As Coca-Cola gained prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there’s a story of how, upon beginning the sale of the product in bottles, its consistency in imaging was part of what helped make the brand one of the best known in the world. The iconic red, the silhouette-shaped bottle, the script-style font, along with its similar pricing across markets, aided consumers far and wide in recognizing and becoming familiar with what those things meant—and still mean.
The branding Coca-Cola developed for itself helped consumers instantly know what they were looking at and what they would be getting with the purchase of a curvy glass bottle filled with carbonated, flavored water. The beverage company’s engagement with consumers during its formative years was uniform—in how its packaging looked on its own and in the depiction of how the consumer looked when enjoying the drink.
And this type of uniformity in consumer engagement is what makes up the vital foundational pieces in cultivating a distinct image for your brand, as well as the pieces that can best help you in turning your brand into a household name brand.
Know Your Brand
Structuring a brand to become a household name brand isn’t as easy as coming up with a good design. For example, at Edia Cosmetics For Hair, we developed the business as a “brand house,” which operates, markets and facilitates the Edia brand, and the architecture of the brand house was designed to be able to create and sustain a household name brand. In the article “A Study in Brand Engineering,” published in the May 2012 issue of GCI magazine, setting core brand principles when developing a beauty line was discussed, and those lessons remain important here. Developing those core principles and a brand mantra helps establish consistency for consumers and consumer engagement, which is often best displayed through packaging and product formulation.
Edia engages with its partners and customers—distributors, retailers and consumers—uniformly, as they are all consumers at their relative levels. A beauty brand’s focus should be to get the product from your partners’ hands onto your customers’ skin, body, hair, nails, face or other product-targeted location. However, an iron rule with no flexibility in these engagements and relationships isn’t ideal. It is best to empower your brand’s partners to individualize their development of and interactions with the brand, but within the uniform process and engagement that is crafted to be the same at every level and with every consumer.
In your brand house development, the balancing act involves building in a fashion that will allow for your brand to be a household name brand. Find that which becomes a common denominator in all aspects of the product, including the packaging and formulation, across your target market. The target for your brand could be Gen Y, high-income earners, vegans or something else. The key is knowing what connects with your target. From there, the development process and approach to development should also be uniform.
The Social Network
Getting your brand further recognized requires identifying your three primary customer groups. Your primary customer groups can be categorized by the simple distributors/retailers/consumer model, or they can be sub-groups within one of the aforementioned categories.
The art of business is what’s important in today’s global economy. There must be an organic connectivity between your brand house and the social network that exists with your primary customer groups, a connectivity to the associations and links that feed its information resources and the indexes that operate in its ecosystem. Finding the first degree of separation between your brand house and the ecosystem your brand lives within helps define its social network and its level of connectivity. And the pursuit of uniformity and familiarity with your primary customer group establishes a ubiquity and commonality for your brand house, and thus helps its products get closer to becoming household name brands.
Participating in philanthropic events involved with organizations in your ecosystem is one practical method of creating connectivity with your primary customer group. After Hurricane Sandy, many brands servicing different levels of an ecosystem (brand houses, distributors, retailers and consumers) worked together for fundraising and other support awareness needs. With organizations within the beauty industry already pioneering these types of connectivity opportunities, participating brands have an optimal opportunity to connect.
The Food Pyramid
Your primary customer groups can further be related to the food pyramid, building from your foundational customer group on up. As the food pyramid is organized by the food groups, with different groups having different recommendations of priority and needing more servings than others, such is your primary customer group built from its foundation to the top, with the foundation answering the primary needs and attention that feeds into the serving it provides to your marketplace.
Those outside your foundation may need to be considered, but the primary focus should be on the foundation. Moreover, there is a higher level of marketing and operations focus that needs to be dedicated to the foundation in order for your brand to become a household name brand.
The Best Interest of the Buyer First
On the path to building a household name brand and to justify the effort and cost to get your brand to market, your product has to be good enough to pass development costs on to the customers.
The marketability of the product is based on the total sum effort to get the product to market. Part of relating to your primary customer groups is to create cohesion and a handoff that ideally makes sense for every primary customer—creating a win-win for them improves your ability to market and sell the product.
As you go through establishing your brand and serving your primary customer groups, your brand must also establish a relatively clear “in” for every primary customer group. The “in,” as in, “What’s in it for me?” and “why do I want to engage your brand in business?” As you move through the product development cycle, answering those questions should guide you and your team—and the smoother the transition from a brand into a household name brand will be.
Remyi Fredson-Cole is the co-founder of Edia Cosmetics For Hair, as well as an author and entrepreneur who cut his teeth with Fortune 100 companies in various roles covering product engineering, marketing strategy and operations. He challenges conventional wisdom with his innovative approach to market strategies and brand engineering, and he is the author of I Have An Idea ... Now What? A Blueprint for the 21st Century Entrepreneur, available summer 2012 in audiobook and digital format. Contact him at [email protected].