The concept of branding has been trendy for a long time. With all the buzz, it’s important to understand exactly what this means to you, your company and everybody your company “touches.” Many people associate a brand with a logo, tagline, colors, and web design. While that’s part of your brand image, it’s clearly not the whole story. A brand represents the impression that you leave with customers, prospects and business partners. It infiltratesevery contact point and requires every employee who influences stakeholders’ perceptions to be fully engaged and committed to delivering on your brand promise.
Are you confident that you‘re communicating your value and therefore, your brand, effectively to your customers and prospects? Much of business failure can be traced to the way companies communicate – or fail to communicate – effectively with their stakeholders, including customers, prospects, partners, employees and anybody else who has an interest in your business. Whether you’re planning a new business, have just launched it, or have been running it for a while, it’s critical to avoid the most common pitfalls companies make communicating their value, brand and solution. In this article, we discuss branding as a tool and provide tips for you to brand your company as well as why you should consider branding yourself.
Consistently Communicate Your Brand. Every company and individual has a brand (this isn’t just for the 100 pound gorillas of the business world). Do you know your company’s brand? This is the message that you are communicating on a regular basis to customers and prospects…it’s the impression you leave with every customer and potential customer…..even if it’s not the statement that you want to make. Your brand is communicated through every customer touchpoint – from phone to the internet and via email, direct mail, advertising and every other opportunity you have to reach out to your target market(s). Your brand is communicated by every employee in your firm from the CEO and sales team right down to your department directors and shop floor managers. Your brand is what sets you apart from others in your industry and makes you unique.
A brand can only succeed and achieve its goal of supporting growth if it satisfies three key criteria. If any of these factors fail, you risk major malfunctions to your business and bottom line:
- Leaves a positive impression
- Is aligned with your customers’ needs and
- Is delivered consistently, as promised.
Why Do People Buy A ‘Brand’ Any Way? There are many reasons for buying a brand including the fact that the brand identity:
- Fulfills a short or long term need
- Has an emotional connection
- Has a perceived Price/Quality relationship
- Is “hot”—meaning the brand is en vogue
- Represents who you are or want to be aligned with
Let’s look at an example of how a brand has succeeded in achieving these goals. FedEx is a world leader in package delivery. Their brand and philosophy are simple—when it absolutely has to there overnight, FedEx will do it. Every employee knows and understands this. But beyond understanding this, they believe in the brand mission and understand their role in making this happen. Every employee, regardless of their position, knows the brand’s philosophy and works to deliver on its promise. This is the only way a company can live its brand.
There are several questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you’re delivering a brand value that will generate profit, including:
- Is the message you are conveying consistent?
- Is this the message you want to be heard and experienced?
- Do your customers understand how you differentiate yourself from ‘like’ organizations?
- Do they experience your brand in the manner that you want them to?
- Does reality align with your promise?
- Finally, is your brand what your customers seek and truly value the most?