BRAND: What is it, Really?
Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Brand is what people feel, believe, perceive to be your business. It is what they would tell YOU that you are if asked, not what you want to tell THEM!
Brand is communicated in all that you do to represent yourself, and all that your employees or volunteers or any associates or partners reflect back upon you. Whether it is a communication, graphic, personal interaction, a value that you communicate through actions (i.e customer service, mannerisms, attitude), language, style, approach or the product you are selling, you can’t escape the fact that you are communicating an overall perception. And if you ignore that fact, it could harm your business, but with awareness and careful listening to your customers and critics, you could learn how to shape your brand as you move forward in your business.
What you sell and how you sell it is inherently associated with you, your character and vice versa. It is not as simple as a motto and sharp looking logo. A brand must be authentic so that it can be lived and modelled, much like a value and connections can be made that feel ‘real’ so that prospects become customers. People are much more sophisticated consumers now that there are tools at our fingertips to research and check into false claims or empty promises. It’s important in a world where we have competition for our attention every minute that we are awake, communications from brands have to connect so that potential customers see how the product or service will meet a need or desire. No one wants to be ‘tricked’ into giving you their money.
At the end of the day, you want satisfied customers, who are more likely to become loyal buyers and advocates, an effective and cost-free strategy for advertising and promotion.
The most effective sales tool is a recommendation from a trusted source, or even from someone we don’t know, as long as it is an honest, unsolicited, authentic recommendation. More than ever, people have been expressing the need to feel cared about and feel connection in this digital, disconnected ‘connected’ world.
If your brand brings customers a feeling of safe, caring connection that they can trust, and you have what they want or need, success is sure to follow. Connecting communities that find value in your brand can not only have a huge impact on your business directly, it can generate exponential growth as word of mouth is a powerful friend.
‘So, where do I start?’ you may be wondering. Just ask. Uncovering your brand’s nuances can be as simple as a few conversations. Ask people who you have had success with and those who you haven’t what was it that did or didn’t work for them in your messaging? Or was it something else? Was there something you didn’t mention about the product or service that they needed to know? Was there an impression given that you are surprised to hear about?
Whenever you want to know where to go next, start with the stakeholders; the people who you want to reach or have already reached. It’s as important to test communications with your audiences as it is to test your products themselves. You never know what you may learn, and the most valuable lesson in branding is how to course correct when you’re not hitting the target. Ask yourself what words you use to describe your brand today and compare those words with what you hear back from your customers? Is there a match?