Creating a brand, or rethinking an existing band, is a major decision. To make it an effective one, make sure you leave these two key words in the equation – create and think. Here are a few points you really should consider before you dive into the process.
Review my foundational docu-whats?
You wouldn’t build a house or start a major renovation without blueprints, would you? Brand building works the same way. You need to have your foundational documents in place so that you can align everything your brand says and does with these core messages. In terms of branding, foundational documents refer to:
If you don’t have these foundational documents – or worse, don’t agree with them – stop everything you’re doing in terms of branding and nail down these statements. Foundational documents describe your brand’s reason for existing and showcase how it is unique in the marketplace. If you’re not jiving with your foundational documents, don’t panic. Questioning their relevancy is actually a really good practice if you’re developing a brand or considering a complete brand overhaul, and there are many tools and tactics (and uber-insightful agencies…hint, hint) that can help guide foundational document development and lead you to your true brand essence.
Make it matter
Once your foundational documents are in place, it’s tempting to dive into logo development, key messaging, business cards – the whole shebang. But a brand is not a logo or a set of visual elements. It’s not a spot-on tagline or new website. A brand is the perception of your organization in the mind of your customers. And that perception is hugely influenced by emotion. How can you control the emotions of people you’ve likely never met? Before you rent the mediocre early-2000s rom-com What Women Want, hear me out: you already have some powerful tools at your disposal. That integral human connection can come from your:
- Physical space
- Case studies and testimonials
- Great storytelling
I like my brands the way I like my coffee – filtered
OK, so you can’t actually force people to have the emotional reaction you want them to have when they come in contact with you brand. But you sure can influence it. How? By sending all communication touch points – content, visuals, even live interactions – through a brand filter. This ensures that you’re applying a process mentality to brand consistency, giving you a system for evaluating each touch point in terms of brand voice, look and values before it reaches your target audience.
A house divided cannot differentiate in the market
Does your organization have multiple brands? Are they competing with each other? Fear not, you don’t need to change your brand’s Facebook status to, “It’s complicated.” You just need to develop a lasting, formulaic strategy to support short- and long-term business goals in terms of how you go to market and in case of acquisitions or sell-offs. Three common approaches are:
- Branded house, such as FedEx services
- House of brands, such as the Proctor & Gamble family
- Endorsed brands, such as the Marriott brands
Regardless of which choice feels right for your organization, each brand must be based on a core competency and key differentiator. This ensures that all of your brands have an authentic place in the market and – if done right – in the minds and hearts of your customers.
So, quick recap: Get your story straight. Make it awesome. Filter the junk. Replicate for each brand. Questions? Hit me up. We’ll talk.