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How To Build Brand Loyalty – 6 Elements Of A Strong Brand

Sasha Monique is a brand strategist and designer of 13 years based in Los Angeles, CA. She is the owner of INICIO Creative agency where she guides brands to their impact, innovation, and influence.

 
Executive Contributor Sasha Monique Lewis

“Branding” a business in its own right that has turned into one of the most frequently misused buzzwords online.


MacBook pro turned on.

Any business owner who has done the proper research and foundational work can communicate the necessary means required to take up real estate in one’s industry. When that happens, your business immediately converts into a brand. No longer are you focused on the operational tasks needed to grow and sustain a business. Now, you are taking up space and zeroing in on the ways that happen…Insert branding. As we’ve seen the online entrepreneurial space develop at a steady speed, the implications of not having a brand developed to stand out and have a voice are detrimental.


Your business growth now depends on your ability to stand out, instantly grab attention, and have a brand culture and mission that people latch on to and become attached to. That is the true essence of branding which is exactly how you build brand loyalty.


So, how exactly do you create an entity that people become lifelong supporters of?


Online, “branding” is now the formal term for “vibe” or “aesthetic,” and while it is easy to understand why, that is just a very small and minuscule part of all that goes into building a brand that actually brings in profits. In order to build brand loyalty full of an incredible community, you need to address and develop a few things prior to how you want your brand to look and feel. So many businesses get this wrong. The initial focus is on how the brand looks, and that decision is most often dependent on the founders’’ personal likes and preferences.


Unfortunately, your brand has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with your target consumer. So, while you might love a good monochromatic, minimalist feel, your brand may need to target a more bold and confident consumer who responds to more color and less modernized aesthetics.


This is where having a brand strategy plays a huge part in understanding how to best grab the attention of your target audience. The first step in how to build brand loyalty is always stopping someone in their tracks and this is probably one of the most powerful phases of your brand funnel and sales funnel.


Once you get their immediate attention, then the fun begins in cultivating and nurturing an emotional reaction that results in brand loyalty. To get this funnel dialed in, fully explore these 6 elements to build brand loyalty and sustainability for a brand to continuously outperform the competition.


Brand archetype

The most imperative part of having a brand that attracts and sustains both engagement and brand loyalty is rooted in your brand archetype. Created by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, these 12 archetypes were established as the most commonly seen personalities or personas that are understood regardless of language, time, or culture.


You can view an incredible visual representation thanks to Iconic Fox.


When you become passionate about a brand, it’s because its archetype is so dialed in that it penetrates your emotions and essentially imprints on you. This happens through messaging, imagery, color schemes, fonts, creatives, and positioning. The twelve archetypes are Creator, Innocent, Sage, Explorer, Rebel (Outlaw), Magician, Hero, Lover, Jester, Everyman (Regular Guy), and Caregiver.


For instance…


Nike is the hero

  • They stand for what’s right.

  • They communicate courage and bravery within athleticism.

  • They are rooted in hard work and perseverance drives you to your goals.


Ikea is the everyman

  • They like to blend in through being approachable and reasonable.

  • They strive in community settings and love inclusivity.

  • They are driven by a sense of belonging and take pride in being trustworthy.


Google is the sage

  • They are rooted in the pursuit and sharing of knowledge and truth.

  • They motivate others to be life-long students in the pursuit of eternal wisdom.

  • They don’t gatekeep and are intellectuals.


Brand archetypes are the bumper lanes that keep your brand cohesive within each category, from creative visuals to compelling communication. Without having your archetype set, you will be throwing pasta at the wall blindly, not knowing what sticks and what does not.


With an established archetype, there is little room for error because you are so clear about who you are.


Brand purpose

Everyone has a skillset and an income-producing idea. You are no different. The purpose behind your brand is where you first attract someone to consider doing business with you. Furthermore, this purpose has to have a direct effect on your target audience's life and society as a whole.


This goes beyond making their lives easier or saving someone time. It needs to be deeper than that.


Your brand purpose is the thread that sews all brand actions and goals together.


  • What does your brand do for your industry?

  • What does your brand do for your niche?

  • What does your brand do at large?


