May 28, 2020 |
Ways to Guarantee You Have a Brand That Lasts
Let’s take a couple of seconds and think about the biggest brands that are in our society today. Apple, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, so on and so forth. What is it about those brands that separates them from others? It’s safe to say . . . quite a lot. Each one of those brands is more than a logo, more than a catchphrase, and more than their products or services. Those brands are synonymous with missions and purposes beyond selling their products.
For instance, think about TOMS shoes. TOMS is more than just a trendy brand of shoes: for every pair you buy, another pair goes to someone in need! </p
Now, we aren’t trying to say you have to go THAT BIG with your altruistic nature. However, when you are looking to develop your brand, making sure you go beyond the logo is important. In this article, we want to help you position your company in a way that not only separates you from your competition but gives you a brand and company identity that is evergreen and stands for something more than just your products or services.
What is a Brand?
Buchanan Brand + Design defines a brand as the way that anyone perceives a company, organization, or individual. We believe brands are more than just logos. Brands evoke a feeling, tell a story, and create loyalty. This all happens long before anyone ever purchases your product or service!
In other words, brands are perceptions.
The biggest mistake a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs make early on in their business is that they contract a graphic designer to create a logo, and then they buy a URL, print some business cards, and begin doing business. Unfortunately, this practice just simply will not have the same reach as a well-defined brand.
Think about it more like this, If NIKE were just the SWOOSH, would you know they were a sports brand? Now think about their tagline: Just Do It. That says a lot more than simply just a checkmark would. That subtle difference tells a lot to the community about NIKE. We aren’t trying to say you have to be as established as a company like them, but with the right amount of guidance, it is possible to develop a brand strategy that hits all the same marks as these large organizations.
In short, a Brand is more than a logo!
What are the Elements of a Brand?
The Brand Bullseye
The Brand Bullseye is very important whenever we begin any Brand Development Strategy. The Brand Bullseye comprises 5 parts: Objectives, Vision, Values, Mission, and Purpose.
This part of your brand is something that our team is extremely skilled at helping our clients develop. If you are unclear on any of these universal truths about your brand, we would welcome an opportunity to assist you. This phase is critical and requires deep levels of research and expert positioning. Ultimately these 5 components of your brand will guide your company.
What is your company’s big “WHY”. Simon Sinek has made a career out of helping companies understand their purpose beyond simply selling their products and services. The Purpose of your company is why you do what you do. Why are you providing the public with your goods and services? Again this is an exploratory process and something we can help you define.
Once you have developed your Purpose, understanding your Mission is much more simple. If you can take your purpose and channel that into a mission, you are well underway to creating a great brand strategy. When thinking about refining your mission, ask yourself:
Why do we do what we do?
What is it EXACTLY that we are doing?
For instance: If your purpose is to bring the best user experience to your customers. That’s great. A good example of a mission from that purpose would be “We want to bring the best user experience to our customers through our innovative hardware, software, and services. “ Can you guess whose mission statement that is? Correct, Apple.
Once you have developed your Purpose and Mission, establishing your company values is critical. These values will be adopted into your company culture. Values can be pretty self-explanatory, but determining where your personal values end and your business values begin is something so many businesses gloss over. If this is something you need help developing, Buchanan Brand + Design would be happy to help you.
Casting your vision for your company is an essential piece of your Brand Strategy. Making sure your Purpose, Mission, Values, and Vision are all in alignment will increase your likelihood of creating a brand that has a lasting impact. No Vision is too large – in fact, crafting a big vision will only increase the longevity of your brand strategy.
Your objectives are the achievable goals your company establishes to reach your vision. Once you feel that you understand the first four elements, begin writing down actionable and measurable objectives that will begin taking you to your Purpose.
All 5 components are equally important. They build, define, and refine each other. All of them help establish your positioning in the marketplace and create lasting potential for your brand and business!
Why Does Company Culture Matter For Your Brand?
Company culture is more than just leadership that inspires. April Armstrong, CEO at AHA Insight, defines company culture as “the unwritten, unspoken norms that drive the behavior of how people work together, coexist together and get things done.” This tags back to why developing your Brand Bullseye is so essential, it’s because it will ultimately influence your company culture. Rallying your employees around your company vision and mission will shape the interactions of your employees with each other, your customers, and the community at large.
A strong company culture is centered around the unification of your company personnel around the brand’s purpose, mission, values, vision, and objectives. When your company has internal brand alignment, everyone in the company has the potential to be an internal brand ambassador. They believe in what the company stands for at a fundamental level and that fuels not only productivity, but drive, and cohesion. Your staff will communicate your brand identity to your clients every day through their actions, and their reflection of your vision and mission.
