Three Steps to Building an Incredible Brand

By: Guest | October 31, 2011 | 

Today’s guest post is written by David Horne.

You want to build an incredible brand. This is one reason you became a marketing professional or started a company in the first place.

Who doesn’t want to create the next Google, Apple, Nike, or Coke?

Who doesn’t want to drive an incredible brand, one people love, that affects lives, and changes the world?

 “We are no doubt in the Great Age of the Brand.” – Tom Peters

Before you can build a brand that has market ubiquity, fosters loyalty, and promotes advocacy, the proper foundation must be set.

That foundation is credibility.

Credibility is defined as “the quality or power of inspiring belief.” There is no way to build an incredible brand without trust.

All great brands do this. They inspire us to believe. We trust them.

There are two types of credibility: Current credibility and past credibility

Current credibility is earned by delivering on promises. Take Zappos (cliché, I know, but hang in there) for example. They have current credibility because they inspire customers to trust them with their promise and delivery of amazing service.

You can also look at Evernote. They have current credibility because they provide an application that helps people remember stuff. It does what it says, and the story they tell is true.

Past credibility means trust has been built during the course of years or generations. This doesn’t make a brand exempt from staying relevant to its audience, but it gives them stored equity in the trust bank of our minds. Proctor & Gamble is a great example of this. They built credibility years ago with Tide, Crest, and Ivory, and have carried it through for decades.

On a smaller scale, in my hometown is a place called El’s Drive-In. For more than 50 years, they have served hamburgers and shrimp burgers. Even though all the chain burger joints have popped up, they still have packed crowds from credibility they earned since the sixties.

And then you have established credibility. From this foundation you can build an incredible brand in three parts:

  1. Instill confidence.
  2. Show competence.
  3. Be consistent.

1. Instill Confidence

To become incredible you must instill confidence with your audience.  Apple makes stuff that works. Chanel gives people a sense of class and sophistication. People must have confidence in the brand and in what it will do for them. Marketers mistakenly tout features all day long but instilling confidence is a product of the benefits.

2. Show Competence

Let’s face it, if your product or organization doesn’t perform, it will starve. Beyond that, incredible brands can do something better or at least in a more unique way than the others. Southwest Airlines showed how an efficient airline should be run.  Google showed that search engines can find what you are seeking. There is no room for a brand that doesn’t deliver what the market wants.

3. Be Consistent

Like the company or not, McDonald’s built an incredible brand on this principle. Consumers like predictability. They want expectations to be met or exceeded. Tiffany and Co. executes this with their blue box. Starbucks executes it with espressos and coffee. Continuity must be present in every interaction with the customer.

“Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand.” – David Ogilvy 

We have talked about laying a foundation of credibility. And have looked at three steps to moving from credible to incredible by instilling confidence, being consistent, and showing competence. Now, focus your marketing efforts on contributing to one or several of these elements. Everything you do should move you one step closer to becoming incredible.

What are you doing to make your brand incredible?

David Horne blogs at  He is the co-founder of the marketing firm West Hall Media. David is also an adjunct professor of marketing and social media at Greensboro College, event speaker, and former professional golfer.

  • _davidhorne_

    @suddenlyjamie thanks! cc: @ginidietrich

    • suddenlyjamie

      @_davidhorne_ My pleasure. Glad to be connected here. 🙂

  • _davidhorne_

    @iabcmn thanks!

  • Splenitis

    @kmueller62 @ginidietrich Shrimp burgers??

    • kmueller62

      @Splenitis that might work!

    • ginidietrich

      @Splenitis LOL!!

    • _davidhorne_

      @Splenitis You bet!

  • _davidhorne_

    @jenajean thanks for the rt!

    • jenajean

      @_davidhorne_ You’re welcome, David! Good stuff!

  • ginidietrich

    @kbloemendaal Did you change your blog??

    • kbloemendaal

      @ginidietrich yes, @Twitter blocked my other site for no reason, and I was already building that one as a personal portfolio

      • ginidietrich

        @kbloemendaal Really? Why would they do that? I like the new one!

