Just last week we had a new visitor ask us the question we often get: What is “Brand?” The simple answer is: everything about what your company does that separates it from the competition.
When we begin work with a new client, the first priority is to ask a lot of questions to help define their brand. Armed with a solid brand definition of who the company is today, and who they want to be in the future, we can begin to work on the external expressions of their brand - - but not so fast here.
Let’s pause for a moment and think about this simple but important idea of first defining the brand. The brand definition process starts inside an the organization with management determining who they are in terms of core competencies, who their customers are and their needs, how well they serve their customers and the things they do that are better than the competition.
Strong brands are companies that do everything so well that customers and employees connect with them emotionally. Emotion is the strongest connector when people choose products or services.
Now, imagine the power of the internal communications to employees and the external marketing communications based on a solid brand. Employee service and product offerings are consistent with the brand. External communications leverage the core brand into new messages and marketing tools that tell the story in a way that builds a sustainable buzz for the brand. New marketing tools might include a new identity, collateral support that arms the sales force, web development, social media or a better go-to-market strategy, all expressing the brand.
Strong brands make logos and identity systems really mean something. There is ownership to the advertising campaign and the website becomes an extension of the brand, searched by many and compelling to all who land there. The branded marketing and communications opportunities are endless.
We like to refer to the whole process as the inside / out approach to branding. The inside part is understanding your brand essence and extending this to your employees in the form of training to make sure they are brand ambassadors. Now, you are ready to live the brand and tell the world about it. Think about it this way: walk the walk before you talk the talk.