Branding Fundamentals

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What is a Brand?

A brand is much more than a logo and a tagline. It’s the collection of all the experiences and ideas associated to your product. (A brand may also refer to an organization, product or solution, of course.) When you think of it that way, a brand is much more than a logo and a tagline. It represents an emotional connection. That connection exists in the mind of the consumer.

What is Branding?

Branding is the process that helps you clarify and come to agreement on all the aspects of your brand. You may own your logo, but you don’t own your brand – your customers do. That’s why it’s important to clearly understand your brand. That way you can better convey that message to your customers.

Branding shapes the way you communicate, both to external audiences and within the organization. It helps key stakeholders get a better understanding of things like:

  • Your brand’s benefits
  • What you’re promising your customers
  • Your organization’s purpose

Branding provides you with a strong set of core messages to use as a basis of all your messaging. It also provides you with the tone of voice and visual identity you’ll use.

When to Rebrand? 8 Questions to Ask

Some organizations wonder about the value of brand discovery. Have a look at the 8 questions below. Would the key stakeholders give the same answers? What about your customers?

  • What is your value proposition?
  • What is your brand promise?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your company mission?
  • What is your personality?
  • What are your organization’s values?
  • What are the top 3 benefits to customers?
  • What’s your “elevator pitch?” In straightforward terms, what does your brand do and why is it better?

When your brand is strong, you can develop more focused messaging. When your messaging is focused, your customers will better understand what you are offering.

How to Get Started?

We recommend you work with an external vendor that regularly practices branding. It’s pretty darned hard to be objective about your own organization. Find out about their process and what deliverables they’ll provide before you buy in.

Dos and Don'ts

Don’t: Try to be something that you’re not. Customers have more access to your brand than ever before. They can tell if something doesn’t seem authentic.

Do: Be true to your brand. Express your brand promise in everything you do. It will help build customer loyalty. And of course, customer loyalty helps the bottom line.

Don’t: Limit the branding effort to just the marketing team. It’s critical to involve key organizational stakeholders to make sure you consider all perspectives.

Do: Include key stakeholders from a variety of business areas. This approach will provide greater insight from more perspectives. It will also give you a wider base of consensus from which to go forward.

Don’t: Copy your competition. It may be tempting, but remember: you are not your competition. They may not even be doing it right, anyway – maybe you could do it better! Your organization has something unique to offer. Your organizational attributes, values and personality are specific to you. Your message and position will be quite different.

Do: Build your brand around your functional and emotional attributes and your vision for success. The brand discovery process results in messaging and concepts that are specific to your organization. Use them!

Don’t: Roll out your brand without the support of your entire organization.

Do: Be sure to share what you have discovered with employees and partners. Talk about the process it took to get there and make sure they know how they can help the brand succeed.

Don’t: Abandon your new brand. Once you’ve finished the discovery process, you’ve just begun! You’ve got the beginnings a brand that aligns with who you are and where you’re going as an organization. Don’t set it free and expect that it will do its job unaided.

Do: Identify brand champions who will ensure it remains consistent and true. Work to create a corporate culture that embodies the brand and what it represents. Create a style guide. It will provide a road map for everyone who develops visuals and messaging.

Digital Glossary Appendix

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