Your brand is this – your brand is that. Some would have you believe that your brand is this OR that. The fact is your brand is everything. I enjoy speaking with businesses on branding and helping them to understand the what their focus should be in branding. It is almost without exception that business people assume that a brand doesn’t extend much beyond the visual elements. Most think your brand is your logo and marketing materials. When you think of it, that’s a lot of pretty heavy lifting for something visual. If that perception were true, brand problems would be a cinch to resolve – just change your image. Don’t like that soft drink – change the logo. Do you think it will taste better? Not likely. I’m guessing you’re going to have to tweak the recipe to lure you to buy.
Sales are flat? Maybe the problem goes way beyond a tired logo. Perhaps the sales staff have aged to the point that they’re not hungry anymore. Maybe your business culture has deficiencies. But chances are strong that it’s a little of everything. You’ll discover (if you’re brave enough to look) is that slowing sales is a symptom of an overall slowing of the brand. As Auston Powers might say, “You’ve lost your mojo!” And in the marketplace your mojo is your brand.
A re-brand if handled properly is absolutely more strategic than visual. But both are joined at the hip. The strategic side involves all experiences of your stakeholders. Those experiences are those that exist on line and off-line. From the way reception answers the phone to how an employee might talk about the company at a church picnic. Stupid things said on social media has in numerous cases taught business brands to react publicly where in the past it was handled behind closed doors and often ignored. Today you can’t ignore anything. Everything affects your brand.
The solution to a happy brand is to get your brand strategy in shape, then tie it all together with relevant visuals that represent your brand values and personality. This essentially boils down to defining your brand and reaping the rewards company-wide. Companies that do this right go on to raise the bar in their industries. They are the companies that inspire others to emulate them. They are the leaders. Of course it’s not for everyone. You have to be bold and willing to believe in what makes your brand great. Steve Jobs had it when he said that Apple had to develop products that were – “insanely great.” Most companies are followers. Followers embrace price over value. Followers copy smart brands. Followers allow the marketplace to define them. Followers never reach their potential or attract top talent.
And followers think that their brand is their logo. If it were only that easy.