Your brand is not a logo or a look that you toss out into the market with fingers crossed. It’s your company’s promise. It tells the world what it can expect from you on a consistent basis.
Your brand promise might be experiential. You might promise “innovation” or “simplicity” or “to treat your customers like family”. (Hopefully that doesn’t mean shouting matches at the table!)
It could be functional. You might promise to “save time” or “use less energy”.
Whatever your brand promise might be, it has to be authentic to your business offering and relevant to your customers.
Even more importantly, it has to be achievable.
Part snoop. Part janitor.
Because of that last requirement, the first place I look, when helping a business uncover its brand promise, is not at the product or service itself, but within the company. That’s where the promise lies.
It’s there in the messy desk drawers. 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 clarity of your sales pitch, and in the structure and frequency of your staff meetings.
All those things tell a story about the business’s ability to deliver against its promise to the world.
There is a closet detective in every good branding specialist. And a cleaner!
In order to ensure you live up to your promise, your company needs to have its house in order, and that usually means some things have to improve.
To figure that part out, I use a process I call the Brand Evaluation, where I analyze a business against the promise it should be making to its customers. This 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.
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.
The DNA for the look of your brand
Once the workshop is complete, I have the groundwork for an achievable brand promise – and the DNA for the physical look and feel of your brand.
But your brand promise is not just for your customers. It should also drive internal behaviour and give a company something to measure their operations against: their internal processes and communications, their customer touch-points and the business culture.
Then you’ve got yourself an authentic, consistent and achievable brand to unleash on the world.