Making your brand work
Brand – is your logo, name, taste, colours, shape and overall attempt at standing out from your competition, plus the public perception of you, your product or service. It is what people say when you are not in the room.
Brand identity – this is how you or your company wants to be seen, the picture you try to paint, the menus of promises you make, the picture in your head.
Brand image – How the consumer actually perceives or sees the brand, feels about you and reacts to what you put out.
Brand challenge – is to narrow the gap between Brand identity and Brand image, to bridge aspirational brand with reality or perception, to manage your promises with customer expectations.
Brand Logo – the Golden Arches or the swoosh, the apple or the crocodile, the puma, the K or the F – you know what they are. How important is it to have a good logo or look ? What is it worth in the short run or long run. How much importance does it get for start ups and why do so many companies regret the lack of investment in this area. A mature company will often say start with the Brand and work from there, define the company at the start and then make it real.
Brand visuals – Good visual brand recognition is a very expensive exercise, but once achieved can make a huge difference.
Brand awareness – CocaCola – A senior exec at Coke once said that if the company lost all its production capabilities in a freak event, that the company would survive, but if the public lost its memory and started again, that Coke would perish. Having built the brand over so many years, they continually engage and entertain, reaching out with novel and seasonal ideas, to maintain the connection. They rarely mess with the look, the colours, the shapes or the text of what is a wonderful world brand, which is Top of Mind when one thinks about a soft drink.
Brand recognition – I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby Kerr when he visited and he spoke about the Insomnia Brand, explaining that they developed it inhouse with a bit of help from their builder. All the examples above have it, but this is not an easy thing to do, it takes time, investment, consistency and dedication. The Logo now has 80% recognition and if you remove the wings the number is still very high. To have 80% of the population recognise the brand is incredible, but what is important is what the public expect from the brand, great coffee, friendly service, good value and innovation. A sharp logo will not make up for poor product or service. A sharp logo or brand signpost will guarantee quality of product or service.
Brand size and parity – many very successful big brands still compete for space and sales. Apple and Dell, Nike and Adidas etc.
Brand family – Achieving brand recognition for a label can allow for the development of a suite of products, in the way that Coke sells more than one drink or Nivea sells more than one cream, Gillette more than a blade or Ford more than a Ka.
Brand reality & Connecting with your marketplace – Try to create trust, to have consumers believe that you, offer value, maybe not something cheap, just good value. People should be happy to pay the difference between your cost price and your selling price. If you deliver exactly as you promise, you will do really well, but whilst it sounds very simple, in reality, it is a not an easy task to deliver in a consistent fashion.
Be real, be original, be seen, reach out in a human way to touch or communicate in all trades, transactions, discussions in physical and social media.
Build the brand, know where you are going and try to influence its growth, but remember that it is the consumer who really dictates the brands success, because their experience will decide what they say about you. This perception will be reflected in how and whether they recommend you or not. Even when you do good work, it may not be appreciated, so that customer may noy feel that you delivered. Do not get angry, get feedback, get better at communicating and get branding. It does not happen overnight, so plan and go to work at it, measure and review – If nothing else, your own brand will help differentiate you from your competition.
Your Brand is the experience you deliver to your customers, so talk to them via Social and ask for feedback, listen, respond and react. Allow the customers who do use Social to talk to you and always respond, communicate and help build relationships. If you choose to use any Social channels, then do work them, rather than just have a presence that does not work for your audience, that feels like a closed door or a business support telephone line that just rings out.
- Logo – Invest in your Logo, your look and feel – pay for genius, originality or taste. Accept that a person with a degree in Graphic Design and 10 years commercial experience is better at this than you.
- Marketing – get some input or advice from someone who has the Marketing qualification and experience to help you choose a logo and look.
- Consumers – ask their advice, start life by including the potential customers.
- Start – pick something, move on it and innovate until you get the right look, then build on it continually to build a brand.
- Communicate – get stuck in with Social media competitions, activities and connections, capture feedback, ask customers what they want and just deliver it – simple ! If you keep it simple and deliver on your promise, you will succeed.
The Brand Plan
- Firstly start with your plan or strategy, before
- Secondly you look at the identity as in logo, colours etc, then
- Thirdly develop your plan and
- Fourthly put it in to action, then lastly or
- Fifthly measure the success and tweak the plan continuously