Getting your business to stand out amongst the crowd is no small feat.

What makes one company stand out while another fades away? What makes you reach for a product at the grocery store or download one app over another or inquire about a specific make/model of a vehicle over the competition?

It’s the Brand. Yes, capital B. Brand is what makes you stand out.

And the thing is, Brand can’t be bought. Brand must be built.

Brand is built by consistently delivering on your promises and creating meaningful experiences for your customers. It’s the result of every interaction a customer has with your product, service, and people, from the initial awareness phase through the entire lifecycle of their relationship with your brand. It’s shaped by the stories you tell, the values you embody, and the connections you foster. A strong brand is a reflection of a company’s commitment to excellence, its ability to innovate, and its dedication to understanding and meeting the needs of its customers. It’s not just about logos or taglines; it’s about the trust and loyalty that comes from a genuine commitment to delivering value. In essence, a brand is built through a sustained effort to engage, inspire, and resonate with your audience on a deep, emotional level.

Let’s look at this exciting case study: Olipop

Olipop came on the market about 5 years ago, so they are a relatively new entrant in the soda market. But they’ve really managed to build a brand. Olipop isn’t just another beverage on the shelf; it’s a testament to the power of thoughtful branding and market strategy.

Olipop distinguishes itself as a health-conscious soda alternative. It’s vegan, paleo-friendly, and boasts a minimalist ingredient list that you can actually read. But what truly sets Olipop apart isn’t just what’s inside the can—it’s the story and strategy outside of it.

When Olipop launched onto the scene, it did so with a modest initial investment of $100,000.

Astonishingly, $70,000 of that was funneled directly into branding and market research. This wasn’t merely about crafting a visually appealing logo; it was an in-depth dive into understanding the target audience, their desires, and how to connect with them on a meaningful level. This approach underscores a crucial lesson: branding is much more than skin deep.

The investment in branding wasn’t just a gamble; it was a calculated strategy to carve out a niche in the fiercely competitive soft drink market. By dedicating 70% of their budget to understanding and engaging their audience, Olipop demonstrated that knowing your consumer is half the battle. The other half? Delivering a product that not only meets their needs but does so with style and substance.

This narrative isn’t just a success story for Olipop; it’s a blueprint for any brand looking to make its mark. Whether you’re launching a consumer product or a software, the essence of your brand—how it feels, looks, and communicates—is critical. It’s what draws consumers in, what makes them linger, and, ultimately, what convinces them to choose you over the myriad options vying for their attention.

For businesses big and small, the takeaway is clear: invest in your brand. It’s not just about allocating funds towards a logo or a marketing campaign; it’s about investing time, effort, and resources into truly understanding who you’re speaking to and how best to reach them. In a world where consumers are bombarded with choices, a strong, resonant brand isn’t just nice to have—it’s essential.

Olipop’s journey from a startup to a standout in the soft drink industry is a compelling reminder that branding is not a line item on a budget; it’s the heartbeat of your business. So, whether you’re crafting a B2C or B2B strategy, remember: your brand is your voice. Make it count.