CEOs, what makes your company stand out in the market? A strong, unique and consistent brand will differentiate your business from competitors, driving sustainable business growth that’s underpinned by customer loyalty.

Branding is about perception, as well as being authentic and true to your brand essence. It’s about pinpointing the qualities that make your business unique, ensuring you can deliver on your promise to your target audience.

In essence, your brand is about how your products and service offerings are interpreted by the outside world and your people. It’s derived from who you are as a business, what you want to be, and who customers perceive you to be.

Without consistent branding, customers and employees may not interpret and engage with your brand in the way you intended — or in the way that’s most profitable for your business. Inconsistent branding can lead to miscommunication between your people, dissatisfied customers and inefficient processes, impacting productivity, the bottom line and future growth.

No matter which way you look at it, inconsistent and incoherent branding will cost your business.

CEOs, it’s time to think about ways of truly capturing: who you are as a company, your core values, and what you represent. In order to drive business growth in the long term, you need think more strategically about branding, and establish a unique and authentic brand.

3 top tips on how to create a unique, authentic and profitable brand 

1. Approach brand development from a business strategy perspective.

Your company’s brand isn’t a gimmick or isolated area, but a key driver of future business growth. It needs to be aligned to your overall business strategy and able to deliver outcomes. To approach your brand strategically, first understand what’s happening in the environment around you — the competitive landscape, disruptive technology, innovation and so on. During this process, collect customer insights — customer feedback is invaluable to building a stronger brand. Once you have identified your clear business strategy and positioning, articulate what your brand needs to achieve to deliver to the strategy. Then determine your company’s brand values, traits and brand essence in a nutshell: the inspiring ideas that drive your business forward.

2. Tell a great story that creates an emotional connection.

The most successful brands are consistent with the experience they provide to their customers and deliver on their promises time after time. To do this, it’s crucial to tell a great story. Traditionally, CEOs haven’t considered storytelling in their business strategies. Yet in today’s customer-centric business world, storytelling is key to giving your brand personality and substance — and it needs to happen from the top down. Customers want to connect with the ‘human’ side of a business, and so your story should provide a personal touch. It should capture a consistent experience and understanding of who you are as a business and what you represent to stakeholders, influencers and customers alike.

3. Walk the talk — live and breathe your brand.

With your brand story and business strategy in place, you need to walk the talk at every level of your organisation. Customers, employees and stakeholders want to connect with what makes your business distinct, authentic and reliable. Ensure that your company’s core values, story and goals are reflected across all communication platforms, from the company website, to social media promotion, to customer service interactions and team meetings. It’s also crucial to advocate your company’s values, story and goals on a personal level. This will help you build strong relationships with customers and employees. Relationships grounded in trust in turn build emotional investment in your business and brand.

CEOs, by playing to your company’s strengths and tailoring service offerings to your target audience, you can carve out a competitive edge in your industry and beyond. When you start asking the right questions about your brand, you might find that it’s perceived differently to what you intended. A few simple adaptations may be all that’s needed to impact productivity and the bottom line, propelling your business into new areas of growth.