What is a Brand Personality?
When you think of brands like Patagonia or Lululemon, what comes to mind? For most people, it would be thoughts of chic and comfortable activewear. Others may think the products are expensive and high quality. But the point is, when those brands are mentioned, they evoked a thought, feeling, and emotion. That is a brand’s personality. Developing a brand personality is the culmination of all the aforementioned materials above. Working with a branding and design agency to define your brand personality would be ideal.
Your brand’s personality needs to move beyond the product, service, personnel, and website. The personality of a brand is the reason it is identifiable to its loyal customers and why people establish highly personal relationships with it. This is why you hear people say things like, “I only drive Ford,” or, “I only wear ADIDAS”. Having a brand personality will undoubtedly create not only repeat customers but lifelong supporters.
Are You a Brand Architect?
Contrary to its name, brand architecture doesn’t refer to the physical buildings your business occupies – instead it refers to how your overarching brand treats its sub-brands, products, and brand extensions. While this doesn’t apply to many companies, for many large corporations and parent companies it’s absolutely critical. Your brand architecture is how one overarching master brand is reflected in or attached to sub-brands and products. There are a few different ways to account for sub-brands and products – also called brand extensions – but picking the correct method requires a significant amount of care and attention, and there is no one size fits all approach.
How Do You Create a Cohesive Brand Voice and Messaging Strategy?
The art of creating a cohesive brand voice and messaging strategy is actually surprisingly simple. First, you need to really understand your Purpose, Mission, and Values. Then you need to physically write out what your key messages are and make them known to your organization. Key messages aren’t just a catchy slogan either – they’re the heart of what your business is trying to communicate about its mission and vision. Your messaging strategy should always focus on sending out this style of content in every social media post, every piece of blog content, and every follower interaction.
Can You Develop A Brand Strategy?
We have repeatedly expressed throughout this article that a brand is more than just a logo. Brand Identity is not just a symbol, font, or color palette. It is all of those things and more. It’s your brand’s opportunity to position itself apart from the competition. If you want to establish a firm brand identity beyond a simple logo, please partner with a professional branding or design agency. Buchanan Brand + Design understands all of this information can feel overwhelming, that’s why we always extend ourselves to help businesses refine their brands. Even if you are already established, we can help you. In an effort to give you some quality information we have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself when it comes to defining your brand identity.
- What are your company’s specific qualities, services, and/or products you offer? Be sure to be as specific as possible.
- What is the vision of your company?
- What does your company specialize in? What differentiates you?
- Who is your target market audience?
- What is the tagline for your company? Do you have a tagline? Not every brand needs a tagline, but if you want one, make sure to keep it very short.
Your Website, and Every Form of Communication, is an Extension of Your Brand
It’s 2020, and if you don’t have a website, you’re absolutely behind the times. Most consumers will learn the meaningful details about your brand from your website, and not being online is not an option. However, being online is not enough, your website has to be designed and developed to the highest standards possible. Your website should give visitors an amazing user experience that is intuitive and welcoming, and also looks good on different devices and screen sizes. Mobile web browsing accounts for more than half of online traffic, and that number is only going up over time. But all of that is meaningless if your website doesn’t reflect the core identity of your brand. If your business is a hyper-modern startup disrupting an industry and your website looks like something out of the mid-2000’s, there is a massive branding disconnect there. Everything from the button styling, favicon (the icon on your browser tabs), to even error messages need to reflect the unique identity of your brand to give your users a cohesive experience.
Our goal throughout this article has been to provide you with a framework and guideline to help you take your business from bunk to brand in as little steps as possible. If you are looking at all of this material and scratching your head, don’t fret. Plenty of business owners and entrepreneurs come to Buchanan Brand + Design with little more than an idea. Over the past 24 years we have helped countless businesses with effective brand strategy and we look forward to helping many more in the years ahead. We are prepared to help you take your business to the level it needs to exist in the marketplace with evergreen potential, we have done this countless times for business of every shape, make, and purpose.
If you are ready to have a complete branding experience that will position your business for lasting potential, reach out to us. If you have an existing brand and know you need a complete overhaul to really communicate your purpose and mission, reach out to us. If you are ready to stop wishing your business was in a better position and start guaranteeing it will be, reach out to us. Buchanan Brand + Design is here to help you and take your business, Beyond the Brand!