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4 Keys to Great Branding

After working in marketing and branding for over 10 years and teaching branding at the post-secondary level, I’ve come to learn that great brands will always do these 4 things:

1. Great Brands Are Consistent

All great brands deliver a consistent brand message across all of their marketing touch points. Apple delivers on its “Think Different” brand message in everything it does, for example:

Using white ear buds instead of black ear buds expresses the idea of thinking differently.

Apple iPod Earbuds

Apple’s iconic “1984” ad also communicates the idea of thinking differently.

2. Great Brands Are Different

Often small- to medium-sized businesses forget to take a look at their own industry’s competitive landscape before they make decisions about their company’s brand elements such as their logos, colours and fonts.

Quick, tell me which one of these is Coca-Cola and which one is Pepsi?



There’s a reason why Coke’s brand colour is red and Pepsi’s is blue. They want to be clearly different in the minds of the cola drink consumer. Before branding decisions are made, think about which brands your company is compared to and then think about how your brand elements can be different than theirs.

3. Great Brands Are Memorable

If your brand delivers on consistency and being different, you’ll be on the right track to creating memorable brand experiences for your target market.

You don’t need be Coke, Pepsi, or Apple to be branded effectively and to create memorable experiences. Take the Stryve business card for example: we wanted to communicate our brand’s core message of being “ahead of the curve”, so our business card was designed to convey that message in a memorable way.

Stryve Business Card

We did this in four ways:

  • The business card was designed to be held vertically while most traditional business cards are held horizontally,
  • It is 4 times as thick as a normal business card,
  • It has a smooth finish that feels different than traditional business cards, and
  • It has rounded edges instead of the traditional square corners.

These four features of the Stryve business card make someone stop and take notice of it when we hand to out and the card ends up sticking out in their memory.

4. Great Brands Evoke Emotion

The goal of great branding and marketing is to ultimately win the hearts and minds of a consumer. Which of these advertising pieces appeals to you more?

If you were a small business owner, which company would you rather buy from? Grasshopper creates an emotional reaction while Rogers is playing it safe. There’s a reason why the Grasshopper video has been viewed over 1.2 million times and the Rogers video has only about 1000 views.

Playing it safe will often get a brand forgotten and unnoticed. Great branding will get someone excited, happy, thinking, inspired, or ultimately feeling something. If you don’t elicit a reaction with your brand or marketing, you’re doing something wrong.

So whether you’re starting a brand, rethinking a brand, or creating a marketing asset for your brand, make sure you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this consistent with our brand message?
  2. Is this differentiated from our competitors?
  3. Does it have qualities that will make it memorable to our target market?
  4. Will it evoke an emotional response from our target market?

If you can walk away with a strong “YES” to each question, you’re well on your way to great branding.

Sourov De

Co-founder & President

Sourov is fascinated by anything related to sales, marketing & social media, and is the founder of the Social Media Marketing Canada group on LinkedIn.