Successful Brands Do These Three Things

Branding works.

But what about when it doesn’t? Why do some brands fall flat while others launch into the stratosphere?

At Aktual Design, we’ve got some ideas about what works. And what doesn’t.

Successful brands:
  1. Execute a well-developed brand strategy

  2. Stay true to their brand identity

  3. Build relationships through a strong, thoughtfully designed online presence.

Brand Strategy

Exceptional brand strategy builds a loyal community of fans by developing an emotional connection with customers.

Build a community

Start building a community by discovering your brand archetype.

Brand archetypes help you relate to potential customers and differentiate yourself from the competition. Your customers may be looking for a sense of belonging. Or safety. Or freedom.

You can also resonate with your community by building a recognizable, authentic brand voice.

It’s how you communicate your purpose, vision, and values. A brand voice helps attract new customers, or drives them away. Some of the most recognizable brands in the world carry a distinctive tone (Jack in the Box, Liquid Death, Progressive etc.).

Adopt a voice that fits your brand. With it—build a devoted community of raving fans.

Create an Emotional Connection

First step in developing an emotional connection with your community? Build a brand heart.

Connect your brand heart with your brand's purpose.

Businesses start to solve problems. Whether you are trying to re-imagine financial tech or disrupt the vacation rental market—your purpose helps you identify with potential customers.

And identify how you do things.

Does your company value steadiness and stability? Or agility and disruption? What do you do?

What do you do better than everyone else?

Brand strategy turns your brand heart, brand purpose, and brand voice—into action.

Brand Identity

Relate with Visuals

Reading is hard. Most people don’t do it. The odds of you making it to the end of this article are relatively low. So we included visuals. These illustrate the concepts, themes, and motifs we’re talking about.

Visuals are important. Because they can communicate your message quicker and more efficiently than words. And people will actually look at them.

Visuals stop the reader and say, “ HEY! PAY ATTENTION RIGHT HERE.” Images, photos, and videos provide an ocular hierarchy—they tell your eyes where to move, when, and for how long.

Stop the scroll. Use visuals and graphics to catch, direct, and maintain attention.

Tell a Better Story

Humans are storytellers.

Our ability to share a common myth is one reason why our species sped past others. Because we stopped trying to eat each other. And started talking to each other.

Ask yourself these questions:

Does your brand story…?

  1. Elicit Joy?

  2. Enable Connection?

  3. Inspire Exploration?

  4. Evoke Pride?

  5. Impact Society?

Check one, two, or a few of those boxes, and tell stories better than everyone else.

Create Consistency

Commit to your customers. This relates directly to your brand heart—how do you show up for your customers? There is no get-rich-quick gimmick here. Follow through when you say you are going to. Your brand identity is who you are. But it’s also what you do.

It’s roughly one trillion times easier to retain a customer than it is to garner a new one. Treat your customers like a community. Value them. Build trust. Create consistency.

Build a Strong Website

Stop bragging. Start solving problems

Your website should solve customer problems. Period. Full stop. A landing page talking more about the CEO than what you do? Bad. Customers can’t find the page they need? Worse.

User experience is everything.

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve run away from a website we simply couldn’t use. Optimize your site for mobile and tablet. Make navigation a snap. Put the most important resources ON THE FIRST PAGE.

Address customer pain points. Solve problems.


Everyone’s phone has been on silent since 2014. We can’t hear the video you started auto-playing as soon as we clicked on your landing page.

A Place for Your Brand to Live and Grow

Websites are not carved out of stone. They are dynamic, fluid, and ever-changing.

At Aktual Design, we build websites that grow with you.

Pay attention to how customers are using your site. Adapt and meet them there. Put high-performing pages upfront. Reevaluate those pages falling short. Repurpose and update content in order to stay top-of-mind.

We are currently hurtling through space at roughly 1,037 miles per hour. You should be editing your website. Often.

Sell. But Don’t Oversell.

Contrary to what you might believe, customers like being sold to.

But people don’t want to feel like they are being sold to.

Have you ever walked into a store and had a conversation like this:


“Hi! Welcome in. Can I help you with anything today?”


“No thanks! I am just looking.”

Of course you have. It happens all the time. But too often those well-meaning people walking around the store with an earpiece forget to:

Stop. Take a breath. Watch. Listen.

If they greeted you—but didn’t ask you anything right away—they might notice that you gravitate toward a particular section. Maybe you even start grabbing stuff off the rack to try on. Now they have something to go on.

They have a better idea of what you want. It’s a lot easier for them to ‘sell’ you the shirt you already have in your hand, than it is to sell you something you don’t want.

This can be applied directly to your online strategy. Before you design a site and build a landing page—do this:

Stop. Take a breath. Watch. Listen.

What pages drive the most traffic on the current site? Where does your ideal customer hangout online? We have developed a framework for finding out the what, where, and why.

It’s the first thing we do before designing anything. See our services page.

Find out what your customers want. And sell it to them.

Brand Strategy + Brand Identity + A Strong Website = ?

We’ll admit—we don’t know how far implementing these strategies will take you. Like many things in business, going through the motions will deliver mediocre results. And make you sad.

But we do know, if you do these three things—and do them well—you’re walking in the shoes worn by some of the most successful brands in the world.

Develop a thoughtful brand strategy. Back it up with a cohesive brand identity and a strong, well-designed website.

Then work to build trust. Create killer content. Be authentic.

Look inward and inquire, “What is our strategy? What is our identity? How do we want our brand to look online?”

If you need some help answering those questions, check us out.

Then go out and do it.

Better than everyone else.