How branding & company image help potential customers & employees make decisions about you.
According to Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition Collegiate Dictionary, a brand is a mark made by burning a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership; a printed mark or trademark used for similar purposes; a mark put on criminals—even a mark of disgrace.
Branding is about everything that wraps up your company’s package–and everything inside the package, too. Everything you do (or don’t do) as a company supports and enhances (or detracts from) your company’s brand. So once you’ve got your logo established, where do you go from there? Here are just a few areas that make a huge difference in your branding efforts.
The Three E’s
Engage. Your tag line is your promise to your customers. They take it seriously, and so should you.
- Does your tag line further identify what your customer needs to know about you?
- Are you following through with it: backing up your words with action?
- Can your customers use your message to gauge what they can expect from you (i.e., benefits)?
E-Communicate. External communication is every form of contact your customer has with your business. Believe me, they’ll remember how you treat them.
- Do your print advertising, website, business cards, etc., all have a cohesive look and feel?
- Do both your written and spoken voice uphold company standards?
- Are your employees on board with your mission (e.g., answering phones and emails, dress code, customer service)?
Evolve. Don’t stop now. Every customer interaction is a gained or lost opportunity to expand your brand. You need to give them a reason to return.
- When your industry changes, do you change with it? Better yet—do you anticipate change and react ahead of time?
- Do you offer your customers ever-increasing benefits (i.e., value) for their money?
- Make your company a leader in its field. Find the thing that everyone else is not doing. Then set out and do it!
Whatever the purpose, branding remains a permanent image in the consumer’s mind. Most companies, if they are serious about themselves, put loads of time, effort, and money into brand development. Beyond colors, designs, fonts, and logos, branding is ultimately about story. What’s your company’s story? What are your employees’ stories? What’s your story?
1 Jeff Bezos. BrainyQuote.com, Xplore Inc, 2012. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jeffbezos173309.html, accessed February 27, 2012.
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