Your business is a brand. And your brand identity comes from the heart of your organisation. Before you can work to make your brand more successful, you need to have a good understanding of your brand.
What is a brand?
Brands are as unique as individuals, with similarly complex personalities. It helps to consider a brand from two perspectives: how it wants to be seen, and how it is seen. At Mackman, we refer to this as your intended and your perceived brand personality.
Imagine you’re going on a first date. You put on your favourite shirt, splash on your go-to scent, and glance at yourself in the mirror. You think you look great. You meet your date, dazzling them with your wit and charm. These are the intended traits of a brand. A nice logo, a sharp strap-line and great customer service.
Your date is less than impressed. They found your appearance a bit dishevelled, your scent over-bearing and your conversation too one-sided. This is the same as the perceived part of a brand. It may not be a true reflection of you, but it is their perception of you.
Whilst it’s important to note that your brand won’t appeal to everyone, making sure you appeal to your target audience is key to making your brand successful.
“A brand is what someone says about you behind your back.”
Your brand’s success is determined by how close you can get your perceived personality to align with your intended one.
Understanding your brand
When you develop your brand, you need to fully understand who you are, what you do and what your customers value about your offering over your competitors. You need to get to grips with what sets your business apart from others.
To understand your brand, you’ll want to identify three key brand elements: brand promise, brand position and brand personality.
Putting aside sales, performance and KPIs, your brand promise is what gets you out of bed in the morning to run your business. It’s the essence of your organisation, your identity and what it is you stand for.
Start by reviewing or creating your vision and mission as a business. This isn’t about creating a fancy statement. It’s to take you back to the roots of why you do what you do.
Your brand promise builds on your mission statement by creating a clear message and belief system that resonates with your audience. With an understanding of your brand promise, you will start to project its values clearly, consistently and with confidence.
Your brand position is what makes you different from your competitors. It is your position in your sector. Think about what makes you special (intended), what your customers value (perceived), and what is going to make someone choose you over your competitor.
Having a clear position in your sector, means you’ll avoid mimicking other organisations and allows your brand to confidently justify its position.
Your brand personality is led by your brand promise and position. It covers everything from your brand name and strap-line, to your brand’s tone of voice and visual representation. This is your winning smile, coupled with how you smell, speak and look.
You want your brand to look good, but also feel good to your audience. Your brand is not just your logo. It’s everything. It’s the colours, textures, sounds and smells that make you authentic.
Having a clear understanding of your brand will strengthen the relationships your brand has with your customers and encourage growth, regardless of your business size or sector.
When it comes to brands (and, dare I say, dating) there’s no point pretending to be something you’re not. But it is important to understand who you are, what you do and who your audience is. Close the gap between your brand and your customers’ perception of your brand, and watch your business grow.
Bruce Burgoyne is the Creative Director at Mackman, a Sudbury-based full service marketing agency.
Next month, we’ll be looking at whether website data can really benefit your business with Mackman’s Technical Director, James Royce.