As any marketing professional knows, maintaining a brand is a job that’s never done. Brands evolve and change over time. They react, respond, listen, and inform. But it doesn’t happen by itself. In order to create an effective, successful brand, there are a number of important factors to be aware of.

Last week, we delved into specifically what brands shouldn’t do by highlighting four mistakes that they can’t afford to make. This week, we’ll be following that up with a discussion on what brands should be doing. Read ahead to learn about four things every successful brand needs to do.

Align your brand. Brand consistency is one of the most crucial things that brands need to worry about. In last week’s article, we discussed brand guidelines, and how they’re used to ensure consistently. We highlighted data from Inc. telling us that 95% of organizations have brand guidelines, yet only a fourth of those organizations consistently follow them.

There’s a reason why that’s so important. Multiple, actually. Research from DesignRush states that consistent branding can increase revenue by as much as 23%. Additionally, research from Diamond Metric suggests that consistently presented brands are 3.5 times more visible to customers.

Start listening. Brands that don’t listen to their customers simply aren’t in touch with their audience. A study from IBM and Econsultancy found that nearly 80% of consumers don’t believe the average brand understands them. Yet at the same time, nearly 90% of marketers believe that a personalized customer experience is a critical success factor. Clearly there’s a disconnect.

If you want to truly improve your brand, you need to listen to your customers. Not only will gaining a deeper understanding of your customers help fuel personalization efforts, it will give you a better idea of what your brand identity needs to be in order to succeed. Your brand exists to serve your audience. Because without your audience, your brand is nothing.

Produce content. Want to build better relationships between brand and consumer? Start producing content. According to KEY Difference Media, 78% of consumers find that custom content is indicative of an organization interested in building good relationships. Content is effective because it gets your audience to engage. Successful brands create content that their audience actively wants to see. When done right, the content fuels loyalty and helps turn customers into brand advocates.

To learn more about creating more effective content, here’s five data-backed tips.

Prioritize an audience over sales. It may sound crazy, but driving sales shouldn’t always be your primary motive. According to Bynder, more than 70% of brand managers place more importance on building an audience than converting sales. Why? Because a larger audience will ultimately facilitate sales by itself. When you have an audience of loyal customers, you don’t need to spend a ton of time convincing them to purchase your product. They’ll do so because they’re invested in the brand.

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Is your brand implementing these practices? Sound off in the comments!