“It’s the story we tell, the image we project and the emotions we evoke.”
It’s a journey that began with a simple concept—awareness. Businesses, whether big or small, sought ways to make people aware of their products, services and very existence. After all, in the grand scheme of brand building, the greater the awareness, the bigger the brand. As time marched forward, the focus shifted to visibility. Establishing a physical presence in marketplaces, on high streets and within shopping centres became the norm.
For a considerable period, this combination of awareness and visibility, often bolstered by advertising campaigns, was the secret recipe for transforming a business into a brand. Of course, essential factors like quality, differentiation, impeccable service, etc., played their part in this transformation.
A significant change took place with a shift from visibility to experience. The era of experiential branding had begun and it quickly became the cornerstone of successful brand development. Many brands today still thrive on this pillar, understanding that the experience they provide is as vital as the products or services they offer.
My journey took a slightly different path in 2006, one that led me into the realm of community building as a means of brand building. And later in 2012, I ventured into education as the most crucial factor in brand development. Each of these elements, from awareness to community building, today plays a pivotal role in the world of brand building. This intricate framework has been the bedrock of global businesses, creating not just brands, but movements marked by impact, loyalty, success and sustainable growth.
It all started with awareness. When businesses started, their primary goal was to make people aware of their existence. The concept was simple. The more people knew about your product or service, the more likely they were to buy it. This birthed the era of awareness-focused brand building.
Businesses used traditional advertising methods to create awareness. Billboards, print ads and radio commercials were the order of the day. And it worked. However, awareness alone wasn’t enough to sustain a brand in the long run.
The next logical step was visibility. While awareness ensured that people knew about a brand’s existence, visibility aimed to make sure that the brand was seen wherever potential customers went. This led to the establishment of physical stores, market presence and placement in shopping centres—a visible presence in the marketplace.
Visibility meant more than just being seen. It meant being present in the minds of consumers when they thought about a particular product or service. This was the era of storefronts, flashy displays and prime shelf space in retail stores.
As time went on, businesses realised that it wasn’t enough to be known and seen. They needed to create a memorable experience for their customers. This shift marked the era of experiential brand building.
The focus was on making each interaction with the brand meaningful and delightful. Businesses started to invest in customer service and creating an emotional connection with consumers. This era saw the birth of flagship stores, unique packaging, engagements and memorable customer experiences.
Brands became not just products or services but valuable sources of information. Customers started to see them as partners in their journey, turning to them for guidance and insights. This approach involves content marketing, workshops and online courses.
Instead of bombarding consumers with advertisements, brands aimed to empower them with knowledge. These brands positioned themselves as experts in their field, creating trust and loyalty through education.
And now, as we step into the future, the spotlight is on community building. In an era of digital connectivity, brands recognise the importance of fostering a sense of belonging and kinship among their customers. Community building is not just a trend. It is becoming the cornerstone of successful brand building.
Brands can no longer be faceless entities. They are communities of like-minded individuals who share common values and beliefs. Companies are using social media, online forums and events to bring their customers together, creating spaces for conversations, collaborations and shared experiences. Customers don’t just buy products anymore.They invest in the brand’s mission and become its advocates.
While the evolution of brand building has taken us through different phases, certain elements have remained vital throughout this journey:
Regardless of the era, quality has always been a non-negotiable factor in building a strong brand. It’s the foundation upon which everything else is built.
To stand out in a crowded marketplace, a brand must have a unique selling proposition or a point of difference that sets it apart from the competition.
Exceptional customer service has been and will always be a key driver of brand loyalty. How you treat your customers matters deeply.
The way a brand communicates its story, values and mission plays a pivotal role in shaping its identity. Authentic, transparent and compelling communication is more important than ever.
The journey from awareness to community building has been exciting. While each era brought its own set of challenges and opportunities, the core principles of quality, differentiation, service and communication remain constant.
The future of brand building lies in building communities where customers aren’t just buyers but active participants, shaping the brand’s narrative and identity.
The Journey Continues.
FAQs on the Future of Brand Building: Community Building
Discover India Studios is a collaborative platform for meaningful and forward-thinking brand building initiatives. Specialising in fashion & beauty, DIScover is your gateway to innovative content creation, powerful campaigns, authentic communication and meaningful collaborations. Our passion for education & communication shines through projects like the Australian Supermodel of the Year and Clothes Don’t Maketh The Man program nurturing, supporting and managing talent for the future of branding. With a strong belief in authenticity and sustainability, DIScover India Studios is committed to transforming brands and fostering a community of creatives, thinkers and entrepreneurs.
About the Author: Kal Kalim is a fashion photographer, brand strategist and communication designer based in Melbourne, currently working on fashion, beauty & educational projects in Bali & India. He has been working on projects creating strategies, campaigns, content and communication for fashion and beauty brands in Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, France & South Africa for the last two decades. With a commitment to authentic storytelling and sustainable practices, Kal brings a unique perspective to the world of fashion and branding.