What is a brand?
A brand is not a logo, it is not a design, it is not a product, it is not a title of a mission statement, it is not a slogan or ad campaign, it is not your latest website…
A brand is the unique essence that differentiates you from everyone else. It is the container for an individual’s complete experience with your organization. It is the collection of emotional values, benefits, experiences and symbols. It is the promise that you always keep.
It is your organization’s ultimate asset.
A brand is comprised of many different elements… The brand essence is the collection of characteristics that set you apart; the brand message is how you communicate those core characteristics; the brand position is your point of differentiation in the marketplace; the brand promise is the fruit of a well cultivated and healthy brand; the brand identity is the collection of graphic and visual components that communicate and reinforce your brand position and promise.
So how can you make sure that you have a heathy brand and that you don’t find your brand is gasping for its final breath before flatlining? The following three principles will help you ensure that your brand is strong and in good health.
- Be sure to have an annual checkup.
Every organization has to deal with a dangerous malady … brand drift. It has been a silent killer of brands around the world for decades. With the passing of time – and changing of personnel – the characteristics of a brand will tend to morph. Unchecked – brand drift will alter the very essence of the brand. A smart organization performs an annual brand check-up to be sure the brand components are all in alignment. Additionally, it is good to observe cultural trends to see if the brand messaging strategy needs to be adjusted to more effectively engage the ever-changing marketplace.
- Invest in keeping your brand healthy.
A brand that is not nurtured will soon fall into poor health. Set aside a portion of your budget to help your brand shine. Invest in your website, SEO, social media strategy, content development, and marketing efforts. Be sure the look and feel of your brand reflects the values of your organization in the very best way possible. If your website is more than 3 years old, it might be time to refresh. If your website does not align with your brand, people will be confused. Are your marketing materials fresh and engaging? Make the commitment to keep your brand healthy and shining.
- Your brand must be consistent over time.
A branding point is any place that your brand touches the public. This includes print, media, social media, presentations, interviews, and even your facility. Messaging, image, and impressions must be consistent across all branding points. Even the way your organization answers the phone or signs its email communicates something about your brand. Be sure it is the right thing. In order to be healthy, a brand must continually be nurtured and protected. Have a comprehensive strategy in place to ensure every aspect of your brand — at every branding point — is clear and coherent.
On the visual side, be sure to craft a style guide with clearly defined parameters for font use and size, accepted color palettes, logo sizing and guidelines, typography, imagery, etc. But remember the brand identity is simply a reflection of the brand essence. Be sure your brand is in complete alignment from top to bottom — and head to toe. A healthy brand results in a growing organization.
Take your vitals. How healthy is your brand?
Let Infinity Concepts help you bring new vitality to your brand! Let’s talk!