What’s your story? What are you about? Why are you in business?
If your answers are unclear – or you’re just in it to make money – then there’s a limit to your potential.
A solid brand is:
- Consistent: And not just in artwork or slogans. Your brand and vision should be aligned and evident in operational decisions, customer service responses and how employees are treated.
- Simple and memorable: From the C-suite to the frontlines, every employee should know and understand the company’s vision and branding.
- Ownable: Once you figure out what you do better than everyone else, own it. And protect it. This is where you need to invest to maintain leadership and set your company apart.
- Relatable: Your strengths and your branding should resonate with customers in your target market.
- Reliable: Your brand is essentially a promise. Make sure it’s something you can live up to – and that you’re able to embed in daily business practices and operational decisions. (See “consistent” above.)
How to build a strong brand
Many companies need a formal brand architecture or branding strategy to map out how product lines and company divisions are unique, yet still connected to the company’s overall vision and identity. For example, Apple has distinct selling points for Apple TV vs. iPads, but they’re committed to the same brand promise: Think different. And Toyota has sub-brands in different vehicles classes.
However deep your brand strategy goes, it should remain customer focused. Figure out who your target customers are and what they need, think and want.
Both new and established brands should spend a lot of time talking to customers. Interview them, survey them, watch them using or interacting with your products. Ask new clients why they came to you. Ask departing clients why they left. Monitor online review sites and social media channels. Most customers have a lot to say – especially if you act on their insight.
With enough active listening, you’ll be able to distill customer feedback into simple terms that resonate with customers, inspire employees and align with the founding vision of the firm. From there, the task is to embed the branding into every touchpoint along the customer journey. (See “consistent” above, again.)
Branding is an inside job
Strong branding can positively affect employee recruitment and retention, especially as culture becomes more important in the workplace. Employees want to work for companies – and brands – that they’re proud of. Plus, employees who are happy are more likely to spread positive sentiments about the brand.
How Wipfli can help
Wipfli’s Prime Growth System is a proprietary operating system that helps companies create compelling brand promises – and live up to them. We help our clients achieve a state of prime where they can achieve elevated performance, increase efficiency and strengthen organizational health. Learn more about taking our free rapid assessment or download our free e-book.