Do you understand what your brand is?
You do? Great, write it down as succinctly as you can.
Now let’s look at what a brand really is and see if you were right.
Knowing your brand
If you run a business you probably spent a huge amount of time thinking about your brand when you started out. That would have equated to spending hours with a graphic designer to come up with a cool-looking logo.
Once that was done, you’re next job was to find a web designer and begin work to create a funky website that had all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Your logo was inserted into the header and there you go, your business was launched.
Was that it?
You have a logo, you have a website and therefore you have a brand?
[Take a look at what you wrote down at the start of this post – did you say logo?]
It’s not necessarily that straight forward.
Your brand is a lot more than just your logo. Branding is all about colour, graphics, words, design, perception, and it’s about you.
Are your values shining through?
Let’s go back a step or two.
Before you even begin to think brands, you have to understand your business and its values and who your customers are and their needs. That’s a lot to get your head round, but it is vital if you’re to position yourself correctly in the market.
If you don’t understand your customers how can you position yourself correctly to attract them?
After all you’re aiming your products and services at them so the way they are ‘packaged’ has to meet their needs and expectations.
This packaging includes:
– Your website copywriting and look
– Marketing materials
– Business cards
Surprised by the last one?
You shouldn’t be.
When in front of a potential customer, you are your business and your brand. If you don’t match the image your business portrays online (or through your literature) the disparity will be unnerving for your customer and give off mixed messages.
Let me elaborate – if your website projects a classic, well presented image and you turn up in jeans and a t-shirt your ‘brand’ won’t gel.
A consistent and well thought out brand will instil trust. If your website reflects your business’ values and activities through its words and design, your customer will instantly understand what you are offering them. It will give them an idea of how expensive you are likely to be, how open and approachable you are and whether you are a progressive company.
A fluid brand
Your brand will also be fluid.
If your business has been going for a few years I bet your customer base has changed. That means your brand must also reflect that change.
Therefore it is a good idea to revisit your brand every few years to ensure it is still giving a true picture of your business. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your logo, although it may be something to think about if it no longer represents your business’ ethos.
It’s a scary process and, at times, uncomfortable.
Take a good look at yourself
Once you realise the complexity of your brand you can then start to work on your image and that of your business to project a uniform message.
Branding isn’t something that always gets the attention it deserves. In fact this post was prompted following a recent branding workshop I attended. As usual it’s not until someone else points these things out to you that you realise there’s a problem.
Branding is so much more than a logo.