Look inside your brand

For most entrepreneurs, the idea of having their own business is a primary objective. But for some, building a brand is the ultimate goal.

However, building a brand is very different than building a company. One could even say brand building requires an entirely different sub-set of skills that only a few have ever mastered.

The truth is, you don’t need a company to build a brand: What you need are followers.

Today’s world is very different than yesterday’s. Many personal brands are built on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, some intentionally and some unintentionally. A brand could be a company (AOL), a product (Rubik’s Cube) or even an individual (Kim Kardashian).

No matter how a brand is built there are common elements to successful brands. Some of these elements are created by your marketing team while others are created by employees or followers.

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, wrote: “Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”

This is one of the greatest quotes about branding and is true today as much as it was when he wrote it in 1997. Why? Because it sums up that great brands are built not just by ads, but from the total experience.

How many times have great brands been tarnished by poor customer service or luxury brands cheapened trying to appeal too widely? And how many times have we fallen in love with a brand, creating a relationship that has stood the test of time?

Building a great brand is not easy. It’s likely the hardest challenge any company has. But when you do it successfully, the rewards are plentiful.

According to Brand Finance®, Apple is the most valuable brand in the world. What is even more interesting is that most consumers will likely feel certain emotions about, and some kind of connection to, almost every brand on this page before thinking about their product. Companies without high brand value do not have this consumer connection.

Having a great product and customers is just not enough. There are several things every brand owner should ask th