Most people view brand in relation to the simple principles. A logo. Brand colours. Brand name. But these should be the outcomes of thorough research analysis and strategic planning.
When you create a brand, you should acknowledge that you are potentially creating millions of brands. Your company will have formed visual, audio and sensory elements that collectively form how you communicate and act as a company. This is then communicated and allows you to interact with the audience. Idris Mootee defines brand as “an intangible asset that resides in people’s hearts and minds”. How? Your brand creates a feeling, an opinion and a perspective in your audience’s eyes, leading them to an opinion of who you are and what you stand for. Each stakeholder will have a different, varied perspective of your brand in their head. This is not something that is a matter of fact or visible to the eye. It’s intangible; feelings and emotion. It’s therefore essential that you help to guide these opinions in your own favour, on your terms.
Your brand is your business reputation, and your stakeholders are all going to have a slightly different or greatly different perception of what that is. This is not an issue as long as you have most of the perceptions in the desired, prescribed position you wanted it.
It is easy to get caught up in the view designers and marketers have of ‘brand’ as we are making a claim, a promise, a pitch, but your brand is the result of these. The reality is you have to start here. The creators of your content will sell to the clients how they have interpreted the brand and how best to create and communicate a collection of brand identity elements. The client will look at their list of requirements and sign off all the brand assets ready to be put to use. But your brand only becomes real once a perception is made in a stakeholder's head. It is, therefore, the organisations to monitor and find out what has been perceived through stakeholders interaction and experience of the brand. Ask yourself… what reputation did we create through implementing and broadcasting our brand mix in the marketplace?
Benefits of getting it right
If you get your brand right and communicate the elements effectively, you will connect with stakeholders who fit with and mirror your values. There are a few ways that your brand can aid you in building your business further.
In today’s world, there are lots and lots of choices to be made regarding products and companies to invest in, where your competitors are seeking the same market space and investors as you. By establishing and re-defining your brand, you are able to bring your differentiator to the forefront, your own unique qualities that make you different.
MAKE LIFE EASY
By differentiating yourselves, you are allowing your stakeholders to make an easy decision. Stakeholders are busy, they don’t want to be searching for hours on end for a product or service, they want to find it immediately and by instilling messages about your brand earlier, it makes their life easier. Strong brands provide stakeholders with clarity and certainty.
ATTRACT AND RETAIN THE MOST VALUABLE STAKEHOLDERS
Your brand is formed of your story, purpose, mission, values and principles that you stand by and in doing so you create your personality. Using this you form a connection with your stakeholders allowing them to see the value in who you are.
The connection that you have formed with your stakeholders means that the process is more than just a transaction. The value and connection that they have with your brand allow you to form a bond which your stakeholders feel that they should be loyal to. They would be disappointed if your products or services were removed and so this ensures that your stakeholders support you into the future — creating long-term loyalty.
Saatchi & Saatchi define this connection as a Lovemark. “Lovemarks are a relationship not a mere transaction. You don’t just buy lovemarks, you embrace them passionately. That’s why you never want to let go. Put simply. Lovemarks inspire loyalty beyond reason.” While this level of love might not apply to all companies, it does hold true that when you have trust and a connection with a company, you are more likely to continue that relationship. In a world where more choice than you can ever imagine is available to anyone at the click of a button, this is an invaluable skill.
To find out more about how we can help you on your corporate branding journey, take a look at our branding guide, or get in touch.