What is your brand? If you are asked that question, how do you respond? Do you describe your logo and designated colors? Maybe you talk about it in terms of descriptive adjectives, similar to how you’d describe a friend or trusted colleague? Or maybe you reply with the purpose of your business?
To understand your brand, you first must have a definition of brand. Robin Fisher Roffner, CEO of Big Fish Marketing, says a business has a brand if there is meaning beyond the name, forming a relationship with the customer/client. Without meaning, the brand is in build mode. To build the brand, the business must have a firm understanding of its mission or purpose. Why does your business exist?
By replacing the word “brand” with “relationship,” it becomes easier to understand that your brand is certainly more than a graphic logo and the colors you’ve selected to represent your business.
How do you build a relationship with the customers/clients your business serves?
Having a mission or purpose statement is a good place to start. Additionally your business needs to have characteristics that are attractive to the people you want to work with – and those characteristics are often human characteristics. Is your brand trusting, fun, empathetic, innovative, solution-oriented? Is your business playful or a button-up professional?
Think of your brand as a person and work on describing that individual and what a relationship with he/she would look like. How would your brand be described? An exercise I use with my clients when evaluating their branding is to ask them to describe their business with adjectives or personal traits. This question can be hard to answer – often because there are deeply personal ties to the purpose and mission of the business (their brand). How would your employees answer this question? What about your clients/customers? Think of your brand as a relationship with a trusted friend or colleague – a relationship you want to continue, to nurture, and to stand the test of time.
So if a brand isn’t your logo, colors, and fonts, what is it?
A brand represents the whole package – logo, color, and fonts are one part of the package – but it also includes a promise, mission, voice, vision, service delivery and an understanding of who are your clients. In today’s service-oriented society, service is rapidly increasing in importance.
Brand Promise is how the business fulfills the expectations, meets the needs and builds a customer for life. It defines what your customer/client can expect from your brand every day.
Brand Vision is a look to your future – it sets the parameters to measure success.
Target Customer is who is most likely to use your product or service.
Brand Positioning is the place your brand owns in the mind of the target audience. This position may represent your price point and quality. It represents who you are and who you are NOT.
Brand Statement & Tagline summarizes the who, what and how of the brand in a single phrase or statement.
Brand Drivers are characteristics and emotional benefits of the product or service that differentiate you from your competition.
Brand Character defines the brand in human terms. Character shapes the voice, look, tone and feel of the brand in communication.
Brand Voice is how you speak to your audiences. It might be playful, serious, authoritative, or full of attitude. Voice determines how language is used in all forms of communication.
Brand Look is the visual representation of the brand personality.
Brands thrive on consistency, clarity
Relationships don’t happen overnight. They build over time. With consistent nurturing, a clear message and holding true to your business mission, relationships form and the brand becomes stronger and stronger. It takes hard work, attention your marketing strategy and dedication. Simply filling in the blanks of the elements of a brand won’t create a relationship.
“Consistency, Clarity and Authenticity are the holy trinity of branding.” I agree with Robin Fisher Roffner on this statement. Which of these traits do you think is most important? Can your brand thrive with one or two? Or do you need all three? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.