Like Guy Maddin's film says, businesses should always have Brand Upon the Brain!
What does it take to build a brand and how can a business leverage that to turn into customers and sales? The concept of a brand sounds simple, but when it comes down to it there are a lot of businesses who haven't quite thought about the very basics of what it takes to have a successful identity. Since this is one of the most critical "touchpoints" a business could have with their customer, it is important to nail it. Let's go back to basics and see what it takes to make your brand as strong as it can be.
So what is a brand? Is it your logo? Is it the colours you use on your website and other marketing materials? Is it the way you and your employees deal with your customers?
It’s all of those things and probably many more.
Whether your business is brand new or has been around for a hundred years it has an identity. What goes into creating that identity is what is at the core of its brand. Let’s look at some things that make up your brand.
Company name and logo – This can be as simple as your name and a graphic you designed on your own or as detailed as a professionally researched and created name and logo. It is the first thing that a potential customer will see and hear so make sure you pick one that makes sense, is simple and is memorable.
Communication with outsiders – There are many ways you communicate to the outside world, from traditional methods like using the phone and advertising in publications to the social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They are powerful methods that contribute to shaping your brand. Here are some examples:
- Phone calls – As personal as it can get without being face-to-face.
- Email – Also personal but can reach a larger audience more quickly.
- Website – This announces you to the world, and with smartphones and tablets you are always open for business.
- Print advertising – This is a traditional form of advertising and includes ads in newspapers, magazines, and other publications.
- Digital media – Anything you can do on your computer or smartphone can be grouped into "digital." Banner advertising, Google Ads, social networking sites, email, texting and instant messaging are some key elements.
Company culture – The way you communicate with those outsiders is determined by how the company is built. This isn't your physical location or the type of office/store you have, but the culture of your company and what the business stands for. Have you identified that yet? If not, take a good look at the current culture of your business and what you would want it to be in a dream world. You can live that dream, but culture is one of the hardest elements of a brand to achieve. Be consistent with the way you deal with your employees so they are consistent with the way they deal with your customers. As a leader you will be an example of how you want to run the business and deal with suppliers, customers and colleagues.
Value proposition – this is what you offer your customers as a goods or service provider. Low price. High quality. Excellent service. You have a choice to make in which of these you deliver. Find the one(s) that you do best and focus on them. Remember that these values can help define what your company can do for your customers. Prove it to the market and your brand will help your customer base grow through referrals and positive sentiment both online and offline.
So a brand isn’t simply your name and logo. Everything you do in your business goes into creating credibility and building your identity. Work hard at defining it, promoting it and living it every day you're in business.
We want to hear about your brand journey. Tell us how you created your own unique business brand and what challenges you had to overcome to build your corporate identity.