What is branding? And why are we told it’s so important to our companies?
Well… a brand is so much more than simply an eye-catching logo or punchy slogan. The role of a brand isn’t simply to identify a product or organisation, but to transform opinion, create conversation and change behaviour by giving the audience a sense of clarity and choice around the product or service. In short, your brand is the way your customers perceive you.
When you think about your brand you should consider the entire customer experience - from your logo, your website, the way you speak, the things you say, your social presence, even the way you answer the phone at the office. All of these elements contribute to the success of your brand.
Here are our top tips for whipping your brand into shape:
1. Your business DNA
What are your values? What do you stand for? Do you have a set of unique selling points (USPs) to set you apart from the crowd? Write them down! These will help you get your brand story off the starting blocks.
It’s important to remember that your brand represents you — you, your staff and your marketing materials ARE the brand!
2. Find your voice
The way you speak is as important as what you say. It tells customers who you are and what makes you different, plus it helps to build trust.
If the kind of customer you want to attract are business people, your tone might be authoritative and professional, yet if you’re targeting teenagers, then it should probably be more light-hearted and quirky.
When customers identify a tone of voice, they’re also identifying a personality. They start to form an image of a person or company based on the tone of voice you present. By doing this, customers feel like they’re getting to know the brand or company, bringing with it a sense of trust and familiarity.
Be sure to integrate your brand into every aspect of the business — it should be highly visible and reflected in everything that your customer can see, read, and hear.
For example, if a client walks into your office your brand image should be on display both in the environment and through personal interactions with your people. Your staff should emulate your brand values. In fact, the pitch, the meeting, the video in the waiting room, even the farewell should ooze your brand!
4. Be consistent
A brand that’s consistent and clear puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
You can do this by creating a clear detailed set of brand guidelines and by sticking with one agency for producing all of your marketing needs. The more an agency knows and ‘gets’ your brand, the more confidence you will have in them delivering consistency with your branding.
5. Be your brand’s biggest advocate
Once you build a brand that works, you (and your employees) are the best advocates to market your brand and keep the brand game strong!
Keep an eye on materials that are going out to ensure they are consistent with your brand guide.
No one knows your brand better than you, so it’s up to you to spread the word. Give your loyal customers a voice. Encourage them to post reviews or share your content.
A well-managed brand connects with its audience on both an emotional and functional level — linking the head to the heart.
In our opinion, your brand is one of your core business assets and should demand the attention it deserves. It’s essential to create a consistent look, voice and message (and stick to it!) as these are the foundations on which to build successful engagement tools and campaigns.