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14 Tips for A World Class Brand

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Stephanie Gunther

CEO & Creative Director Wax Creek

  1. Never underestimate your brand’s visual components’ impact on people. If you want to develop a relationship with your market, they must notice you first. To be seen in today’s world, you need to be a head-turner, and that requires WOW-Factor. Start by understanding your brand’s story and how you want people to feel when they encounter it. From there, a professional branding agency can create an emotionally charged visual message that resonates with your audience. This will help you translate your passion, skill, and what you stand for in the minds of the people you’d love to work with most.

  2. With any new world-class re-brand, you don’t need to dump the baby out with the bathwater. It is wise to preserve some elements of the “old brand” into the new identity. A well-written brand manifesto can do just this. A brand manifesto explains your WHY and is a versatile tool designed to articulate what the brand stands for. A great manifesto captures the legacy of the past and weaves it into the WHY for the future.

  3. When you look like everyone else, you’re going to blend in… and that’s in direct opposition to what world-class brands do. 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands to shower with loyalty.

  4. There is always a new, creative solution to even the most tired problems. It is usually challenging to see a new approach from the weeds in the middle. Hiring a creative team or consultant can help you see things differently and ideate. Another suggestion is to set aside regular creative time and include various team members. Purchase a Brainstorming card deck to inspire innovation and stimulate divergent thinking.

  5. All headshots are not created equal. Using the right professional photographer to capture your professionalism, style, and personality is a crucial brand-building tool. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your brand image practically overnight.

  6. Don’t stunt your growth by conforming to the stereotypes of your industry. You can use your brand identity to compensate for these perceptions. Use how you look and feel to attack people’s stereotypes and break yourself out of the mold. For instance, if you want to be seen as technologically sophisticated, you can design an identity that connotes that. Just make sure you walk the talk.

  7. Zig when everyone else is zagging. Do something unexpected with your brand identity. Many organizations talk about what makes them unique, but few apply the principle to their visual designs — yawn. Don’t be boring.

  8. Do not be afraid to piss some people off. Great brands aren’t built for everyone. World-class brands are polarizing — on one hand, they have fanatical and loving fans, and on the flip side, a crowd of folks who just don’t get it. The worst thing to have is a brand that is playing it so safe that people don’t even notice it. World-class brands trigger a sense of familiarity and an emotional reaction. Remember, “If you are for everyone, you are for no one.” Ouch.

  9. Don’t get married to your visual identity or the same old messaging. Just because you’ve been around for decades doesn’t mean you need to look like it. World-class brands update and refresh their identities often. Don’t go too long without revisiting your brand design. Keep upgrading it as time passes, or consumers will think you’re stale, inflexible, and behind the times.

  10. Thousands of organizations claim the “we’re local” position. But few things are more ironic than the “local” institution that uses an out-of-town agency to develop branding materials. There needs to be synergy between your brand’s strategy, messages, and visual appearance. You can (and should) “live what you preach” in your brand identity, but if you’re going to claim to be “local,” you need to do something genuinely local with your look and feel.

  11. Your website is at the center of your online identity. It needs to be cohesive with your brand strategy and honestly reflect your mission, vision, and values. This gives your website its own memorable heartbeat that can be felt across the digital universe and heard loudest by your most important target market. When you’re clear on what you offer and why it matters, website visitors convert to clients like magic. Abracadabra BOOM!

  12. Use professional copywriting as an essential brand-building tool. All companies and organizations need to utilize a consistent voice, style, and message in their marketing. World-class brands are consistent, breeding familiarity and trust.

  13. Your customer experience should be directly tied to your brand strategy. The cohesion of the two creates immense trust in your brand, and 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a world-class experience.

  14. Your clients consist of more than basic demographics and their desire to spend money. World-class brands are richer than that and must consider psychographics, feelings of the consumer, and life experiences. Make sure to spend regular time considering these things about your consumers. It is helpful to include the people in your organization that spend the most time interacting with your target market.