Yes, you’ve all heard it by now: a brand. The word has become one of the modern day clichés because it is so often misunderstood.
Some of the most common misconceptions are that a brand is your logo or that your marketing efforts are your branding. Not true. Well, not quite true. A brand is not what people see; It is why people come to you as a service or product provider because of they way they feel–your brand is what people think of you.
That doesn’t mean that your logo or your marketing strategy is not part of it. Think of your logo and marketing collateral as your clothes and branding as your personality. A logo can easily do damage to your business image if it is not well-thought through and not based on comprehensive research of your competition and target market. You first need to figure out who you are before you hire a brand designer to create that image that represents everything your company stands for.
So let’s say you want to be the next talk of the town. Here are some of the basic functions a strong and lasting brand must follow:
- Navigation: Brands help consumers choose from a bewildering array of choices
- Reassurance: Brands communicate the intrinsic quality of the product or service and reassure customers that they have made the right choice.
- Engagement: Brands use distinctive imagery, language, and associations to encourage customers to identify with the brand.
(source: David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance)
Now that you know how to use your brand wisely, you must get to work on it within your company. How many times have you heard people say, “You won’t know it unless you try it.” Well... it is true here, too. Your brand will not be successful unless you and your team live it. Brands are organization-wide living assets and must be fulfilled throughout the organization. From your receptionist to the CEO, the brand must be enforced at every level and become your organization’s culture. And when you think you’ve done a good job, do it all over again.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” I dare you to conquer!