In essence, your brand purpose is your “why,” and while it can be extremely tempting to use this as an opportunity to speak about your experiences and reasons for doing what you do, I highly encourage you to remove yourself from your brand purpose. It has been proven time and time again that purpose-driven brands outperform the competition by over 70%.


Some examples to help inspire your brand purpose:


Patagonia: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.”

 

The reason this works is because this statement clearly states their mission, and in so many words that their products and way of conducting business is as environmentally sound as possible. Anyone who is focused on sustainability and environmental activism will immediately become a fan of Patagonia, therefore building brand loyalty. In addition, this propels any future partnerships with organizations within this realm that they can now build relations with for collaborative efforts.

 

Target: “To help all families discover the joy of everyday life.”


Target has done a phenomenal job at really amplifying diversity. More so than most big box stores. This is where “all families” become a highlighted and poignant message in their mission statement. They have been able to sustain their brand purpose statement by focusing on the topics that their main demographic appreciates.


Millennials are now the generation creating families. Millennials are also driven by change, inclusion, diversity and affordability. They want quality that they won’t break the bank on. Target has nailed that. With that, anytime you walk into Target, you see varying degrees of demographics which has truly made them the go-to store for all your needs.

 

Brand values

Brand values are the principles and beliefs in which your brand moves and operates. There is little to no compromise with your values that lead to the decisions on products, sourcing, materials, operations, company culture, and more.


Without established and apparent brand values, creating loyal consumers becomes more of a struggle. These values are the defining beliefs that show up in every aspect of your brand development, from brand story to creative direction.


Oftentimes, businesses create their brand values based on the assumed standpoints of their target audience. Instead of confidently creating a brand that is genuine and authentic to the goals and mission that the initial brand idea sparked from, they adapt to what they think others would want to hear and see, which sets a brand up for failure.


Defining your brand values really comes down to the values your brand will never sway on; examples include integrity, passion, diversity, inclusivity, respect, consistency, bravery, etc.


Most brands have, on average, five values that they can properly and effectively build upon that make their consumers feel safe and value, ultimately allowing them to build brand loyalty in their audience and community. This is not a part of your brand to rush. It is essentially the heart and soul of your brand. Really sit down and brainstorm what values you can guarantee will be threaded throughout it.


Brand positioning

If you want to become top-of-mind and the favored brand for a particular need or problem within your industry, brand positioning is the answer.


Being different and unique is not enough to stand out and be favored over the competition. This is why marketers focus so much energy on brand positioning strategies. Brand positioning has a few layers that need to be present in order to attract interest, retain it, and convert it into profit. First we want to make sure you have outlined everything about your brand that is different from your competitors.


As you list out what makes you different, you will find one or two things really stand out as the most impactful which you can take and build upon.


The part of brand strategy that many business owners have a hard time with is having to become abundantly aware of the competition. Instead of looking at the competition from a research frame of mind, it becomes a thief of joy and breeding ground for imposter syndrome.


That shouldn’t be the case, though. Without knowing your competition's strengths and weaknesses, you will have zero clue as to how to strategically position your brand in your industry to gain the most visibility and traction. This is where your unique selling proposition comes in, but we continue to go deeper.


Next, you need to cement your brand story as a pillar that is reflective in all aspects of your brand strategy and identity. This plays into your positioning because your brand story is the moment that people either feel like they’ve found their tribe or they move on. When you position your brand story to be reflective of your archetype, purpose, and values, you start to build your positioning as a brand that is humanized. These brand touchpoints are similar to characteristics that people look for in those they keep in their own social circles.


While it is a reflex to build your brand story around your experience and journey through life as a business owner, it is so imperative to create your brand story as a mirror to your target audience. It needs to be a direct reflection of their struggles, their pain points, their search for you, the brand.


When the brand story is adapted to the audience you want to attract and paints a crystal clear picture of how your brand is the magic pill for solving their problems, you gain that brand loyalty a lot faster.


Lastly, you have to find the perfect balance in your messaging, highlighting both your uniqueness and your centrality.


