Posted on 19, July, 2019
Last Modified on 09, August, 2019
If you don't feel like the dots are connecting with your messages both internally and externally, you're not alone. When the primary goal of business is to generate sales, branding decisions are often pushed aside and seen as less essential to your day-to-day success. However, for long-term results and internal clarity, your brand is perhaps your most important asset, and it’s something every executive should consciously consider.
Branding is about so much more than a business’s logo, slogan or website. There are a lot of elements at play when it comes to building and maintaining an organization’s image. Here are 4 questions every business owner should ask themselves about their company.
1. Is your branding consistent?
You need to determine the Who, What, When, Where and Why of your business, and make sure that the answers to these questions are always consistent, but also evolving as your business grows. Anyone who walks into a McDonalds can generally expect the same environment, same food, and the same level of service whether they’re in New York or California. Franchises are designed that way on purpose. Not only does replicating branding decisions make scaling a business easier — it makes your company instantly recognizable to the public.
Internally, consistency across a corporate office lends to a stronger sense of brand among your team and prevents brand disassociation.
If you or your customers can’t seem to recognize your business in the market, here are some tips to remedy your image:
- Use a style guide that clearly illustrates the fonts and colors you use, as well as guidelines for logo placement.
- Use imagery with cohesive designs in marketing messages. Your signage shouldn’t look vastly different from your flyers, banners or even emails and social media posts.
- Creating campaign familiarity across platforms helps build consumer comfort and reinforces your branding. Think about the AIDA Funnel and what you’re trying to accomplish - Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
- Note: If you need help with streamlining your graphic designs, Displays2go offers Design Services on many custom displays at an affordable industry rate.
- Consider where your marketing materials come from. Your displays can say a lot about your brand, and using similar fixtures across locations can give your business a distinctive look and feel.
2. Do you know your audience?
When defining your brand, it’s just as crucial to know who your customers are as it is to know yourself. A good place to start is by surveying your customers. Do you know what they’re interested in? What drew them to you? Do you notice any patterns in their demographics, behaviors or hobbies? Understand what is important to your customers in the context of your relationship, and use that information to craft more relevant ads and promotions.
Also, define which types of consumers your business attracts. Creating detailed buyer personas helps marketers to create targeted campaigns towards consumers’ various wants and needs. Remember, not all of your customers are the same, so when studying your audience, consider segmenting them by their pain points, attitudes, and motivations.
3. What is your value proposition?
You can think of a value proposition as a sort of elevator speech about your company. In 30 seconds or less, are you able to describe what your business does to a total stranger?
When you think of value, you want to think about the intangible qualities of your organization that are different from your competitors. Any business can claim that they have high-quality products or exceptional service, but there are (hopefully) some things that are truly unique to you. It goes without saying that these qualities should be truthful — you don’t want to try to “spin” a quality that every business has to make it sound unique or claim that you do something that you don’t. Remember, your brand is the public’s perception of you, not your own.
One helpful branding exercise is to craft a brand fantasy. This exercise asks you to capture the way you want your customers to feel about your brand, build a mood board with word and image associations, and imagine how your brand would appear and behave if it were a living creature. When developing an online glasses brand, the co-founders of Warby Parker created a mood board with the Blue-Footed Boobie at the center - a quirky looking bird with vibrant blue feet that are now a part of the company’s style guide.
4. What are your core values?
Whether you realize it or not, values guide our every decision - both as business leaders and as people. At Displays2go, our core values are Passion, Integrity, Partnership, Innovation and Growth.
While it may seem arbitrary, having established core values can transform your company’s culture and image from the inside, out. Having a core ideology also keeps your decisions guided and focused.
An excellent tool for determining your organization’s core values is Carnegie Mellon University’s values exercise, which asks you and your employees to choose from a list of values which resonate most with each of you individually. Try to find commonalities among your team’s responses to come up with a list of the top 5 values that you believe apply to your business as a whole.
Branding is about shaping the public's perception of your company. To create a brand that has integrity and is instantly recognizable, it's important that your messaging is consistent, both internally and externally. By asking important questions about your business's current marketing efforts, customers and stakeholders, key differentiators, and values, you'll come closer to having clarity on your brand.