In my last blog post, we discussed the origins of brand and the fact that brand is inherent in all things, even in ourselves. Let’s face it… if it exists in our experience, we have an opinion on it—and an expectation around it.

The reason we strive to build a STRONG brand is to save the consumer the trouble of having to test all the products. The truth is… we don’t even want to give our competitors a look-in! Strong brands control buying decisions.

So, what’s the difference between “look and feel”, “logo”, “corporate ID” and “brand”?

Many people still believe their logo—or their style guide, or a collection of tangible images such as their name, their slogan and the design style of their promotional material—is their brand. But this isn’t correct. Reflecting on the established definition from my last post, “an identifiable entity that makes specific promises on value”, it’s easy to note the missing element… the “glue” that binds the brand…

THE PROMISE! It’s your customer’s instinctive understanding that you will give them something of value for choosing your product or service over your competitors.

How deep should our branding go?

A logo, a style mandate or a product package cannot make this pledge or promise on its own. So there must be more… As a designer and a maker of advertising. I know from my own experience that I cannot create a design or an ad that will counteract bad brand. This demonstrates that there must be more… “brand” must go deeper.

Let’s explore the intangible… this is what I believe is the heartbeat of strong brands.

“Strong brands are built from the inside out.”

It’s how your team answers the phone, how easy your website is to navigate, what the subliminal message is that your design collateral is sending, the personality portrayed in your copy… and if you are in retail, it’s even how your shop looks and where you choose to have it.

In fact, brand is built and evolved every time a client or customer interacts with your business. Brand is the “experience” of dealing with you… in whichever way that happens…

  • via the web
  • the phone,
  • personal interaction
  • word of mouth… you name it.
  • your organisation.
  • branding is ongoing.
  • doesn’t stop once you’ve developed it, launched it, toasted it.
  • Every day, every minute…

A good brand manager is vigilant.

To ensure a successful brand, you must make sure it connects emotionally with consumers/clients.

We do not make rational decisions. We attach to a brand the same way we attach to each other: first emotionally and then logically—first instinctively and impulsively and then we rationalise our decisions… even when purchasing.

According to John Moore, author of “Brand Autopsy”, an enduring brand requires three components:

1.            The company is profitable

2.            The employees are happy

3.            The customers are happy

These ingredients show the depth we need to focus on to create a strong brand. In fact, they allude to a very interesting point… not only do our “marketing” bods need to be brand champions, “HR” needs to climb on board as well!

Why? Because if HR are brand champions—truly embracing the need for brand to emanate from within, from a basis of core values embraced by all team members—they will recruit brand relevant employees, and that leads to genuinely strong branding! From the inside out!

 

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Jo Starling© Jo Starling 2013. All Rights Reserved.Please feel free to quote my articles, but please give credit accordingly and include a link back to this site (www.jostarling.com).
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