How to Build a Successful Brand
How To Build A Successful Brand In 2018
By: Lisa Desforges
For today’s brands, success is measured by more than just sales. While packaging remains a fundamental part of a company's toolkit, from day one contemporary brands are thinking beyond this core element and looking to launch with a fully-fledged brand story and personality that translates across all touchpoints, from physical packaging to digital apps and social media engagement.
As a result, our approach as a design agency has evolved – and we’re not the only ones. Larger multinational clients are following the path of younger and agile brands by adopting expressive and cohesive approaches to identity.
So, what’s changed? How do you build a successful brand in 2018?
HOLD THE BRAND’S TRUE PURPOSE AT ITS CORE
Brands must tell a story while also having a mission consumers connect with to make an impact and achieve long-term success, forming a solid foundation upon which the wider world of a brand is built.
One of the great challenger brand success stories of recent years is Pip & Nut. Launched in the UK by Pippa Murray in 2015 as a range of three nut butters, it has evolved into a trusted lifestyle brand with a wide range of nut-based products and an intense social media following.
At the core of the Pip & Nut brand is Pippa’s infectious enthusiasm and mission to reinvent nut butter as a healthy snack. It underpins everything Pip & Nut does, adding depth to the brand and acting as our inspiration point for the leaping squirrel logo as well as the energetic language that runs across both the packaging and the wider brand world.
KEEP MOVING OR LOSE CUSTOMERS
Even if a brand gets it right the first time and achieves immediate success, it still has to keep moving. The core brand purpose remains unchanged, but the packaging and identity need to move with the times to keep consumers engaged. Regardless of how good a product is, if a brand chooses to stand still, consumers will be drawn to a more exciting or relevant alternative.
In such a competitive environment, new brands are having to consider their long-term future from day one. Where do they see themselves in five or ten years? Is the local supermarket the end goal or are they seeking overseas expansion?
Because they have the benefit of an agile business model, startups can easily react and adapt to achieve rapid growth, but understanding that a business wants to reach an international audience ensures we can create instantly recognizable global brands with relatable identities. My team and I have done this for brands like Pip & Nut, but also for one of our first clients, BEAR.
BEAR was born from a desire to offer healthier snacks and up kids’ intake of fruit, a worthy-enough cause to be sure, but not easy to achieve through the product alone. By delivering those snacks as part of a fun and engaging brand that covers everything from collectible cards to outdoors activities, they’ve attempted to mold healthy behaviors, both in snacking and recreation.
Successful brands are less about asking what consumers want and giving it to them and more about having a belief in something that could change the world for the better and taking consumers on a journey towards that goal. If the brand purpose is right, they will follow.
MAKE SURE THE STARS ALIGN
When we partner with a brand, believing in the founder and feeding off their passion is imperative. Once you’ve pressed go on a new brand creation or revamp of an established product, it's always stressful. Also, it can be difficult to gauge how effective a design will be for the first year or two.
Getting the name, identity, packaging and messaging on point is obvious, but there are many external factors that impact a brand’s success. Is there a change in consumer behavior? New legislation coming in? Competitors nipping at your heels?
When we launched Kabuto Noodles, a new instant noodle brand started by an independent entrepreneur, back in 2011, the market was completely dominated by Pot Noodle. Expectations of the category were low, fuelled in part by Pot Noodle’s own “lads’ snack” marketing. As a premium alternative free of preservatives and plastic packaging, Kabuto was a completely new and challenging proposition. Our understanding of the founder and our joint vision for the brand was integral to its success.
When you’re a larger brand, making a tweak to your identity or releasing a new variant is less of an issue, but startups are less resilient to market conditions. That’s why a shared vision between client and agency is so important.
PREPARE FOR THE LONG HAUL
In truth, the effectiveness of a new brand can only be seen three, four or even five years down the line. And engaging consumers in a conversation about a core belief and then persuading them to join you on a journey towards a shared goal is not an overnight job.
For start-ups, this holistic approach has become second nature over the past five years or so, but with an increasing number of larger brands – and even corporate giants – waking up to the influence of challengers, the bar by which we measure a successful brand has moved.
Purpose, personality, packaging, and presence are now inextricably linked, and the brands that adopt this more cohesive approach are the ones that will find the greatest success in 2018.