What’s Brand Got To Do With It?

I subscribe to marketing newsletter.  This is a recent article about branding.  Anyone considering changes to their company brand should read it:

Branding is bigger than just a logo. The brand is the company’s promise. The process of branding is built over time by the company supporting its brand strategy in everything it does.Think about it like you think about yourself as a person. Your personal “brand” is all that makes up the uniqueness of YOU. It is not just your clothes (your logo, colors, imagery, fonts), which can change with the styles of the decade. It is your character or personality (your brand traits) and the core of who you are (your promise). Your logo, your “look-and-feel,” and other such branding elements are important to reflecting your “brand” to the world, but they are not the brand itself.

To successfully build a brand, all employees must work together as ambassadors of the brand—this means being consistent in how they present the brand to each other, as well as to customers and partners. By representing your organization in a consistent and meaningful way, you establish a promise and an expectation of your products and services in the marketplace that helps build awareness, loyalty, and equity.

Understanding this concept BEFORE you spend money on marketing activities is imperative to your success. The key to building a strong brand is:

Starting with a strong strategy
A solid Brand Strategy defines your company identity and provides mechanisms for enhancing and measuring the impact of that identity on your market, customers, partners, and employees. Your Brand Strategy should include:

  • Defining and documenting the brand position and promise
  • Arriving at brand traits and values
  • Creating your brand story
  • Designing your brand elements such as a logo, letterhead, business cards, and other corporate identity materials
  • Outlining your brand plan, summarizing how all the defined elements will be used and strengthened through your interactions with customers and employees

Leading from the top down
Once you have a strong strategy in place, you must roll it out to your organization with great fanfare and continue to live it from the top down. From the CEO to the receptionist, there must be strong adherence to the strategy you’ve developed, or all of your work to develop the strategy is for naught.

Furthermore, every department should be asked how they would tangibly reinforce the brand strategy (promise, traits, and position). Your brand, and how you reinforce it, should then be summarized in a Brand Book that every employee has a copy of for reference. This is an important step to LIVING the brand.

Auditing for compliance regularly
As you infiltrate your brand strategy throughout your organization (from operations to sales and marketing), you must make a point of auditing for compliance regularly. Brand ambassadors should be auditing the company’s communications and activities for brand compliance all of the time, but an official task to review how you’re doing will keep you on the right track to brand success.

Don’t forget to include your customers in this audit. It can be quite interesting (or horrifying) to see the difference between what you think the reality is and the true perception your customers have of your brand. Use a client satisfaction poll once a year to help you validate where you’re at in the eyes of your customers, partners, and employees and what improvements you need to make to better reflect the brand strategy you’re following!

Article Posted At: http://www.gtms-inc.com/tip_whatsbrand.htm