Top 3 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know about Branding

Vivaldi CEO and Founder Erich Joachimsthaler shared 3 things an entrepreneur should know about branding in Thrive Global’s special expert feature. Read his response below:

Top 3 Things an Entrepreneur Needs To Know About Branding

Don’t try to be amazing — try to be amazingly useful. This adage comes from Jay Baer, a strategist who recognizes the real challenge facing brands today. In the past, branding used to be about simply getting attention and shaping perceptions to create an image. Those were the days of creating an emotional stir, or even mere shock. Today, that limited strategy can quickly stray businesses away from their true brand essence. Dove is one brand that’s regrettably suffered from this misdirection, veering off course with questionably racist advertising and in advisably-shaped packaging. Today, what matters much more is what brands are actually solving for in their consumers’ lives. The brand, its promise, and all future expressions should be built around that essential raison d’être. While Amazon has created quite some havoc as it disrupts diverse industries, consumers of all kinds still recognize the brand as ultimately standing for convenience, and every move it makes helps to tell that story.

If it gets action, it will have traction. Today’s consumers are known to be time-starved and over-messaged. Sometimes it seems as though everyone has some form of ADD, especially when it comes to fielding advances from marketers. Traditional advertising just isn’t as effective, and a brand can no longer be built through ads alone. The solution is to get consumers to actually act, as early and often as possible. Think of Google, who immediately offered consumers a free search window to find everything on the internet. For Tesla, every driver becomes part of the brand’s world right away. Each newly-purchased car is instantly connected to Tesla’s network, recording every mile driven to not only improve its Autopilot feature, but to further personalize the entire driving experience. Every little action helps, and the more that active engagement comes from consumers, the more the brand can grow with power.

Have patience — there are no shortcuts. Building a strong brand isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to give the brand-building effort enough time to blossom, and you have to focus on it every day. As an entrepreneur, you have to make it among your own top priorities, not just delegating it to the marketing team or a PR agency. While they can be helpful partners, real brand-building goes far beyond any one campaign effort. Your brand is about what you stand for, what you aspire to create, and why you really matter to your consumers. Bringing that level of passion and excitement to your work on a daily basis will form the solid foundation to grow your brand toward long-lasting success.