What is a Brand?
Many years ago, when I worked in Corporate World, I was tasked with being the Brand Manager for one of New Zealand’s biggest companies. When I asked for the job description, by boss to be said “Go ahead and write it yourself”.
Hmmm, good move on his part! Being a keen young marketer I took up the challenge, and in doing so made the role bigger than Ben Hur. You see, to me, Brand encompasses every aspect of the customer experience, from the logo, colours and style guide, to the customer service, product delivery, education, after sales support, merchandising, marketing communications, well all communications… So you can see, managing a brand is bigger than one persons responsibility. In my opinion, it is an essential part of every team members role.
To answer the question in the title – below is a list of the essential elements of a brand. Get these things right and you’ll become a well respected and loved brand in your market.
- Customer Service – This includes the service provided during the complete customer experience from pre-purchase research through to post purchase service, and every touch point in between. Think about what would rock your customers world and give them that experience. Here are some examples.
- Internal Marketing – I strongly believe you need to get the inside of your business right before worrying too much about the external. One bad experience instigated by a bad attitude from a staff member can do more damage to your brand than a lack lustre advertisement or marketing message. Why? Because “Business is People” and people are more affected by, and more likely to be offended by a personal interaction (whether that be by phone, email or face to face).
- Visual aspects: Name, logo, style, imagery & colours – This is how people come to refer to and recognise your brand and helps to position your brand in the minds of your prospects and customers. The visual aspect also encompasses things like your website and visual advertising, social media posts and signage.
- Voice & tone – This has become much more important with the development of social media. It encompasses the tone of the messages you share in every communication – no matter what form that communication takes. Today it is imperative to add a section to your Brand Guide that explains clearly what your brand voice is.
- Promises – Always keep your promises and never promise something outside your ability. If for some reason you are not going to be able to deliver on your promises, do yourself and your customer a favour and address it quickly and honestly. Then find a way to make it right.
Personal vs Business Brand
To round off the discussion on brands I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the difference between a personal brand and a business brand. In the world of Consulting you are both. If you own your own business, you are both. If you are employed by another company, you are still a personal brand and you represent the business brand while at work or representing the business in any way.
As I mentioned earlier, my belief is “Business is People”. How you present yourself in person, on social media or in any communication, can potentially impact the business brand. How far you take this concept and apply it is a matter of personal choice. I prefer to be myself in both situations. People do business with people so be yourself – you’ll find people relate to you better and trust you, which is incredibly important in business.
Your Brand is what makes you unique. Make it irresistible. Make is special. Make it comment worthy (in a great way of course).