Bringing your brand into alignment

November 08, 2014

Is your brand cowering in the corner, whipped into submission over the years by several writers taking a stab at it?

OK, that sounds more painful than it is. But the point is your “brand” may be suffering from an identity crisis.

Your different marketing materials, composed over time by different scribes may be sending a splintered message. Or perhaps you’ve never established what your brand really is. Neither is a good scenario for your company if you want to stand out in the market.

Your brand is much more than a name and logo

Your brand is your company crusader. It has its own unique personality. Your brand is empathetic. It understands your customers and their pain points. It represents your promise to your customers that you have the products or services they need – that they can’t find anywhere else.

To develop your brand, you need to identify:

  • the core values that your company foundation is built upon
  • the bulls-eye customer that you are serving
  • the reasons why your customers deal with you and not the guy down the street
  • the personality of your brand (If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?)

What kind of story are your marketing materials telling?

Pull all of your marketing materials together to get a bird’s-eye view of the message you are putting out there. Is it consistent? Is it true to what you believe your brand represents?

Try this. Remove your company name and insert your competitor’s. Does the story stay the same? Is your company interchangeable with your competition?

Is it time to calibrate your brand?

Here are some ideas to rescue your brand from that dark corner.

  • Talk to your customers – Conduct interviews with long-term customers and customers that you know have switched to your company from your competition. Find out why they prefer to work with you.
  • Talk to your sales team – How do your sales people sell your product or service to your customers? What are the benefits they promote? What materials do they have to help them do their job? What are customers saying to your sales reps?
  • Do a content audit – Pull all your materials together – anything that says anything about your company including speeches, presentations, website, brochures, print ads, social media. See what qualities bubble to the surface (trust, service, friendly, complicated, technical, old) – and then consider if they are good qualities for your brand. Discard what isn’t working. Keep what is, and build on it.
  • Look at your visual interpretation of your brand – How old is your logo? Is it a true visual representation of your brand or what you want your brand to be? Do you have a tagline that helps to qualify your brand?
  • Decide who will be the keeper of your brand story – “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.” Brands become diluted if someone isn’t keeping an eye on things. Appoint one person or one team to oversee the treatment of your brand across all your materials. Make sure that any public-facing materials cross their desks first so they can be vetted, rejigged or if necessary, tossed out to start again.

Respect the brand

Your brand is your company. Treat it with respect, and your business will be rewarded greatly.