        • kbloemendaal

          @ginidietrich I have no idea, they won’t answer my support tickets, I ran a malware check… had to move it I guess, thanks for the luv 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    Hey David! Thanks for the guest post. I like the examples you use, throughout, to illustrate your point. Stop back tomorrow when this goes out in the RSS feed.

    • _davidhorne_

      @ginidietrich Will do! Thanks for the compliment.

  • _davidhorne_

    @AskAaronLee Thanks for the shout!

  • _davidhorne_

    @brasonja thanks for the shout out!

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  • This is a great post @_davidhorne_

    It is funny because I irk a lot of my colleagues in marketing when I say Product, Service, Quality, and Price points will trump marketing and advertising all the time. Consistency is part of quality and service and very key.

    It really doesn’t matter how cool your ad campaign is if the product sucks. No matter what W+K does with Old Spice it is a bad product. Of the few people I have met who tried the stuff (including myself) most did because of heavy discounting with a coupon, then the overpowering reek of a perfume factory hit and they never went back.

    But we all know an El’s Drive in. All American Burger in Massapequa NY is one. Best french fries on Long Island. people will drive an hour just for the fries. Always a long line out the door. And the McD/Starbucks examples are key. Knowing what we get every single time helps a lot. It is why customer service is key. I like Yelp! but they have no customer service. In fact if a customer is mad and they load up 25 reviews calling your mom a pig good luck getting them taken down. You just can’t. Which leaves a massive hole for competition.

    • _davidhorne_

      @HowieSPM thanks. Great examples too. No doubt that customer service is key to building credibility.

  • Too often re-branding is thought of as a logo and tagline re-design, or a new website that dictates the new creative look. Digging way down beneath that is critical and this is a great guide for that. Thanks for the post!

    • _davidhorne_

      @Lisa Gerber so true. The foundation is vital. Lipstick on a pig isn’t a sustainable strategy. Thanks.

  • stevegasser

    @bassclefmusic ustream-facebook-wordpress. rocking the ministry.

    • bassclefmusic

      @stevegasser Good job on the pitch. Should be a fun project for you & something you can probably replicate w/client in the near future@

  • _davidhorne_

    @barryrsilver thanks for the RT!

  • jeffespo

    @markwschaefer Thanks Mark

  • _davidhorne_

    @Livefyre Gracias!

    • Livefyre

      @_davidhorne_ Our pleasure 🙂

  • _davidhorne_

    @chillygal thanks a lot for the mention cc: @spinsucks

  • _davidhorne_

    @glenn_ferrell thanks a bunch!

  • _davidhorne_

    @HurstAaron thanks a lot for the RT

  • _davidhorne_

    @WezPyke thanks for the shout!

    • WezPyke

      @_davidhorne_ No problem! 🙂

  • _davidhorne_

    @AdvantisComm thanks for the mention!

  • _davidhorne_

    @branddelight thanks for the mention

    • branddelight

      @_davidhorne_ no problem. Have a good weekend!

  • _davidhorne_

    @thinktapp thanks a bunch for the rt

  • _davidhorne_

    @shonali thanks for the shout out!

  • _davidhorne_

    @markwschaefer @jeffespo Thanks for the RT of my post

  • _davidhorne_

    @DebraWEllis thanks a bunch for the mention!

  • CherilynnStone

    Love your insights. So many people want to build their brand to reap benefits of having a credible brand but they fail to perform at levels necessary to achieve. Particularly on the Internet, it’s all about building relationships. Relationships that – like you said – consistently instill confidence and show competency. Great job.

    • _davidhorne_

      @CherilynnStone Thanks for the great comment. Yes, relationships take energy and time to earn and develop. But the benefits are priceless

  • _davidhorne_

    @marccusters Thanks for the mention

    • marccusters

      @_davidhorne_ You are very welcome David! Great post. Enjoy your evening 🙂

  • _davidhorne_

    @CulverPrivate thx. for the shout

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