By Irit Keren
What is a brand?
A brand is an entity that describes a company, product, service, place or individual. Consumers attach beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and clear concepts to the ‘character and personality’ of a brand. The brand values help consumers make purchasing decisions, and this is the reason why many companies invest a great deal of resources in branding and in maintaining their brand’s values. Having said that, the following common mistakes may pour the investment in a new brand down the drain, kill an existing brand or create yet another ‘anonymous’ brand.
What an amazing logo! Now we have a brand.
A logo, a name and a slogan are only individual components in the entire branding process. Branding is a language, and the more command we have of that language, the more we’ll be able to ‘talk’ more accurately, more in depth and to more people. Branding is a continuous process that never stops and needs constant allocation of resources and development.
Here, here and here… Make the logo narrower cause there’s no room.
Creating consistent textual and visual messages and repeating them at every touch point with consumers are the oxygen of a brand and a precondition for a brand to be etched in their minds. This does not mean that you cannot make adaptations to the format. But you have to do that professionally; otherwise, the brand will literally start to lose shape and form.
Make sure that you use your brand’s values and its visual expression at any touch point. Use it internally within the company as a force that drives employees to identify with the brand, be proud of it and leverage it when they come in touch with the target audience. A good brand language is one that prepares an infrastructure that can be deployed in different ways in many different platforms, that arouses nonstop interest and curiosity. The brand should speak the language of the target audience and touch them again and again and again.
Employees? What do they understand about branding?
Employees are the best ambassadors of your brand. Share with them the creation and development of the brand and reward them for delivering the message. Branding is a business process designed by a company’s leaders; it defines the company’s leadership, common objectives, identification with its activities, inspiration and energy. This is why branding is an inward and outward process. It is as important in B2C as it is in B2B.
A brand is not only for products.
A brand is a concept, a language, and it has to be right for a tangible product as well as for an idea or patent that leads to a startup or B2B company that offers consulting or content services. Everybody needs branding. A good branding process is successful in clearly and unambiguously ‘packaging’ your marketing promise and conveying its marketing messages attractively and clearly
Deliver to your customers the potential of your brand’s promise but never promise what you cannot deliver. Your brand promises rapid service? Don’t keep your customers waiting. It offers high nutritional values? Make sure that the results of lab tests do not contradict that statement. Remember, a gap between the promise and reality will quickly be filled with angry posts in social media that will cause you grave damage.
Maybe it’s time to rebrand?
A sought-after brand represents something your target audience craves and which they don’t get from the competition. However, and usually in times of uncertainty, there are companies that decide to change their media identity hoping that this will ‘magically’ improve their financial standing or competitive edge.
Rebranding is not always necessary, may confuse those customers who are already connected to the brand and its story, and cause them to churn. On the other hand, revamping the brand can be helpful for brands that became antiquated and fail to adapt to current marketing offerings. Most importantly, when you rebrand, make sure you maintain your brand’s assets and don’t sacrifice what doesn’t need sacrifice.
Rebranding is expensive.
It’s all about cost/benefit ratio. Professional branding is a strategic process that requires resources, efforts and focus. A brand that is managed for you professionally and consistently will continue to generate value for your company. On the other hand, amateurish or short-term branding strategies will end up costing you more and will not derive any benefits.
Differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.
True, there are ‘me too’ brand strategies that look like the leading brand. In principle, however, when you enter the competitive arena, make sure to be accurate in defining your DNA. How are you different or unique? How are your language and look and feel distinguishable and provide unique and clear value for those customers who choose it? How can they understand the differences between similar companies in the same field?
Be part of the process.
Branding is a crucial process in the life of a company. Upper management should therefore be an integral part of the process. A good strategy translates all business insights into a single clear language. You don’t want to give this task to one of your employees and disengage from the process. Rather, choose a great team that will know how to make the best of it and, most importantly, introduce it internally to the organization while advertising it outside, just like you do when you create your brand’s vision.
Answer the Gung-Ho questions.
Do you want to know if it’s time for you to rebrand?
Read this article and answer its questions before you give it more thought.