We all have perception about other brands, whether its high street names, corporates, local businesses, banks, energy suppliers… some will be because we’ve been or aspire to be a customer and other perceptions will have been influenced by the media plus other people’s experiences. But what about our perception of our own brand and what’s the perception of our brand held by clients, potential clients, business partners, contacts or even our competitors?
People have the biggest influence on where a brand is positioned, even in a B2B environment; and that’s because every time its people dealing with people and people buying from people so in essence it’s P2P.
So where’s your brand? What’s people’s perception and how well is it known?
Jacqui Wilkins from Visual Identity advocates doing a full brand audit – really analysing your brand’s health using the good old fashioned, but effective, SWOT analysis. Considering what does the brand stand for, what are the key characteristics of the brand and how the brand is communicated. Every external touch point for your brand should be on message, on brand… absolute consistency with what and who you are as a business and therefore a brand. And those touch points are very diverse from websites and business cards to how people handle themselves on the phone when representing the business including how the answer the phone and how the end the call.
Jacqui also points to a report that states on average ‘companies who believe in their brand are typically 12% more profitable and 18% ore productive than those who don’t’. So perhaps you should ask yourself do you really believe in your brand or the brand of the people you work for or with? If not then I’d suggest there’s a significant issue to be addressed before you go any further.
As the Business Locksmith it’s a brand that’s gaining recognition locally but also by using the same format each week for the business tips people tell me they look out for them – even if that’s the only bit of branding they really see from me as they aren’t people and or businesses I interact with in person on a regular basis. I’m not saying its perfect by any means but I’m very consistent with touch points. Authenticity is very much part of the Business Locksmith brand, as you’ll know from these blogs, and so if any of the touch points are off kilter re authenticity then Adam Naisbitt who’s company manages my social media will always raise this to my attention so that things remain on brand. Even the hand drawn picture I use shows me with a coloured streak in my hair and that’s become part of my brand…. People check out what colour it is this time around…
Many people think brand is just about colours and logos and perhaps a certain style but its way more than that. The brand is who you are, who you want to be, and what people perceive you to be. It encompasses the vision, mission, the why, values, attitudes and passion.
People often get carried away with developing different brands for different products but it’s really important to get the main brand for the main product or service established before developing a series of sub brands. Not to do so can be very costly especially for start-ups and young businesses. By all means protect the URL for a sub brand but don’t spend lots of money developing those until the business, and therefore, the main brand is well established.
And just in the way that you’d think very carefully about how a child’s name would be written, including shortening the name or initials etc. do the same with your brand name… play with all the permutations…. And check out what the name may mean in other countries we’ve all seen those howlers on TV and Facebook… don’t make that same mistake. Do the same with the logo and images… how things look on the website etc. Not to do so could be a very costly mistake.
The guys at Beloved Brands have published a great list of things that advertisements (ads) should do – and by advertisement they don’t just mean a TV ad or a billboard:
- An ad should set you apart so that the storytelling and the promise separate the ad, and therefore the brand, from the clutter of people’s minds. It starts with the creative that feels different and makes the brand seem different.
- The ad should be focused for all of these different aspects – its target market, the strategy, the message, the communications idea and the media used.
- Keep the ideas and the communication simple, remember it’s not what’s said but what’s heard. Don’t shout too many messages in one ad: if you can’t yell out the message with one breath then its too long and the idea too complex.
- Good selling idea – big ideas help us to be consistent and align our thinking to the big ideas.
- Drive engagement – consumer (customers, clients in business and personal life) see approximately 5,000, 000 ads a day and only engage with a handful. You and I only engage with a handful; so if the ad doesn’t capture our attention then we don’t remember the brand name or the message or anything else and probably won’t buy.
- Let the visuals do the talking – visuals capture the attention and link it to your brand whilst communicating your message. It’s the ‘see to say’ principle, which helps consumers’ brains engage, follow and remember.
- See the solution not the product or service – time and time again we talk about features and benefits. People use brands to solve a problem and guess what… they prefer not to have the problem than have to buy the brand. Now clearly for some things its not the same type of problem e.g. fashion accessories but there’s still something underlying… its very useful to have shoes, handbags, watches and so on so how do you get that over or get over that in the ad?
- Be relevant to the consumer – beloved brands find a way to matter to those who care… they make the right promise and have the right communication of that promise.
- Have ads based on consumer insight – insights not facts about the brands allow you to connect with consumers and turn the ad into a conversation. Something the consumer already knows but didn’t realise that others felt the same way – if they see themselves in that situation then they are likely to think that brand is for them.
- Tell the story behind the brand – some businesses/brands do this very well and others simply gloss over it. Talk about the brand’s purpose, why it was started, the why of the brand, that you hope it really does help people, why do you get up in the morning? Remember – people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it.
So when was the last time that you did a SWOT analysis and a health check on your brand?
What have you got in place to make sure that every touch point is on brand?
And do your ads measure up to the top 10?
I think I may have some more work to do on mine…
And if you are interested in seeing how far reaching branding has been in every day lives check out this article from Naomi Klein… it has some interesting perspectives