Your brand is your future
BRIAN H MEREDITH SHARES SOME OF THE BEHAVIOURS THAT ARE KEY TO DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING A STRONG BRAND PERCEPTION.
A NEW BUSINESS opens its doors at 9am on Monday morning.
People walk past, see the sign, subconsciously note the material from which the sign is made, the content of the sign, its graphic design, the building to which the sign is attached.
They see people coming and going from the building; some will be entering the building themselves.
They take the lift, enter the new business’s reception area, note the interior environment, approach the counter and talk to the receptionist.
The look and presentation of the receptionist, his or her voice and vocabulary are noticed.
By this stage, the visitor has a perception of the new brand – both conscious and sub-conscious.
Whether it’s a law firm or frozen pea manufacturer, the brand has now been created and everything that follows will either add to the visitor’s perception of the brand, or detract from it.
And if the new company leaves all of these ‘behaviours’ to chance, the perception of the brand will be random – good or bad, but never neutral.
A brand is created by nothing more than every behaviour in which the businesses engages. However minor. Or major.
It is what separates competitors and helps consumers remember a product.
The purpose of a brand is to increase sales by making the
product or service the most visible and desired by the consumer. Branding is becoming more than a logo or a product. It is becoming a promise of quality and reputation.
And, as already stated, it is every behaviour in which the brand engages that creates and develops this.
According to Wikipedia:
“Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The key components that form a brand's toolbox include a brand’s identity, brand communication (such as by logos and trademarks), brand awareness, brand loyalty, and various branding (brand management) strategies.
Brand equity is the measurable totality of a brand's worth and is validated by assessing the effectiveness of these branding components. In a fleeting market where traditional linear models of business are being replaced by more radical interconnected models, brand equity is one marketing technique that remains firmly rooted in prosperity. To reach such an invaluable brand prestige requires a commitment to a particular way of doing business. A corporation who exhibits a strong brand culture is dedicated on producing intangible outputs such as customer satisfaction, reduced price sensitivity and customer loyalty.
A brand is in essence a promise to its customers that they can expect long-term security, a competitive frame of reference and consistent delivery of functional as well as emotional benefits. When a customer is familiar with a brand or favours it incomparably to its competitors, this is when a corporation has reached a high level of brand equity.”
DEVELOPING BRAND PERCEPTION
Here are some of the behaviours that are key to developing and maintaining a brand perception:
• People – Every single person in your business is a minimarketing director and every behaviour in which they engage has a brand effect. Major or minor, but never neutral.
• Buildings – Exterior and interior, everything must reflect and highlight brand characteristics.
• Vehicles – From the CEOs car to trucks and everything in between. These are highly visible and, especially those that are signwritten, can have a significant effect based on their age, maintenance and the behaviours of their drivers.
• Graphics – Whether a sign on a building or a logo on an advertisement, this visual representation of your brand is vital.
• Packaging – Product packaging must both reflect the brand identity and character and be practical. However well packaging is graphically designed, if the customer finds it difficult to get into then brand damage is done.
• Documentation – Correspondence, email, invoices, contracts, employment agreements, etc., – layout, spelling, fonts – the combination of all of these factors contributes to, or detracts from, the reader’s brand perception.
• Human treatment – Overall treatment of any human being including, but not limited to, customers is vital and should never be left to chance. Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: customers, staff, partners, investors, etc.
Leave one or more of these elements to chance and your brand will be at risk. Plan, implement and monitor each of these factors and your brand will make the huge contribution to your business performance that it really should do.