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A Brief Primer on Branding

I encountered two more “branding” opportunities this week. While having great name recognition, understanding the value behind your firm and promoting a consistent image, look or treatment are regular parts of our consulting services, in neither of these instances was this the “brand” the prospective customer was looking for. What they really wanted was a logo. And while logos are important, this isn’t where your branding project should begin.

When you set your sites on branding, start within the soul of the business and ask yourself and your team: what is it that we really do? why is that important to our customers? how do we remind them of that on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?

Branding isn’t just about a look or feel or even a communications strategy. Branding needs to be much bigger and encompass not only the personality of your firm but also the promise. What do you promise to do for your customers? What does your product promise to do for them? What is the value proposition? And how is all of that communicated in one brief package tied with a neat bow?

Once you’ve figured that out, then you have to be consistent about how you communicate the brand — in everything from the words you chose to the people you hire and the product you deliver. Living the brand is what makes the brand real for the Cokes and Apples of the world. And while you may not have their bottom line, you can certainly emulate their process. So that people will not only want to buy from you but they dream of working for you, like the guy I met in the Apple Store this week who reported that he wasn’t earning nearly as much in this job as projected by what he studied in college but “perhaps Apple has something planned for me” he said and then smiled.

It wasn’t the blue shirt he was wearing or the store I was in. It was the pride he had in his work and the way he helped me as a customer that truly emulated the brand. That’s what I hope you will strive for in your next branding strategy session.

 

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