Make your Brand Great

This post is the final in our “How to Build a Bullet-Proof Brand” series. In this blog, we finally get to to the heart of what really makes a brand great.

What makes a brand great?

woman business leader and team

They make a difference.

They involve people.

They speak to our hearts.

Lego team

They help people to help themselves.

Great brands have these 4 characteristics in common: 

  1. They make a difference. Don’t define your brand by what you make or sell, but by what you make happen. Your brand should offer something to buy into, not just something to buy. Tip: Offer your audience opportunities to participate in activities that support people and planet, not just profit.
  2. They involve people. They don’t interrupt people, they build relationships. Marketing that actively involves your audience is more engaging. Nike's success stems from its inclusive marketing approach. Tip: Actively involve your audiences in co-creating a collaborative brand.
  3. They speak to our hearts. They engage our emotions and feelings. Activities that resonate with audiences' experiences drive greater engagement. Appealing to emotions delivers more profound and enduring connections. Tip: Aim for heart-strings, not eyeballs.
  4. They help people to help themselves. Use your marketing to help people achieve their goals as well as your brand goals. Tip: Deliver value in every interaction, not just through every transaction.
Great brands branding post no 7

Branding principles to follow

  • Know yourself and understand your values
  • Know your audience(s)
  • Learn about your external environment and your competitors
  • Uncover what is your point of difference (your ”secret sauce”)
  • Understand your future vision
  • Make, keep and measure your brand promise
  • Embrace your passion ⏤ have fun!

“If you know your enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory your gain you will also suffer a defeat.

If you know neither your enemy or yourself, you will suffer defeat in every battle.”

    Sun Tzu, The Art of War


  • Put your brand essence to work. Bake it into everything that your brand touches ⏤ into your messaging, identity, collateral and where you show up.
  • Step back and look at your brand from a 360-degree viewpoint. Does your brand voice and essence truly align with who you are, your mission and purpose? Ask your customers and partners what they hear, see and feel.
  • Engage with your audiences’ hearts and minds. Become a part of their life, not an interruption. Be brave and make things happen ⏤ make a difference in audience’s lives, and they’ll care about your brand!
  • Don’t be afraid of trying something new and failing. Test, measure results, and modify or switch it up. Wash, rinse, repeat until you get your brand strategy figured out and working the way you want. And then be prepared to make proactive changes to stay on top of your wave. Read Robin’s excellent post on the daily practice of courage, and just do it!


Maja Haloway

As a director at Xylina, Maja helps clients find their ideal audience and connect to them through the right branding, messaging and marketing channels. Maja holds an MBA degree from St. Thomas University. She can be found at marketing, entrepreneur or techie-related meetups in the Portland OR/Vancouver WA area.

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