Your brand is not just a personality that you throw out into the market with fingers crossed. It’s your company’s promise to its customers. It tells them, through the expression of the brand, what they can expect from you.
Your brand is also a look – but you have to be able to pull it off. It’s not an expression of who you want to be, rather who you authentically can be.
That’s why the first place to look, when helping a business define a brand, is not at the product or service itself, but within the company.
It’s there in the messy desk drawers and in the internal office memos. It’s hiding under the unpaid invoices and in the smell that greets visitors to your premises. It’s in the sound of your voice when you pick up the phone and the turnaround time for managing a customer’s complaint. It’s in the lowered eyes when the manager passes by, and in the structure and frequency of your staff meetings.
It’s going to take a detective to find the heart of your brand. Or a cleaner!
The Brand Interventionist Recommends.
In order to ensure you live up to your promise and authentically wear “the look”, your company needs to have its house in order. Departments need to communicate, objectives must be aligned, channels and customer touch-points have to line-up with the promise and be consistent.
The question is, can all that even happen?
I use a process I call a Brand Evaluation, where I analyze a business against the promise it should be making to its customers. I have been using this process, under different guises, for 5 years. It involves asking a cross section of staff a variety of questions that challenge them to think about their business and their brand in new ways. This process can be done by email or in person. My experience has been that the in-person session, which takes 3 or 4 hours, is worth it for the observational nuggets alone.
I ask the tough questions during these sessions and dig hard for the dirt.
I learn what sorts of promises a company can support currently, what it’s getting hung up on, and what needs to change in order to offer a different level of promise to the customer.
Once the workshop is complete, I have the DNA for a new brand articulation. I then move on to researching the competition, interviewing potential and current customers, and mapping out the opportunities. Now I have everything I need to flesh out a brand personality and arrive at a Strategic Vision.
This vision is not just the essence of a brand’s personality. It should also drive internal behaviour and give a company something to measure all the key indicators against: their internal processes and communications, customer touch-points and business culture.
Now, you’ve got yourself an authentic, consistent brand personality to unleash on your market.
And that, my friend, is elementary.
(Image courtesy Deliver Magazine)