This means highlighting your unique brand sense while still being able to be recalled in someone’s memory because of your centrality in an industry (fancy words for staying similar in services, offerings, etc. to competitors). When you think of particular industries like fast food or performance brands, the first brand you think of is the most centralized brand in their industry. That is because they have offerings similar to those of their competitors, but they do it better or in a way that resonates with you and your beliefs.


Brand messaging + personality

One brand that has absolutely nailed its brand messaging and personality is Wendy’s—yes, the fast food chain. They have created such a strong brand personality through their social media, primarily X. The first word that comes to mind when thinking of them is “sassy”.


Their social media team has done an incredible job and not trying to separate themselves from the competition, but highlighting the comparisons often.


Their quick wit and banter with competitors on social media have grabbed the attention of younger demographics, who will share their efforts on their own social channels because they are humorous, relatable, and human. Another brand whose personality is very clear is Nike. Between endorsements, collaborations, creative direction, and the stances they take to further reflect their values as a brand, really puts Nike on a well-deserved pedestal.


In addition, their employee culture is as pristine as their products, and they really make the company culture as a whole. These two examples show that keeping a brand as human as possible is how you build the trust and loyalty you may be missing.


Imagery that is inclusive and clearly shows your target audience is a huge component of messaging. Visual communication is equally as important as the words you speak, but the words you speak clearly make an impact, too as we see with Wendy’s.


To find a personality that fits your current brand, you need to think of your brand as a person. Turn it into a character and map out its traits, likes, dislikes, and so on. As your brand's personality develops, start deciphering how you can best communicate that in the fewest words possible.


Less is always more when it comes to messaging. We want direct impact.


Brand identity

Brand identity has been condensed to colors, fonts, and brand pictures on social media. While those are all parts of it, your brand identity is so much more. It’s less frivolous and more strategic than it gets credit for these days. It’s why so many brands haven’t had a significant or groundbreaking brand refresh in decades. It’s usually never the reason for brands not hitting their goals, but it is an important aspect that needs to be taken seriously. This is why you’ll see larger brands invest more into brand refinement than a full-scale brand makeover.


Your brand identity is how you visually communicate how your brand is to be perceived, and it is majorly correlated to your brand archetype. As we know, brand archetypes are psychology-based, and your brand identity is as well.


The way you choose brand colors, have a logo designed, create imagery, and branded collateral should tie in with the archetype of your brand. If you are The Creator, motivated by innovation and art, your brand colors shouldn’t be muted.


If you are The Ruler, motivated by power, legacy, and affluence, your colors shouldn’t be bright and playful. The same can be said for fonts, imagery, photoshoots, and any asset.


As your brand identity starts to develop, it’s also important to note that you have a set of parameters to stay within. Brand lanes if you will.


While pushing the envelope and getting creative is imperative to keep people intrigued, you need to remain within the core elements of your identity or else your target audience becomes extremely confused. To ensure your brand is visually consistent across all touchpoints and platforms, have a style guide and brand guide that provides all the details necessary to ensure your brand is as dialed in as possible.


This includes vocabulary, types of imagery, photo/video editing instructions, fonts and where to use them, colors and where to use them, logo variations and where to use them, and more. When creating a brand identity that remains powerful years from now, be sure to stay away from trends and really consider what type of aesthetic your target audience is drawn to.


Consider how you can create a timeless look and incorporate trends into your seasonal imagery. Brand loyalty comes from a full-bodied brand that inspires, motivates, and solves problems. In order to become a credible, top-of-mind brand, you have to do the internal work of truly knowing and understanding how to sell the brand in the most authentic way possible.


Once you nail that, the rest is all about leaving others better off than before they encountered your brand.


Cheers to building brand loyalty and epic brands!


Read more from Sasha Monique Lewis

 

Sasha Monique Lewis, Brand Strategist and Designer

Sasha has been working in the field of brand strategy and design for 13 years. Her career started in retail development and store design across the United States and shifted to digital marketing and brand development. She has helped numerous companies and businesses fine tune their branding, see exponential growth through marketing and improve their organic traffic. Ultimately she's help entrepreneurs find their unique attributes and leverage it. She finds the uncommon denominator in a world full of duplication.

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