Live your Brand

If you asked a random sample of business people what a ‘brand’ is, many would provide the traditional value of colourful logos, witty tag lines, creative commercials and fancy packaging.

They would be wrong.

This old world view of a brand (with lowercase ‘b’) is the result of years of shiny, cosmetic make-over jobs that advertising and communication professionals have applied as an afterthought to products and services. This is why most people dislike marketers and advertisers- because historically they’ve created false worlds with no integrity.

In contrast, a ‘Brand’ (with a capital ‘B’) is firmly embedded in the real world. A real Brand is determined by the sum of your customers’ actual experiences with your company’s people, products or services- how they perceive you as a result of all their points of contacts.

This shift from ‘shiny to real’ has dramatic implications. Smart advertising still has an important role to play, but it’s not longer the vital link to customers it once was; instead it’s the broad interface of your operations and the front line workers that connect your Brand to your customers.

Your Brand is made up of tangible and intangible associations that your customers and stakeholders form about your organisation and it’s products and services. These associations can be:

  • Visual (logos, adverts, signage, website, merchandising, office design)
  • Emotional (feelings derived from interactions with the organisation’s people, products and services)
  • Cultural (‘this is the way things are done in this organisation’)

A strong Brand will generate positive associations at every point of customer interactions.

A challenge that businesses can face is to keep the promise made in the Brand’s advertising and other marketing communications activities consistent with the Brand delivery. There’s no point in promising great customer service in your advertising and putting customers on hold for 15 minute when they call.

The most important thing for a company’s leadership is to recognise and act upon, especially in word-of-mouth (WOM) service companies is that YOUR PEOPLE ARE YOUR BRAND.

If you want to pull this off, you first must understand your Brand’s DNA and what it stands for, and then do whatever it takes to align your organisational values to your Brand values.

The most successful companies are full of people that ‘live the Brand’.

If this has resonated with you and you would like to establish or grow your brand, then please get in touch with us via our website or give us a call on 0141 221 1825- we’d love to hear from you!

Examples of strong brands

A strong brand drives sales- it’s a proven fact and if you are one of our existing clients you are probably sick to the back teeth of hearing us go on about it. However, the examples are all around us.

Look at Nike, Kellogg’s, Coca Cola, McDonalds and Apple, they are all textbook examples of strong brands who have a massive worldwide customer base, have made billions of pounds and whose logos are recognised from Ecclefechan to Egypt.

The important point to note here is that branding, in its true sense, is not primarily about the name or logo or even about marketing. It’s what an organisation or product stands for, through everything it does. It needs to be delivered through the logo, website, advertising, literature, customer service and PR; they should all be inspired by the unique and distinctive proposition that your business stands for. By proposition, we mean unique selling point or USP, as it is also referred to.

What is a strong brand and how do I know if I have one, I hear you ask?

Well, in a nutshell it’s the images, values and characteristics that come into your head when you think of it or see it. Take Apple for example, whenever I see their logo or hear their name, I don’t immediately think of a Pink Lady or a Golden Delicious (funnily enough). I think of a high quality, intuitive, efficient range of products and service- albeit you know they are going to charge through the roof for a replacement screen for your new IPhone XS (a mere £326.44 to be precise!) However you know that it will be done on the same day and you feel 100% confident leaving your prized position in the hands of a “Genius”– a feeling you may not get if you were to go with a cheaper high street alternative.

You may well have a pretty good idea whether or not your own business’s brand is strong, but if not, you will get a good feel for its status using carefully crafted, informal questioning of your customers, suppliers, friends and even family. For an objective, professional analysis an experienced marketing company will guide you through the Market Research maze.

So, when you hear us, and other Marketers refer to “strong brands”- that is precisely what we mean. The emotions and feelings that are provoked when you hear the company name!

If you would like to chat further with us about brands, or any other area of marketing then please get in touch!