Your brand creates an immediate perception about your business, and you. It's your promise to your customers or clients and tells them what they can expect from you. Any contact your clients have with your brand is an opportunity to demonstrate your brand's value and build trust, and we all know people prefer to deal with businesses and people they trust. Negative experiences with your brand reduce trust. That’s why it’s so important to build strong brand assets, and maintain those assets, just like you would maintain your home.
At Algo Mas we believe the branding process can be broken up into 6 distinct phases.
The first step in the discovery phase is to figure out who you are. I turned 40 this year and found myself asking this question! It's the same question you need to ask of your brand. Who are you? What do you stand for? Try conducting a brand discovery workshop with your staff and clients. It will help develop your brand’s narrative and key messages.
Choose your Champions
To build a brilliant brand your brand vision needs to be embraced and understood by everyone involved in your business, including your staff and suppliers. By communicating your brand vision early in the process, you can develop brand ambassadors, or champions. Invite your brand champions to participate in your brand discovery workshop, help write your brand vision, and provide feedback on your logo concepts and marketing collateral style. Brand champions will passionately take ownership of your brand once developed and help sell your brand story to your clients.
An Inspiring Vision
Once you’ve figured out who you are or who you want to be, we'd recommend developing your brand vision and values. Your vision describes how you want the external world and your clients to see you. It should be inspiring but realistic and achievable, focus on your competitive advantage or unique proposition. Your brand values are the reasons why clients will choose you over your competitors. They describe the feelings and experience clients have when they deal with you. For example, if you place a high importance on using the latest software in your service delivery, 'innovation' may be a brand value of yours.
Create Distinctive Assets
A brilliant brand should have a well designed logo and identity but there are other elements to consider such as your brand name, font, colour, your brand's story, key messages, a tagline, or even a sound like a jingle. Perhaps your marketing collateral can feature a unique font or colour that can become instantly recognisable, like the Cadbury purple, or the Coca-Cola font. Creating a strategy to develop and maintain distinctive brand assets, that may not just be visual, is smart branding.
A Guide to Trust
When implementing your brand, consistency is key. Every time you are inconsistent, you diminish your brand's strength and create doubt and mistrust. A great way of ensuring brand consistency is to develop Brand Guidelines. Brand Guidelines document of all your brand assets such as your brand vision, values and visual identity and even examples of implementation style such as how your business cards might look. Share your Brand Guidelines with everyone who is likely to use your brand and protect your brand consistency vehemently.
Measure and Manage
My accountant often tell me, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it! A good way to determine if your brand assets are growing in awareness is to measure the awareness of those assets at the start of any new brand or rebranding process, and then measure them again after the process and implementation. Your brand and brand attributes are one of the most important assets your business owns, and like your home, good management and maintenance will add value in the years to come.
Julie Wrobel is Managing Director of Algo Mas Marketing, brand developers and graphic designers. Algo Mas ignite brands to help businesses grow. Thinking about rebranding or developing a new brand? Email firstname.lastname@example.org