Do your brand assets support your brand promise?
A wise man once said that the clothes you wear can’t disguise the soul within. The same goes for your brand. Are you presenting your brand in the proper attire? Or are you dropping it off at the prom sporting an old t-shirt and the desperate hope that someone will actually want to dance with it? Or, conversely, are you dropping it off at the monster truck show wearing a tuxedo, hoping it doesn’t get beat up?
Your brand is your company’s most valuable asset. Its purpose is to influence thought and motivate desired behavior. Its roots spring from your business strategy and run deep into every aspect of your operational framework. Your brand is a promise to the market that is described by the experience your customers have, and more deeply defined by the emotion that experience creates. Your brand is kind of a big deal. And at its most fundamental level, your marketing strategy must begin with a clear understanding of what your brand is and how to dress it for the prom. Put another way, your brand assets must reflect your brand promise.
So, what is your brand promise? What driver attributes do you have that truly set you apart from your competition? What makes you special? What experience do your customers have because of those brand attributes? And how does that experience make them feel?
If you can’t answer these questions with clarity and confidence, you’re not ready to design a logo, put up a sign, build a website, or create any of the tangible assets you use to manage the intangibles that are the essence of your brand. So first, do that. We can help with that process, but this is not a sales pitch. Whether through the expertise of an outside consultant or the capability of in-house staff, define your driver brand attributes, write your brand story, and gain a clear understanding of what your brand stands for. Only then do you begin the task of building your brand assets.
The most basic and fundamental brand asset is your name. If you’re just starting out this is an obvious starting point. If you’ve been around for years or even decades, it’s still a starting point. The thought of even considering a name change may be daunting, but after you’ve written your brand story you must consider whether your name still fits the promise of your brand. Has your service offering expanded beyond the scope of your current name? Have technological advances outdated your name? Has your target market shifted in some way that makes your brand name passé or irrelevant to them? Are there political or cultural changes to consider? Does your current name perpetuate misconceptions or create confusion about who you are and what you offer? If so, it may be time to consider a name change.
After you have created a name that is durable, unique, and strongly reflects your brand promise, it’s time to dress it up. Your name is a powerful asset in which most of your brand equity will reside, but it’s still just a group of letters put together in certain way. How it’s dressed—using type styles, colors and supporting graphic elements—makes an impression on an emotional level that goes far deeper than the name itself. As your most visible and ubiquitous brand asset, your logo must truly and faithfully reflect the promise of your brand. That means it “fits” who you are. We’ve all had the experience of being drawn to a company or a product by the visual promise of its logo, only to be disappointed by what was actually being offered. Don’t be that guy. Take the time and invest the resources to design a logo that reflects, supports and is accountable to your brand story.
Your brand assets comprise what we call your marketing infrastructure. Beyond name and logo, this also includes a slogan, signage, collateral material, website, social media platforms, even the clothes your team wears if you’re running a walk-in business. More on filling out your marketing infrastructure in my next blog.