So, what does your brand say about you?
It’s all to easy to dismiss branding as nothing more than a logo and pretty colours – but smart organisations recognise that when it comes to company branding, it’s worth the investment.
Because your brand works on a subliminal level – and becomes an anchor for all that you stand for in your customers’ minds. Think Cadbury’s and you think chocolate. That’s powerful branding. Think Volvo – and yes, you might think “car”. But the very next thought you’ll have is about “safety” – and that’s because Volvo has invested substantially in creating a brand that espouses safe motoring.
Parents with young children will suddenly find themselves attracted to Volvo – not so much because of their design (although they have got considerably more attractive over the years) but because of their association with safety.
Now, if you’re a young boy racer, safety might not be the number one item on your shopping list. You might want loud booming music and go-faster stripes. And yes, you guessed it, there are a number of specialist in-car sound system experts who are instantly recognisable to this particular target audience.
You pay your money, and you take your choice! Branding helps your customers to choose where to spend their money.
And that’s the point. With a powerful brand – and a target audience – your name becomes synonymous with a particular market sector. You become the king of the niche. And the spin-off? Everyone wants to be associated with your brand – which means that they buy from you!
Your brand enables you to stand out from an already over-crowded marketplace – but it also gives you a voice and reveals what you “stand for”.
How you act, how you speak and how you dress is, in a way your personal brand – and when it comes to creating the brand for your organisation, it’s important to look at the same things.
How you act...
While your brand identity should reflect your values, no logo and brand imaging can cover up – for any length of time, anyway – a lack of values or dishonesty. While our brains may be hard wired to make a decision based on first impressions (however much we’re brought up not to judge a book by its cover), we will form a deeper (more unshakeable) opinion about an individual or an organisation over a longer period of time. And woe betide you if how you act is different from how you appear – this incongruity can leave you struggling for credibility.
How you speak...
Speaking personally to every one of your potential customers would be impossible – but creating a “voice” which reiterates a consistent, cohesive message is completely possible and is often best achieved through a mixture of on and offline media from websites through to brochures. And of course, a powerful relations strategy provides more fodder for the publicity machine.
How you dress...
Whether we like it or not, appearances are important and there’s a subtle language that different images and colours convey. A good place to start is to think about your target audience – what is likely to appeal to them? Fairly obviously, the kind of branding which is appropriate for a bank would not be appropriate for a children’s crèche – but why? The former needs to convey dependability while the latter needs to suggest caring. Dependability and caring are both great virtues but a high street bank swathed in baby pink might not be a lasting success!
Often, simplicity is the key – but be warned, creating something simple but memorable is generally the hardest thing to do!Go To The Next Page
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