product’s price matches both its value and your target audience’s budget. The consumer decides here if repurchasing from your company is worth it. 

3. Performance

Here, your brand is really put to the test. Consumers at this stage evaluate how your product compares to that of your competitors. The consumer now associates your brand with a logo, slogan, and level of performance as compared to their short list of other brands similar to yours. You want them to see that your brand is superior.

4. Advantage

At this point, customers have decided you’re the right brand for them and connect with your product in some way. They look for and repurchase your product regularly. You’ll reach this stage if you find a way to personally connect with your consumer base. 

5. Bonding 

The consumer now associates your brand with him or herself and is emotionally attached. Customers who identify as emotionally connected to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value than those who are simply satisfied with a brand. These consumers now buy your product without hesitation and likely promote your brand to others. Trust has been established.

What Is Brand Building, and Why Is It Important?

A strong brand doesn’t happen overnight or by chance; you have to build and nurture it. Brand building is the process of defining and promoting your company so that your target consumer audience has a positive relationship with it and keeps coming back. Without a strong brand, customers either won’t remember you at all or will pass over you in favor of a different brand. 

Your brand establishes your credibility and creates trust between consumers and what you’ll deliver. In fact, 64% of consumers say that shared values are the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. This goes to show that consumers don’t just choose products based on price, or even price plus product performance. There are plenty of low-price products consumers can choose, but your brand puts a face to your products that consumers will know and like enough to pay more based on the trust you’ve established.

How can you achieve that trust and build a strong brand?

How Do You Build a Strong Brand? Follow These 5 Steps

1. Craft Your Story Using Brand Pyramid Insights

Use your brand pyramid to craft your brand story. This story includes who you are, what you offer, and why people should care. It should include your brand purpose — why you do what you do outside of profit — as well as define your brand goals.

2. Identify Your Target Audience and How to Reach Them

Don’t skip this part of your brand-building strategy. Your aim should not be to reach everyone. Not everyone is right for your brand, and that’s a good thing. Think of it this way: A person who has 100 friends won’t be able to give much to all 100 people. A person with five friends, however, is able to have a meaningful, sustainable relationship with each. Identify who your target consumer base is and research them. What do they want and need? Where do they shop? How can your product offering bring the most benefit to their life?

3. Differentiate Yourself (How to Make Your Brand Stand out)

Knowing how to make your brand stand out is an essential part of the brand-building process. You have to establish what makes your business unique. Research the market and learn who your competitors are and what they’re doing right and wrong. How are consumers responding to them? How can you fulfill customers’ needs better? Don’t try to replicate what a successful brand is already doing — you’ll just be known as Version 2, if you get known at all. Focus on how your brand offers something different and promote it.

4. Create Clear Brand Guidelines 

Brand guidelines include the elements of a brand that set its tone: voice, logo, templates, visuals, etc. These include what you say, what you never say, and how you say it. It also includes any visuals, sounds, and so forth that could be associated with your brand. These should be clearly documented and adhered to consistently to enhance brand recognition. Brands that are consistent are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility

5. Start Promoting

At this point, your company’s stakeholders should know your brand inside and out. Now it’s time to take it out into the world. Get your brand out there with a professional website and social media profiles that are credible and convenient to access. Keep your marketing efforts consistent across all channels by sticking to your brand guidelines. Consider partnering with other brands or marketing influencers to cast a wider net and reach more of your audience. 

Though your brand may be out in the world, don’t stop there. Building your brand is one thing. Growing your brand is another. Some aspects of your brand will need to evolve with the times, just as customers and culture evolve. Remember to continually evaluate insights from your brand pyramid and assess customer reach and loyalty. Don’t forget — the key is customer connection. Always keep your eye on that, adjusting your brand accordingly. With the customer as your main focus, you won’t go wrong. 

Harris Brand Platform can assist you on your brand-building journey with tools to measure your brand equity, conversion funnel, and brand perception. Consider viewing a demo of Harris Brand Platform to see how it can help you hone your brand and reach more customers.

Zeke Hughes

Author Zeke Hughes

Zeke serves as Head of Growth with Harris with a specific focus on Harris Brand Platform. With deep experience in client development and customer success, Zeke supports Harris’ ongoing engagement efforts and supports successful onboarding experiences for new clients. He has spent much of his career supporting financial services and insurance clients across the Fortune 1000.

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