What is a brand?
A brand is a high impact representation of how you conduct business – it’s your promise to the customer that they will get consistent service. Its function from the point of view of the customer is to reduce the risk of making a decision. People buy brands they feel safe with.
We generally think its about image, logo design etc. But really its about performance, process, systems and people.
The key question is how far is your vision of what you want your company to be communicated to the customer by every contact with your literature, web site or staff – what marketeers like to call touch points.
The easiest – in fact the only – way to get this right is to have your staff aligned around the companies purpose, to have good processes for them to operate and obviously have on offer something that people want to buy.
How do you develop a brand?
A brand is one of the things that make up the intangible value of a business. As you get more established, other people tell your story for you: partners, advocates, existing customers. They are usually more persuasive than you are yourself. Your way of doing business becomes as important to the customer as the products themselves.
Once it’s established it takes on a life of its own and starts to attract business over and above your direct marketing efforts. It can be used to endorse new products. It has a value known as brand equity. It adds value to the company and needs protecting. In today’s corporate businesses intangible value represents up to 85% of the share price. The value of the the world’s top brand, Coca Cola has been estimated at $69 Billion. Even the 10th ranked Brand, Mercedes is worth $21 Billion.
However it gets created quickly – like quick drying cement. The early history of an enterprise – its first product, positioning, campaign and CEO – creates a signature which hardens into a brand prototype that eventually leads to a brand identity.
Once this identity has emerged, a good designer will capture it into a logo and an overall look and feel for the company’s communications. Shape, colour and font selection are all important. To do this properly requires using branding professionals – this is not something you want to try at home.
What we can offer
Branding is a thing that’s time consuming to get right. We offer workshops to help you work through the fundamentals of capturing your story so you can turn it into a brand.
These are not just aimed at external campaigns. Internal branding is also critically important for service companies. Wally Olins in his great book – Olins on Brand – says that if you’re selling products you spend most of your time, money and energy convincing the world that your products are best. If you’re selling services the same amount of effort goes into keeping your own team on-side. He goes on to add that the great thing about selling chocolate is that it doesn’t get tired and doesn’t answer back.
Finally we have a one day Vision and Branding workshop which we developed for Sussex Enterprise.
We also recommend 4 books to help you with your branding activities and invite you to join the Brand Network which is a business club on Ecademy that I run with Mark Wing – a branding expert. You can join the Brand Network here
These are the books on Branding we think you might find useful
Olins on Brand
The Beginners Guide to Colour Psychology
Influence Science and Practice
New Strategic Brand Management
Designing Brand Identity