Branding 101: Brands Are Alive!
This is part 1 of Tim's series on branding. To read the other parts, click here.
The concept of Brand can feel as elusive as a penguin in a clown suit, but it’s a necessity for any company.
Let me repeat that — it’s a necessity folks!
I’m sure some of you are already slowly moving your cursor over to the back button thinking “this guy is crazy.” Before you dismiss my rather bold statement, let me explain a bit further.
What Defines A Brand?
Brand is not a cool, shiny logo. Brand is not your television commercial. Brand is not what you write down on a piece of paper.
Brand is the emotional, almost visceral, response that consumers have to your business. Okay, now if you want, you can click the back button.
(cue dramatic pause)
If you stuck around and are dying to read what “this guy” has to say about branding you’re in luck. Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing a few of my more creative, thought-provoking and judgmental ideas around the whole Brand development process.
Yep, Brands are alive. Maybe not so much in the sense of living organisms that respond to external stimuli, but they do evolve. I refer to my favorite product reference: Coca-Cola.
Originally intended as a medicinal tonic; its main ingredients included alcohol and cocaine. Now it’s one of the leading non-alcoholic beverages in the world! Just two years after it was created, the product began evolving from a single dose product to a distributed beverage.
As the beverage began to take hold with American consumers, certain elements of the Brand were addressed — namely their bottle. By 1916, Coke was well on it’s way to embracing a more holistic approach to branding their product.
So you may be asking yourself: “Coke is a huge, multinational corporation that has an annual advertising budget of $3.3 billion globally. How does that apply to my company?”
Well, it does. Your Brand is no different than Coke. It is alive. It can and should evolve. And you can ruin it if you aren’t diligent about managing it.
How Can You Stay In Touch With Your Brand?
Here’s just a few ways to stay in touch with your Brand’s evolution as your company grows.
1. Talk to Your Customers
Ask a couple customers to explain their experience with your company/services/products. Urge them to be frank, blunt and honest.
2. Pretend You Are Your Own Customer
Now put your customer hat on. If you were to come into your business and purchase your products or services, would you be happy with a similar experience?
If the answer is an absolute “Yes!” then it’s time to start shopping for beach front property!
If that answer is even slightly less than absolute, then you have work to do. Funny thing is, if you ask the marketing experts at Coca-Cola, they would say “It’s close but there is always room for improvement.”
3. Perform Annual or Quarterly Reviews
Set up an annual review of your Brand’s progress. Here are a few questions that can help shed some light on your progress:
- Has my business grown?
- Do I have repeat customers?
- How many of my new customers are referrals from existing customers?
- Ask an employee what they think of the company.
4. Review You Marketing Efforts
Ask your C3D account executive to help analyze your efforts and help create a plan that will leverage your resources and really grow your Brand and business.
There is no sure fire recipe to growing brand awareness. So avoid anyone trying to sell you a bottle of elixir that promises growth and success.
The best thing you can do for your Brand is work to align actions, messages and customer experience with what you want your company to be known for. Teaser! Next time we are going to talk about what your Brand is NOT.
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