5 Ways to Build a Brand People Love
One woman launched a beverage empire from her kitchen that soon filled the break rooms of companies like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.
What was her secret?
In a word: branding.
1. A Good Brand Begins by Solving a Problem.
Kara Goldin wanted to improve her health by getting off diet drinks filled with artificial sweeteners. But when she went to the store, she couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.
She identified a problem: a lack of healthy but tasty choices in the beverage industry. On one side, there was plain but healthy water. On the other side was a host of drinks filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
So, one day in her kitchen, she began flavoring her water with pieces of fruit. That’s when she had the “ah ha” moment.
This led to the creation of “Hint Water” (as in water with a hint of naturally sweet flavor). The drink took off quickly as other people were confronting the same problem.
Within 6 years, she became one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. After 11 years, Hint Water reached $90 million in sales and became an “asset of the break rooms” throughout Silicon Valley.
Those are serious results, all from pinpointing a common problem.
Goldin said solving a problem is even more important for a brand than gaining lots of publicity and social media success. As she said in an interview with Entrepreneur: “It’s not about likes or followers — it’s about business results.”
2. Focus on Results.
Many new brands spend a lot of time creating content to get more likes and followers, instead of attracting a truly loyal clientele.
But amassing likes from the general populace doesn’t mean much to a business if the followers don’t become clients.
While “social proof” is valuable, a brand with a few hundred followers who actually become clients will outperform a brand with thousands who like the content but never buy the product.
Customers will also appreciate a brand more that brings them actual results, and stays true to a purpose.
Goldin connected with her target audience because she had a clear mission and stuck to it. As she told Entrepreneur: “Ensure you’re driven by passion and purpose and that your mission is clear, then stick to that mission no matter what.”
On her podcast, her mission continues, entertaining listeners with “insightful conversations with the start-up world’s most fascinating entrepreneurs, disruptors and changemakers.”
That brings us to another entrepreneur who fits that description to a tee.
When Gary Vaynerchuk took over his father’s liquor store, he was able to grow sales from $4 million to $60 million by simply revamping the brand.
He changed the name from “Shopper’s Discount Liquors” to “Wine Library.” This alone refocused the target market from customers looking for a cheap six-pack to wine connoisseurs who shell out hundreds for their favorite vintage.
But he didn’t stop there. Next, he launched a YouTube channel called “Wine Library TV,” and did regular reviews of the wine they sold. This not only advertised the beverages for sale, but put a face behind the products that people came to know and trust.
Also known as GaryVee, he eventually stepped away from the wine business to launch a digital ad agency and became the New York Times bestselling author of the marketing book, “Crush It!”
On his website he explains that it’s all about telling stories. Which brings us to our next point.
3. A Good Brand Tells a Great Story.
People connect with stories. But with so many stories floating in the digital ocean, how do you make your brand stand out?
“To tell a great story, the number one thing you have to do is evoke a reaction,” Vaynerchuk said in the interview with Entrepreneur. Reactions are all about “the setup, the punchline and hacking people’s expectations.”
A great example of hacking expectations is the name, “Wine Library.” This sets up an oxymoron where a library is used to distribute wine instead of books.
In essence, he created a new story that caught his target customer’s attention. And that brings us to his number four.
4. Be Useful to People.
The wine reviews on YouTube educated customers about the products. “If you’re creating it just to sell something, people will instinctively know,” he told Entrepreneur.
And this applies to any industry or enterprise. Take a yoga instructor. Two common ways she could gain more students is to either run ads or create free yoga lessons and post them online. Once she gains a following, they’ll be her first customers for premium lessons.
Being useful helps others and is more cost effective. It’s a win-win, as posting videos on YouTube doesn’t cost anything, unlike buying YouTube ads.
While ads can help a brand gain exposure in the beginning, they shouldn’t be the only strategy a brand is using.
The “Be Useful” approach combined with the name change boosted store sales into the stratosphere.
He didn’t have to go chasing customers, he just crafted an elegant image, consistently produced reviews, and let people come to him. And because of his candid approach (even pouring out wine he hated) the reviews were useful to people.
His straight-forward and even humorous approach kept people watching. He doesn’t try to make each episode a masterpiece of production and dialogue. Far from it, which he pointed out in the interview:
5. Don’t Try to be Perfect. Just Keep it Real.
In episode 1001 of Wine Library TV, Vaynerchuk explained, “We kept it real. We get awkward.” His shows weren’t overly polished, which added a level of believability. It’s like a friend telling us exactly how he feels, unfiltered.
It’s key for content creators to realize there’s no such thing as perfect. Perfection can prevent you from producing in a flow state. You’ll be too busy going back to make things “just right” instead of simply making things.
Writers take note: The biggest hindrance to being prolific is perfectionism.
What’s more, people can identity with a natural presentation over something that seems too corporate or sterile.
His Youtube videos are off-the-cuff and fun, more relatable, great marketing. So, he not only becomes a celebrity but an authority.
When building your brand, create content that teaches people about what you’re selling. No awkward cold-calling required, as you’re educating people instead.
Solving problems and sharing your knowledge helps you become trusted. So, when someone needs a product you offer, chances are they’ll come to you first.
Think of it like this, a good brand is like a cool aunt or uncle. They keep it real, can solve problems and know how to tell a great story.