When you think of the word “brand”, you likely think of successful companies that gross billions of dollars in revenue, like Apple.  However, a successful brand isn’t an esoteric term for a mega business. Any person or organization, regardless of marketing dollars, can be successful in branding.

It is important to know that a brand is more than surface level (what you see); it must be all encompassing — cherry picking what aspects to focus on won’t get you where you want to be. To understand what a complete brand is, we have to break down the many elements that comprise it.

It might be best to think of a complete brand as both physical and emotional. The physical parts, such as a logo, color palette, website, or collateral, are what most people can easily identify. There are also emotional aspects created by the other interactions people have with a brand, like a vibe, a tone, quality, or even customer service. A truly successful brand owns the physical and emotional with consistency and confidence.

Trust is Tops

A person, company, or organization can take ownership of their brand in a variety of ways. Being authentic and rooted in truth, trust, and transparency is one of the most important ways to do that. People want to be treated with respect, and if their first encounter with a product or company isn’t based in truth, you may have lost a customer forever.

“Fake it ‘til you make it” might work sometimes, but a brand that plants its heels and firmly states: “This is what I am,” and owns it, will have much better chances at longevity. By taking ownership and highlighting your brand’s truth(s), you earn the trust of those who matter most.

Consistency is Key

It’s important to create a sense of expectation with a brand, and there is no better way to do so than with consistency and repetition. Elizabeth Arden, the notable beauty industry entrepreneur, once said, “Repetition makes reputation, and reputation makes customers.”

There are many facets to consistency, like consistency with messaging, visuals, or even experiences, to name a few. For example, consumers want to know they can return over and over again, and regardless of the timing, and have the same quality experience.

It is just as important to maintain a visual cohesion. It could be as simple as a color scheme and an illustration style, but it is much easier to stand out to your target audience once you’ve created that consistency. Consumers will be more likely to recognize and remember your brand once consistency is established,

No Half-Assing It

The trap many fall into when creating a brand is conquering only one of the above, rather than both. You might think putting all your eggs in one basket is the best strategy, but this can dilute a brand’s effectiveness. A well-thought-out, complete brand is the best way to create a direct understanding with target consumers. When a consumer understands a brand and can consistently experience it both physically and emotionally, they will come to trust and recognize it, creating a lasting customer.