10 traits that desirable brands have in common


There are very few hard and fast rules when it comes to effective brand management in an increasingly competitive market climate, but there are a few fundamental traits that desirable brands share. In order for successful brands to endure the ever-evolving market, these are some of the fundamental attributes they’ve built their brand model upon.

First and foremost, a brand is only as good as the promise it delivers upon. What is the mission their brand wants to achieve? What is their brand’s objective? With so much competition, the idea of brand loyalty is crucial. Establishing trust is always one of the first hurdles. Successful brands most likely have an established tradition of excellence, and through their labour and dedication, as well as their ability to consistently deliver, their earned reputation will inevitably spread. Increasing brand equity is only achievable through maintaining a consumer’s trust.

They are consistent

When trust is paramount, consistency is crucial. One of the fundamental tenets underpinning brand management is confidence. Being able to consistently demonstrate credibility is the virtue that earns that trust. Far too many budding companies and promising brands enter the market to tumultuous applause, yet when it came to their encore, their audience is left disappointed, and interest wanes. Brand equity is driven by the ability of a company to consistently deliver upon an exacting standard.

They have a strong online presence

While the world has never been more populated, sprawling, and spread apart, we’ve never been closer. More interconnected. The flow of information is constantly at your fingertips, before your very eyes, and colleagues are always just a Skype call away. We live in an age where client conversations occur continents apart, yet face to face. On a given day you might have meetings in Belfast, London, Singapore, and Shanghai, all while seated at your own desk. Successful brands have adapted to the internet as a platform through which they can present their products and ideas as if it’s sliding a folder across a boardroom table. Whether this is through intelligent advertising strategy, online discourse and dialogue, or treating their internet presence as a global conference table. Or, as is often the case nowadays, a global shop.

They promote intelligent digital content

For that small fraction of well-structured, well-presented, intelligent content online, the quality will ring true. With so much information but such little time, every word counts. Every word your brand writes, be it on a digital platform or otherwise, is an indelible mark exposed to the entire digital world, and is therefore reflective of your standards and precision. Many successful brands acknowledge that the accuracy of their language, the clarity of their message, and the overall standards by which they hold themselves will inform others of their professional intent. The composition of intelligent content online is a benchmark which so often separates the forgettable from the unforgettable. Brevity, a clear message, and precision can make all the difference in discerning who leaves a lasting impression, and who vanishes into the ether. The vast majority of content we encounter on a daily basis will inevitably sink in the forgettable depths. What this calls for are energetic advertising models that have the ability to evolve constantly.

They’ve found their voice

All corporate entities, all political bodies, all organisations, must understand precisely not just what they want to say, but how they want to say it. In politics it’s a game of rhetoric. In advertising, it’s often a game of appealing, to an individual or a collective, to their sensibilities. Their wish for advancement, progress, gain. Ultimately, providing something which has a prospect of bettering where they stand. Successful brands understand how to deliver this oration; this appeal. Sending a message with a bold, deliberate, and clear voice evokes far more confidence than a quiet, indecisive murmur of intent. If only it were as simple as chain-watching The King’s Speech…

They know where to spread their message

In terms of brand management, spreading ideas and information, the world has never been smaller. It’s the high age of digital networking and virtual commerce. If you wish your message to be heard by your sought-after audience, a strong, energetic online presence is a necessity The absence of such will leave you stranded in the dark ages. Successful brands know where to strategically allocate their resources both online and offline. Knowing which formal and informal channels to navigate, which avenues to explore, essentially knowing who to talk to, and what they want, is the key to countless locked doors.

They understand the ebb and flow of the economic tide

These are changing times, and the near-constant ebb and flow of information is often difficult to predict, but with data in hand, brands can decide which direction to take. All brands have a vision in mind, a development plan for moving forward, so a brand must understand what steps to take in order to achieve that. With an unpredictable marketplace, there will inevitably be obstacles. Successful brands have adapted to elegantly navigate and tackle these obstructions and challenges, and it is one of their defining features which elevates them above the rest. Successful brand management largely hinges upon the ability to find elegant, creative solutions to the problems which have hindered others in the past, as well as knowing how to overcome the unforeseen pitfalls of the future.

They stand out

A brand’s identity exists in an overwhelming ocean of information, both online and offline, an awful lot of which is unimaginative, poorly structured, even lacking intelligent insight, yet that information has the capacity to drown out a brand’s message by sheer force of numbers. When the average attention span is bombarded with images, ideas, products, and concepts, on a near-constant basis, the brands that stand out and endure, are those that have adapted to the demands of the climate; their brand strategy is fast-paced, adaptive, energetic, and concise. Enduring brands know that it is often about standing out from the crowd for all the right reasons. In a market that never sleeps, a brand should illustrate a constant presence, ideally, as the rose among the thorns.

They are quick to adapt

In this day and age a brand’s identity is governed by its ability to adapt. It has never been more important for a brand to be energetic and creative in how they adapt their brand strategy to the ever-changing demands of the market, particularly as another company, another product, idea, even another competitor, are never more than a click away. The economic sphere never stops turning, so keeping your finger on the pulse of trending information is vital. It has never been more important to observe the patterns of not just who is listening, but why they are listening. A brand needs to be constantly vigilant about the movements of their given market, and have the ability to adapt to changes at a moment’s notice. It illustrates not only the willingness, but the capacity to evolve instantaneously. Brands that are static or slow to respond accordingly tend to fall by the wayside.

They’re competitive

In order to stay competitive, a brand needs to be able to creatively tackle their competitors, a task aided immensely if their focus doesn’t stray far from the ambitions, movements, and actions of those within their field of interest. Successful brands understand the competitive nature of the market, and understand the need for their brand strategy to competitively engage with the market, be it through interacting with the individual consumer, or engaging a competitor head-on. Microsoft versus Apple, McDonald’s versus Burger King, Visa versus MasterCard, Coke versus Pepsi- successful brands share an appetite for competition.

Ultimately, these are just some of the traits which thriving brands share in common. In an ever-evolving economic sphere, populated by ever-changing consumer expectations, it’s difficult to write in stone a precise methodology on how, and why, brands thrive. However, keeping these 10 traits in mind when taking even a cursory glance at our fragmented market goes a long way in discerning who is able to pick up the pieces, and who stays shattered on the floor.

Robert O´Sullivan

Robert O’Sullivan