There Are Two Sides To The Branding Coin
Just as it takes two to tango, two separate elements must join forces to create a successful brand. Namely, these are the social and technical elements that go into building a brand that people love and customers buy into.
Lifting the lid on the technical side of brand building
Deciding which element to dive into first when it comes to a post on branding is a little like the perennial chicken and egg scenario. Do the social elements of a brand embed themselves before the technical side can be considered? Or is it the other way around?
Our view is that neither side is more critical than the other to building a brand and both can happen in unison.
However, for the purpose of this blog, we’re going to begin with the technical considerations you need to make when you’re building (or maintaining) your brand. This is partly because we have to start somewhere! And also because some of the most identifiable elements of what makes up a brand fall on the more technical side of the branding spectrum.
Many MBA dissertations have been written on the technical elements of brand building. Our aim is to share three of the key technical aspects you need to consider for your brand.
Identify your brand voice
Your brand will exists as a living entity in its own right. Whether you’re the owner of your own company, or an employee of a much larger organisation, your customers view your brand as separate to you.
If you’re an owner of an SME, it’s possible that customers will think of you as more closely entwined with your brand than they would the CEO of a huge, Fortune 500 brand. But that still doesn’t make your voice the exact same as your brand’s voice.
Therefore, one of the most important things you need to do to build your brand is identify and establish your brand voice.
Now this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Part of identifying your brand voice comes with conducting research into who your customers are, establishing the purpose of your company, understanding the competitive landscape etc.
When we work with a new client, we embark on a fact finding mission to find all the information that goes into identifying their brand voice.
Create a brand logo and tagline
There’s way more to a brand than a logo and tagline (and we’ll be discussing this in a further post before the end of the year).
That said, there’s no denying that a logo helps your customers easily pick out your brand among the many they may come into contact with in a day. Your logo should be used anywhere your brand is to be found, and it should incorporate your company’s purpose and promise as much as it does any design principles.
Keep your brand consistent
A brand is made up of many things.
Chances are you have multiple social media profiles, a logo and a website. You might also have a mission statement, business cards, product packaging, and/or a showroom/office/retail outlet.
All of these different items provide you with an opportunity to showcase your brand in its best light, and naturally not all will be the same. Tweets from your brand’s Twitter profile will be different to the information you include in your product packaging.
But the experience you aim to offer your customers should be consistent. If you’re a brand that speaks in a professional voice, being cheeky and using slang on social media is not a good idea.
Getting social about brand building
Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
There’s a lot to unpack in that statement, but for now we’re going to focus on the verb. What people say about you/your company becomes intrinsic to how your brand is perceived, whether it’s accurate or not.
At Islandbridge, we understand brand to reflect the relationship between the buyer and the seller. This, in essence, is the social contract between your business and your (potential and existing) customers.
Again, there are whole books written on the social aspects of brand creation. Today, we’re going to dive into just three considerations to keep in mind as you connect with your audience.
Give your customers something to talk about
You don’t need a branding budget that would make Richard Branson’s eyes water. But you do need a plan.
There’s a lot of competition for your customers’ attention, and if you’re not actively engaging with your customers you’ll quickly fall off of their radar.
Whether your marketing tactics are online, offline or a combination of both, regular communication with your customers is vital. We’ll add the caveat that it should be useful and/or entertaining communication (i.e. don’t communicate just for the sake of it and waste your customers’ time), but, in general, customers are eager to hear from brands they are curious about and buy from.
Live your brand
Customer experience (CX) has become a top of mind priority for many CEOs and business owners. A recent Gartner study revealed that 81% of CEOs say they expect to compete on the basis of CX almost exclusively by 2020.
Delivering an exceptional experience to your customer immediately frames your brand in a positive way in their mind. This doesn’t always have to involve discounts or free shipping by way of example.
Be cognisant of your customers’ pain points and respect their time. Live up to the promise you make in your logo, tagline and mission statement. Responding to their enquiries quickly, returning phone calls, meeting deadlines etc. all deliver a good brand experience.
Do IRL activities to build your brand
IRL, as anyone with teenagers will tell you, stands for “in real life”.
This is about making a decision whether you’re #campdigital or #campanalogue. Both can deliver huge value to your brand, and most business owners and professionals move seamlessly between the two to build a strong brand.
However, it’s worth highlighting that people like to connect with each other. By nature, we are pack creatures and we like to build relationships with each other.
Incorporating activities into your marketing plans that bring you into contact with your audience, independent of online channels, help establish your brand in a positive way.
Branding takes work
Building your brand is not something you can do once and then forget about.
That’s because your brand will be much more than just its tangible elements. It’s the all encompassing way you do business, the experience that customers can expect when they interact with you and how quickly you help them solve their problems that makes your brand what it is.
Getting the technical and social aspects of your brand working together in a cohesive fashion helps your customers understand exactly what your brand is about. That’s when your brand starts to pay dividends for your business!