‘You’ doesn’t just mean you as the business owner but all those who work for you on an employed, contract or freelance basis.
Your brand is your company’s personality and values that are represented by you and your colleagues in all that you do and say. It’s the promises you make and deliver (or not!).
Your brand is the perception and associations your customers and suppliers have of your business. It’s what they think when they’re presented with a visual representation of your business or your company name is mentioned in a conversation.
Think of Nike, Apple, Virgin, BP, Unilever or HSBC. What comes to your mind? How would you describe what each of them do, how well they do it and what they stand for? What’s your perception of them and what has or would influence this perception?
A logo has meaning
Each of their logos is a globally recognised icon. That icon represents something, it has meaning and that meaning is communicated to you whenever you see the logo and its associated brand colours, typography, use of imagery and so on.
Each company’s brand identity is consistent and visible across all communication channels. Whether you’re looking at their website on a desktop PC, mobile or tablet, whether you’re on one of their social media sites, reading a piece of their printed corporate literature, in one of their shops, visiting their stand at an exhibition or being served by a member of staff, you’ll be exposed to their tangible brand identity.
Inherent within this brand identity is the company’s not-so-tangible values and beliefs, translated to you via the behaviour of any company representative you speak to or communicate with, either in person or virtually.
Whether you’re communicating with customer services, a member of the accounts department, a sales representative or the CEO, their tone of voice, personality, knowledge, understanding and ability to help and engage with you is no less important in influencing how you, as a customer, view and value a brand.
It’s the difference between success and failure
Every time your customers encounter or engage with your company, their perception and experience of your brand either:
- Further reinforces their loyalty and advocacy
- Maintains the existing status quo with neither a positive nor a negative impact or,
- Steers them away from you towards one of your competitors
The manner in which they are spoken to, how valued and important (or not!) they are made to feel, how easy it is for them to accomplish what it is they set out to achieve, what extra, unexpected benefit did they get out of their encounter with your company; it all has a bearing on their experience.
The more positive the experience, the more likely they’ll be a repeat customer and the more likely they are to recommend you to a friend or colleague.
For large organisations, there are dedicated teams who carefully craft and embed what the brand means and stands for into the company’s culture.
Even though smaller companies don’t have the same resources, it’s no excuse not to spend the time to ensure that what you believe in, and why, is visible not just in your tangible brand identity but in the less tangible conduct of all those who you work with too.
Branding is not just about what your logo looks like
If you were to ask a random selection of your customers, potential customers, suppliers and industry peers, how would they describe your company? Is that how you want your brand to be thought of?
If you’re looking to change what you now consider to be an outdated logo and brand identity, make sure it’s not more than just your logo that needs refreshing.
Before you start any rebranding project, it’s vital that you and all those involved in the rebrand project are clear from the outset what it is that this ‘rebrand’ is set out to achieve.
Do you know how your customers and suppliers describe your company’s brand?