What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about branding? Is it a logo, culture, or what? For most consumers, a brand conveys a particular message such as an emotional feeling, or it drives a particular action such as motivation.
While marketers know how important a brand is, it’s often harder for other management to see its significance. However, according to Steve McKee, author and president of McKee Wallwork & Company, the brand is the most valuable asset a company owns. In his new book, Power Branding, he takes it even a step further and says that, unlike other assets such as machines, buildings and roofs, brands never depreciate.
Interesting perspective, isn’t’ it? Yes, it’s true that a brand can be damaged, but it doesn’t crumble over time as a result of weather. In a nutshell, companies need to view their brand and reputation as equals. For example, if you’re a trustworthy person, you have a trusted brand. Also, the local family-owned pharmacy that’s been supplying the community with medicinal needs for the past 50 years likely has a trusted reputation. It may have switched owners, but the store’s reputation hasn’t changed.
How does a company build this kind of brand? For one, it doesn’t happen overnight. But, it starts with asking a number of questions:
– Does your branding match your products and services?
– How important is your company’s name?
– Are you listening to your customers?
– Do your branding decisions align with your business goals?
– Can your customers find you?
– Are you accessible?
– Is your marketing message consistent?
As you contemplate these questions, understand that good branding is more than a sell or service transaction. Your brand is what people, including clients, remember about you. What do you want to be known for? Do these areas match? If not, you have work to do.
Develop a brand voice
If you’re not where you want to be, then start communicating toward your new goal. This means that all communication whether written or verbal convey the language you want to send out. The same idea also goes for imagery. For instance, if you’re going for a young, hip vibe and your logo contains an old-school clock, you probably need to do a revamp. Your logo is typically the face of your brand and often sets the stage for everything else. If it’s not right, then it may stop customers before even getting to your tagline.
As you develop this voice, be careful to be consistent across the board with the appearance of employees, business, and even email signatures – it all plays a role in shaping your company’s overall brand.
Promote your brand
When you first hear or see the word promotion, most people automatically think an advertisement investment. But, that isn’t necessarily what this means. Once you develop your voice, you have to distribute it. Enable your staff to be brand advocates. Keep them educated and informed, so that they can interact as and with this voice effectively.
Be active across your social media channels and on your website with this voice. If budget allows, promoted posts can only help your cause. The important thing, however, is just making sure your audience knows it’s you and can hear this voice.
Keep your brand’s momentum going strong
Now that you’re out there with this reputation, you have to live up to it. Consistency is key. If you’re going for safety if you’re a contractor or credibility if you’re a bank, you’d better make sure that you always live up to the highest standard. The promotions may only last a week or a month, but you will always be in the spotlight in terms of your customers and potential customers. You want this brand to stick. The good news is the longer you strive to meet these expectations, the stronger it becomes. It is then that the brand turns into one of those assets that doesn’t depreciate.
Display image courtesy of 1to1media.com.