When you think of your brand, what comes to mind?
Business owners sometimes get stuck thinking that their brand is just their logo, or tagline, or the colours of their visual assets. But visual branding is only one component.
Your brand should be the heart of your business – the essence that drives everything you create, do, say and the way your business behaves. You’re brand is not only about what you do but importantly who you are, how you do it and why.
It’s also important to remember that your brand is not just what YOU say it is. It’s also a result of what your customers and stakeholders are saying about you.
It’s all very well for your marketing team to decide that your brand is one thing, but unless it is carried across every aspect of your business, and delivers an experience for your customer that reflects that brand, it won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.
Because from your customers’ perspective, their perception of you (i.e. your brand) is determined by the sum total of their interactions with you and your business. It doesn’t matter if your marketing plan says your brand is approachable, friendly and down-to-earth, if your customer has a bad experience with a grumpy, rude and unhelpful staff member, their opinion will not match your intention.
So it’s worth investing the time into really designing and developing your brand. Some key questions to ask:
- What are our business’ vision and values, and how can these be reflected in our brand?
- Who is our target audience?
- What qualities and values does this target audience consider important (especially in relation to your product or service)?
- What do we want our business to represent, and how will it stand out from the crowd of our competitors?
- What personality and tone will build trust and engagement with that audience?
- How do we want our customers to FEEL when they buy our product or service, or interact with our business?
With the answers to these questions, you can develop the brand values, personality and tone that will filter throughout your business.
A solid, well-designed brand can become the blueprint for your whole operation. It should be reflected in, and guide, decisions relating to:
- The development of your products or services
- The way you deliver your products or services
- Marketing and communications
- Visual assets and imagery
- Employee relations
- Customer Service
- Community Relations
- …in short – all aspects of your business.
And when it is well documented, it becomes a “bible” to brief new employees, contractors and other service providers (e.g. graphic designers, web developers). It becomes a one-stop shop for information about the CORE of your business.
ACTION: Do you have your brand developed and documented? It’s worth reviewing to make sure it is still relevant for your business. And if you don’t – answer the questions above and start developing your brand strategy.