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5 Steps to Achieving Your Legendary Brand Reputation

By: Ashley M. Williams

I am so grateful to the Detroit Regional Chamber for the opportunity to be this year’s closing keynote speaker at their renowned event, Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed! I really enjoyed the sessions, as they were informative.

I wanted to offer audiences some key takeaways from my speech that they could incorporate into their brand and marketing strategies:

I have one question for you: “What reputation does your brand aspire to have?”

Sure, this seems like the ideal question for anyone who is a part of any brand to ask.

Yet interestingly, many do not.

Many brands do not take the time to realize their true vision, understand the pain points that they are solving, or identify how their brand could significantly impact their customers’ lives in positive ways.

And honestly, I get why.

With the constant, rapid evolution of technology and advertising today (let alone the world), trying to keep up with everything and staying relevant can be, well … exhausting. In fact, it can be so exhausting that brands often begin to mimic other brands or even begin to produce ads that make people scratch their heads, roll their eyes, or drop their jaws.

Though we’ve all had these reactions at one time or another, isn’t it nice to know that they could have been prevented? Yep, they sure could have.

The moments that jeopardize a brand’s reputation usually could have been prevented if the people in command of the brand had simply taken a moment to huddle and ask themselves: “What is the reputation that we aspire for our brand to have?” I believe asking this simple question can help solidify the true vision of a brand.

As renowned marketing consultant and motivational speaker Simon Sinek says, “True vision inside of a company is something that has nothing to do with your product. It is an ideal to which you will attempt to build and advance that ideal through your company, through your product… this is what gives our lives meaning… gives our lives purpose.”

Not only do I agree with Sinek, but I also believe that purpose should be at the core of every single brand aspires to be. Having a defined understanding of a brand’s purpose enables us to establish what that brand aspires to be and what it is not.

It is only through a defined purpose that the people behind a brand can work toward achieving the reputation they aspire to. As Sinek also says, “A vision is having a crystal-clear sense of what the finish line looks like but no idea of how far away it is… The vision should last beyond yourself.”

For companies like Walt Disney and Apple, the vision is clear. The founders and maintainers of these brands sought not just to create products, services, or experiences, but also to give purpose and meaning to the lives that they engaged with each and every day. These brands uplift their customers and the world into changing the status quo and into believing that anything is possible. Their inspirational values continue to connect with consumers and the greater world to this day, even though their founders are long gone.

With these powerful brand examples in mind, I want to share with you five steps that I believe can help your brand achieve a legendary reputation:

  1. Clearly identify your brand’s reason for existing.

This is what Sinek refers to as what is your why”. Deeply analyze and understand how your brand fills a need within the world. Although you may want to stay true to your brand’s original intent, sometimes things change. Therefore, the reason for your brand’s existence may have also changed. It’s worth checking in periodically to make sure your brand is still pointed in the right direction.

  1. Understand what makes your brand, your brand.

Get to the point where you can state, within a sentence or two, what it is that your brand does better than any other brand. Discuss with your team members what makes your brand unique. This will also help you identify what your colleagues think about the brand and what can be done internally to improve the company outwardly, if needed.

  1. Define your values (like seriously, take the time to actually define them.)

I see so many companies that just have adjectives to describe their values: “innovative”, “trustworthy”, etc. But adjectives don’t convey meaning or purpose. Brands should strive to add more verbs and nouns to these adjectives so that their values become short phrases or sentences. Customers must be able to easily understand what your brand is.

  1. Pay more attention to what others say about you, and investigate why they say it.

Keep a consistent, watchful eye on what people are saying on job boards or social media about your brand. Follow up with some of the individuals publishing comments (positive or negative) to understand how your brand is impacting their lives. You may even want to distribute polls or surveys with those who engage with your brand to understand what they immediately think when they hear your brand name and why. Your brand exists in the minds of your customers, so you build and maintain that brand one mind at a time. This is how your brand achieves legendary status.

  1. Finally, keep taking the time to reassess your brand’s reputation and the messages that build it.

It’s always important to take a step back and investigate whether your and your colleagues’ efforts are truly helping the brand in achieving the legendary status that it aspires to. There is always room for growth and change when it comes to building a brand. Sometimes, you’ll need to further amplify your brand messages by executing more purposeful marketing campaigns via all forms of content creation and event marketing.

These steps have been essential in helping me build my personal brand and my company’s brand. Though these steps are definitely a huge part of building a legendary brand, I also strongly believe that the individuals involved in crafting that brand’s reputation simply must believe that it is possible for them to create the reputation to which they aspire.  I hope these steps help you, and I hope that you inspire you to leave no stone unturned when it comes to not only building your brand’s online reputation, but ultimately, building your brand’s legendary reputation. You can do it!


Ashley Williams is the founder and CEO of RIZZARR and a keynote speaker at Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed.