All About Brand

Posted on: October 17, 2014 by: DedePerkins

images      The best brands have a memorable name and tagline, a compelling logo, and snappy, likeable copy. We all know this, right? But do you know that brand is much more than just image and tagline? The brand, whether it is tended to or not, is the way people feel about a particular business, product, or service. The best brands evoke a positive response. The question is, does yours?

Whether you manage your business brand or not, make no mistake, if you have a business, you have a brand.

 

  • Your brand is your reputation; it’s what you’re known for, what sets you apart from the competition.

 

  • Your brand is your culture, the way you treat customers, whether you give a 50% or 110% effort.

 

  • It’s your customers’ gut level reactions when they hear the name of your business, product, or service.

 

  • Your brand is the impression you make each and every time you answer an email, pick up the phone, and shake a client’s hand.

 

Does your brand evoke the response you want?

 

Let’s start with image.

While image is just one of many factors to consider when analyzing your brand, it is the face of your business and therefore, is quite important. If your business has an outdated image, customers may think that your products and processes are outdated, too. And even if they don’t want to, the little voices inside your customers’ heads may be whispering that it’s time to try something new, something a little more current and a little more fun.

 

If you get a pit in your stomach when you look at your logo, know that even the best-known and beloved companies change their images now and again.

 

Case in point: Do you remember this logo?

 

Apple_first_logo-1

 

Credit: “Apple first logo” by The original uploader was TigerK 69 at Wikimedia Commons – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_first_logo.png#mediaviewer/File:Apple_first_logo.png

 

 

Yep, that’s Apple Computer’s first logo, drawn by Ronald Wayne. (In case you’re wondering, as I was, that’s Isaac Newton under an apple tree.)

 

 

Although it was replaced in 1998, this logo is probably more familiar.

132px-Apple_Computer_Logo_rainbow.svg

 

Credit: “Apple Computer Logo rainbow” by Rob Janoff – This vector image was created by converting the Encapsulated PostScript file available at Brands of the World- view/download.Remember not all content there is in general free, see Commons:Fair use for more.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_Computer_Logo_rainbow.svg#mediaviewer/File:Apple_Computer_Logo_rainbow.svg

 

 

Finally, here is the current version we all know and (some of us) love.

 

118px-Apple_logo_black.svg

 

Credit: “Apple logo black” by Image SVG créé par Utilisateur:Quark67 avec Inkscape à l’aide de la police de caractère Helvetica fournie avec Mac OS X. (Original uploader was Quark67 at fr.wikipedia) – Transferred from fr.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Kyro using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apple_logo_black.svg#mediaviewer/File:Apple_logo_black.svg

 

 

So if Apple can change its logo, if necessary, so can you.

 

Next up: your website

Look at your website, and I mean really look at the navigation and all the pages. Notice how fast the pages load. Look at the font, images, copy, and color scheme. Now check your competitors’ sites. Do your competitors have more up-to-date websites with stronger images and more energetic copy? Do their websites load quickly and properly, especially on mobile devices? How does your business’ website compare?

 

How about your processes and customer service?

Do you make is easy for customers to purchase and use your services or products? Do you answer questions and deal with complaints promptly and politely? Do you welcome customer interaction? Do you do more for your customers than you need to?

 

What’s your grade?

If you were a teacher, how would you grade your brand? I really hope you’d get an A. Okay, even an A- or B+ would be pretty good. But if you’d give your brand a B- or lower, it’s time to get to work.

A shiny new image won’t save a business with lousy products or customer service, but it can certainly energize a solid business that just needs modernizing. Sort of like replacing the red Formica countertop in your 90’s-esque kitchen; it won’t make you a better cook, but it will make your kitchen more attractive and certainly more marketable should you decide to sell.

 

What’s next?

If you need to update your image, make appointments with a couple of graphic designers or marketing agencies and talk with each about your business, your goals, and of course, your marketing budget. Hire the best fit and ask to see at least three creative concepts. If you’ve been clear and the designer does a good job, you’ll like at least one or two. Make minor revisions if necessary and then start incorporating your new image in all marketing materials including website, signage, packaging, paperwork, and if appropriate, vehicles.

If you need an updated website, follow the steps above with an independent developer or a web design and digital marketing company. It will pay off. A properly designed and developed website is like having a well-trained, smiling employee greeting customers 24/7.

Finally, consider your processes. Make employees understand how the little things matter. Require that employees look people in the eye; use a firm handshake; smile; acknowledge issues, even when they don’t have a ready answer; find answers and solutions to customers’ questions and concerns; and always, do what they say they’re going to do when they say they’re going to do it.

And most important, make sure you take the lead. Take time to think like your customers, to anticipate needs and deliver a service or product that more than satisfies those needs.

If you do as a wise man once advised me: “Give 110%, no matter what you do“, you, your business, and your brand should be just fine.

 

Dede - headshot smallDede Perkins has over 25 years of writing, branding and marketing experience with businesses and non-profit organizations.

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