What is your brand and why does it matter?
Marketers are all about advancing the brand. But what does that really mean? Your brand is more than just a logo. It’s also a tagline or slogan and your mission and values are certainly also part of a brand. Your company’s brand also includes how your customers and the public at large view you. It is your product, service, employees/associates combined.
It’s important to define and in some cases, defend your brand from competition and damage. Part of the defense is staying consistent. It’s tough to stay consistent if you haven’t defined who you are.
So, who are you? Are you reliable, quick and courteous? Are you high quality and local? Be realistic here, just because YOU think you are responsive to your clientele, would your customer agree? And maybe just as importantly, will they tell others? Even the greatest marketers concede, word-of-mouth advertising can be your biggest marketing tool. This is where consistency will reveal how much it matters.
If you’re not consistently who you say you are in look, actions and words, it is only natural that people will eventually lose confidence in your brand.
Some examples of inconsistency can include looks like color, font, messaging and imagery. Does your merchandise match your website? How many colors and fonts are found in your printed materials and merchandise. How many versions of your logo are out there? Do you change your tagline whenever the mood strikes you?
Or worse yet – are you using someone else’s popular slogan or look? For the love of all things Tiffany Blue – stop it now.
Most companies undergo some brand modifications over the years, but think of the most iconic looks/messages that have stood the test of time. Has Nike changed its swoosh or ceased to “Just do it.”? The United Parcel Service is just expected to be brown and gold – on the truck, the business card and the delivery person’s uniform.
Even through the changes, a good brand evolves thoughtfully. Here are some examples of visual symbols that have evolved.
If you think brand doesn’t matter, think about your own purchases. From the soda you prefer to the car you drive, right down to the socks you wear. Brand matters in what you value, just like it will to your customers.
Other inconsistencies can include product quality, service, communication and responsiveness. If your receptionist answers the phone like a champ on Tuesdays and completely ignores customers on Friday, your reputation for consistency diminishes. Likewise if the legendary burrito you serve today taste like something you’d rather forget tomorrow, you may have lost a returning patron and diminished the brand.
When branding your business, remember no one does what you do like you do. So stick to being an original. Build your brand out of that. And be consistent. Your customers will too.