Many people think that branding means having a logo, and maybe a tagline to go under it. But to us, branding is the summation of everything your customers see, hear and even ‘feel’ about your product.
We like to think of it as your company or product’s lifestyle, the summation of mental connections your customers’ make about you. That said, most “branding” efforts are misguided, expensive and wasteful.
Traditional branding (like institutional advertising and sponsorships) can build awareness, but ‘awareness’ has never sold anything. And amorphous goals like ‘brand affinity’ are difficult to measure and require a large investment of time and capital.
So how should you brand? The short answer is ‘in everything you do’. Since your brand is a reflection of everything your customers think and feel, it should be part of everything you do. From your logo and packaging to your customer service scripts and on-line forms, it should all work in service to your brand. Nothing is too small to overlook and you should steer clear brand dissonance.
If your brand is all about value, you might want to avoid the Jaguar cross-promotion. Environmental responsibility? You might want to rethink those plastic bags. These things are closer to your brand than any high-flown ad in a trade journal.
Not to sound cynical or mercenary, but every nickel you have to spend on promotion should be put toward driving customer behavior. Why invest in trying to make people like you when you could be getting them to click ‘like’ on Facebook and telling their friends about you.
Modern marketing is a two-way street, and you can build loyalty and ‘affinity’ by actually listening to your customers and investing in their continued support. Don’t tell them your focused on the future with an expensive mailer featuring soaring eagles, invite them into your process and show them your vision.
The first step is to understand your brand, and just not the one you talk about it your annual report. Talk to customers, prospects and competitors (if you can) and try to get a feel for how you are really seen in the marketplace.
Then find a way to involve people in the brand. Invite input, reward cooperation and do everything you can to connect the best aspects of your brand with their lives.
And, most importantly, don’t stop.Tags: feature