A Beginner’s Guide to Brand
There’s a lot of confusion about what a brand actually is. Is your ‘brand’ the same as your ‘logo’? In short, no, but a really good logo should reflect and embody your brand in order to actually mean something.
So, what is your brand? Well, it’s everything your company is and stands for – it’s what you do, how you describe yourself and more importantly, how you’re perceived by others. You can influence your brand, push it in the direction you’d like it to go, but your brand perception is as much in the hands of your customers as it is in yours.
SO IF THAT’S TRUE, WHAT IS THE POINT OF BRANDING?
Branding is firstly about getting beyond your snappy strapline or your aging website and attempting to really sum up where the company is now and where you’d like it to be. It’s the personality of your company, it’s the old ‘if your company was a car, would it be a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari?’ And (very important this one) it’s crucial not to lie (or ‘creatively manage the truth’ if you’re an estate agent) about your brand – because if you try to position yourself as a huge multinational when you’re really a young start-up (or visa versa) your brand will fail. It’s as much about really getting to the heart of your company, your goals and your USPs (unique selling points) as it is establishing your voice, your personality and the things that you’re not.
Often, and this is especially true for a company that’s grown and changed over the years, the brand you started with no longer reflects the company you’ve become. This is the perfect time to ‘rebrand’. To distill everything you now are and embody everything you think you can be going forward into your updated brand. It’s not just a lick of metaphorical paint to an existing website or PowerPoint template – that’s corporate identity. Brand is a living thing!
BUT HOW DO YOU CREATE (OR UPDATE) YOUR BRAND?
Your brand is carried through to every communication channel, from your logo and choice of typeface to your website, your marketing and even the way your employees answer the phone. If we could only reference two key points that define your brand it would be:
What’s the personality of your brand? Are you fun, trendy, irreverent or perhaps, established, reliable, trustworthy – or a whole different set of personalities altogether? Remember you can’t be everything, if people see your fun and trendy marketing but their actual perception or experience of using your service or working with you is completely different, your brand starts to work against you.
This is a really important one, and something even the best companies often fail at. Your brand is made up of everything you communicate, so if you’re sending out mixed messages, styles or personalities, at best you’ll just get lost in the crowded marketplace, at worst you end up damaging the brand you’re trying to build.
That’s it for now, but there’s a lot more to tell within the world of ‘brand’; in fact we haven’t even made a dent in this blog! Look out for future blogs, when we’ll be looking at the importance of ‘brand storytelling’. So stay tuned.
And above all, remember – brand is a living thing. You need to feed and nurture it; look after it and encourage others (your staff and clients) to care for it too. If you need help bringing your brand to life, then it’s always a good idea to start at Square1.