What’s your promise?
Many business owners hear branding and think about their brand assets: logo, font, colors, website, etc. Those are queues to trigger your brand promise in the minds of people who see them. Consistently using your brand assets make it easier for your people’s brains to trigger and have the thought of your promise (remember you). The colors, fonts, name, logo and other brand assets work together to create a trigger that works more effectively with any target audience.
What the brand assets trigger though are not images of your logo. Brand assets trigger emotions, beliefs, memories and attitudes about your company. If you do not deliver your brand promise to your customers after suggesting you would, people feel lied to. It’s hard to come back from that. I put it this way to help you remember why we have brands and why they are not your assets. Logos, colors and fonts can’t lie or make promises they help you remember an organization that does. Your brand is your promise to the world about who you are, how you deliver, what you deliver, why you care, why they should care, and what about you is “brand-worthy”.
Living up to your brand (promise)
Living up to your brand is about your employees making a connection with your audience in your unique way. Most customers can source their products and services from any number of companies that are probably very similar to yours. Customers “self-group” based on how they identify themselves and tend to do so with companies that support their self-image. If your company is the best choice according to their self-image then you must let them know it through branding. If you have provided your promise to the market, your people found it, and you delivered as promised, and they choose you again, that’s your brand working! Brand is raw and emotional. It’s why they chose you.
Do your employees all know it and work every day to deliver your promise? Why would they? Have you made it a priority in their day? Are they incented to maintain your brand? Your company has probably spent tens or hundreds of thousands training sales people to talk to your product capabilities, features and benefits. You train engineers on an ongoing basis. Has your brand team ever sat down your sales, marketing, finance, support, manufacturing teams and explained your brand promise to them? Have you explained why it’s important to them, the company, their paychecks? Probably not. Marketing is probably working for sales delivering cheat sheets and product specs. Delivery people busy delivering packages, sales spouting features and benefits that change every year. Not your promise, and seldomly what makes your company truly special.
Now, get the word out!
What are people supposed to think about your company? How do your people find you? You tell them your promise. If it resonates with your people, they come to you. If not, they go to the company whose promises resonate with them.
Branding is about your employees making a connection with your audience in your unique way. Branding people come up with the messaging that best describes why you got in this business in the first place and why that is important. Your crowd wants to know who you are (behind the products or services) and usually some part of that includes your brand promise. If you speak their language and deliver what is meaningful to them, you are the right company for them.
Now it is your job to put your message out there so your people can find you. Branding is more about creating your community based on who you are to your core. It probably says a lot about who you are and why you got in the business of serving them in your unique way to begin with.