Don’t get us wrong; logos play a big role in helping to embed your brand’s visual identity in people’s minds. Just think of Nike’s famous swoosh symbol, the golden arches of McDonald’s or Starbuck’s instantly recognisable siren.
We’ve encountered first hand experience many times how businesses can transform with a well planned (and thoroughly researched) rebrand. There’s no doubt that logos are very important.
However, they’re not the sum total of your brand but only the beginning. Your brand extends far beyond your name or your logo to bridge the gap between you and your customer.
Your branding strategy is everything
We mean this in the most literal interpretation of the word “everything”. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, your brand includes the products and services you offer, and the stories you tell around them.
A really good example of this is IKEA.
This massive brand has invested heavily in understanding how people really live in their homes. In fact, IKEA employs a team of people to regularly visit people’s homes and research the way individuals interact with their furniture, cutlery, crockery, spaces etc. These anthropological insights are then mapped against data points and used for new product development.
Once the products are in the stores, customers are not faced just with a product description and a price tag. No matter if a customer is purchasing a drinking glass or a Billy bookcase, a story will be shared with them about the product’s designer, where the product is made, and product features that add efficiency to people’s lives.
IKEA exemplifies how branding is the whole customer experience; not just their (very well-known) logo.
Customer service is part of your brand
Often companies spend a lot of time and financial resources getting their marketing just right, then forget all about the service they offer customers once they have them. This ties straight into our earlier point about customer experience.
Place yourself in your customer’s shoes at every point. Technology developments in recent years can help you greatly improve the customer service you offer. However, they can’t replace the human element of really knowing your customer.
For example, if you use a voicemail tree to streamline your call centre operations, is it clear?
Every customer who phones you is busy with their own life. If your voicemail tree helps them resolve their queries quickly, that’s great customer service. And a brilliant brand experience.
Of course, if your voicemail tree doesn’t help your customers in an efficient way, that’s poor customer service. And, by the same logic, a bad brand experience.
Your brand relies on your tone of voice
Brands are communicating all the time. Your logo does a big part of this job, especially at the beginning of the customer journey.
In addition to your logo, you need to identify your messaging to your customers. You also need to decide how you will say it. Knowing what you stand for helps potential customers understand your brand positioning.
Developments in the financial services sector illustrate this point well.
Consider the “old guard” banks and how they communicate. Even when they’ve adopted newer technology, such as having websites and online banking functionality, it’s still easy to recognise how banks communicate. There’s a lot of seriousness and gravitas to what they say, and how they say it.
Now think of the newer “challenger banks”. These are fintech companies that are disrupting the established banking order.
Their messaging is designed around demystifying banking and making it more inclusive of everyone. Challenger banks communicate in a way that removes the stuffiness of traditional banks. Their messages, and how they say them, are friendlier and less formal in tone.
We dive a little deeper into your brand tone of voice in our blog here.
What do your communication tools say about your brand?
What kind of impression do you give customers, or potential customers, with your communication tools?
Here, we’re not just speaking about the content on your website or in your brochure. We’re talking about every piece of communication you use in your interactions with your customers.
If you’ve ordered anything from Amazon, you’ll have seen the tape that’s Amazon branded on the boxes when your order arrives. Or think about the signs you see in an Apple store as you move from the MacBook section to the iPads.
These are two high profile examples of global brands, but they clarify what we mean by all the communication tools your brand might use.
Does your company use signs? Do you send invoices or statements to customers in the mail or via email? Do you send packages to clients? All of these represent opportunities to think about your brand.
Your people are your brand ambassadors
The old adage that people buy from people is as true today in our fast paced, technology driven lifestyles as it ever was. Think of how Richard Branson represents the Virgin brand, or how closely aligned Steve Jobs is with Apple, even after his passing.
Therefore, investing in your people is always a smart strategy. This doesn’t have to mean a huge spend on training; though, of course, making sure your staff are capable of handling their responsibilities is key to offering exceptional customer service.
First and foremost, investing in your people, means spending time with them so that everyone understands what your brand stands for, and the relationships you’re looking to build with your customers. This can take the form of weekly newsletter (don’t forget that internal communications does as much of a branding job as your external marketing does), a town-hall meeting where the whole company gets together to hear updates or catching up via one-to-one meetings with staff.
Each person within your company, from a junior intern, to a director heading up a team, act on behalf of your brand. Imbuing your brand values within them is one of the most powerful investments you can make in your brand.
Leveraging the power of your logo
It’s your logo’s job to help your customers instantly recognise your brand. But a good logo can also project all of the different values your company stands for in a strong visual identity.
Ensuring that all the different elements of your brand are in place means that you’ll leverage the power of your logo, and add to that first impression, helping you build the quality relationships with your customers that are the talk of the town.