Welcome to my new eight-part series on reimagining your brand,
“It’s time to take stock and rethink your brand."
Are you and your brand ready for the “new normal,” and what’s next?
These past few months have given us all pause and, in many cases, some extreme challenges. And, who knows what stands ahead as we move into the "new normal.”
Crisis often causes us to focus on what's really important and can provide great clarity if we take the time for introspection, which is not always easy if you're just trying to survive. However, when you're in survival mode, we consider things we wouldn't have considered before.
Let’s not waste this “forced” opportunity to look at things from a different perspective. Regardless of your role as a CEO, HR professional, a salesperson, or a sole proprietor, now is a good time to develop a new perspective about where your brand has been and where you want it to be.
Winston Churchill said.
"Never let a good crisis go to waste."
This series will target eight critical areas of your brand.
Whether or not you are happy with your business as it is, it's a good time to look under the covers, confirm your decisions, and shore-up any holes in your branding efforts. The series covers:
Why is branding important now?
Is your brand purpose-driven?
How will you change to better serve your customer and the future?
Do your customers see your significant point-of-difference over the competition?
What is the message you want your brand to deliver?
Have you been keeping your "brand promise? "
Are your employees brand-aligned, and do they deliver on the brand promise?
Do you have an updated brand strategy?
Sign-up for the upcoming series "It's Time to Take Stock & Rethink Your Brand."
#1 in the series: So why is branding important now?
Why consider strengthening your branding in a crisis?
Somethings we can't change, but certainly, there are some things we can, and your branding efforts are one of them. Here are some very sound reasons to rethink your brand and your branding efforts when there's a crisis:
Crisis makes you look at the changes you need to make that are necessary for survival. It cuts things down to the bare bone.
Crisis forces a new perspective you usually would not have, or want to have. Pete Flint, Managing Partner, NFX says of a crisis, "It aligns all the stakeholders in your company and lets you cut through any B.S. that might have been slowing you down before.”
Crisis shakes you into reality, compels you to deal with the truth, and to look at real issues, no longer sweeping them under the rug such as brand and branding elements that have grown stale.
Crisis gives you the opportunity to look at what is important to you and your customers. If you listen, it can help you better understand your customers’ needs.
Crisis makes you look at your role in your business and your long-term plans. Are you on the right track or do you need to reinvent your business or yourself?
Crisis creates an opportunity for a silver lining, innovation; better service your customer or becoming a more purpose-driven brand.
Think of your favorite brands and how they have responded with branding efforts during these challenging times, both good and bad.
For example, consider how Amazon/Whole Foods, Airbnb, Shine Distiller, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Zoom, Zappos, and others have recently handled their brands. Many brands have gone over and above the call of duty. They've innovated, enhanced, and developed new technologies, offered new and free goods and services, cut fees, and retooled to make community supporting products. They’ve amped-up employee benefits, made donations to charities and some even starting a charity, and more.
What do you think when you hear the words "brand & branding?"
To many, the concept of a brand may feel simple or even obvious at first glance. Yet, many people may fail to realize that your brand reflects far more than the apparent aspects of your business in your logo, name, and brand colors. These identity elements are essential, but they only touch the surface of what a brand entails. In truth, your brand is far more encompassing.
Your brand is an interconnected series of product features and benefits, promises, messages, identity symbols, emotional associations, and experiences. All of these together deliver your brand's essence to your target.
It is true that your brand lives in the hearts and minds of your customers, employees, partners, and all the other stakeholders. However, the discipline of branding is where you get to define, deliver, and manage your side of the brand.
Branding involves your efforts to best shape and communicate your brand and to deliver on your brand promise.
So perhaps it is time to think about what you want your brand to say about you and how relevant that is to your customers for the new normal.
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Free 25-page e-book, "The Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid,”
Why is good branding essential?
Branding builds trust. Branding supports consistency and consistency creates trust, which is especially important now. “Consumers are paying more attention than ever to brand messaging, and are dissecting every move companies make. According to a survey conducted by MWWPR, consumers now more than ever value the “integrity of brand leadership (83%) and authenticity (68%) of messaging to how companies prioritize “the welfare of its employees (84%).”
Cleary values and actions are more important than ever.
Has the crisis exposed you? If so, let’s get that handled.
Branding stimulates awareness and differentiation. If customers don't know about you, how can they buy from you? If they don’t know what makes you unique, how can they choose you over the competition? Clearly defined visual branding (logo, colors, and look and feel) improves recognition, awareness, and highlights your unique brand. Strategic, consistent, and finely-crafted copy deliver those messages.
Branding builds financial value. The more a company invests in its branding, the stronger the financial return. You are more likely to pay more for a brand that has meaning and comes with positive feelings, authenticity, and associations. A strong brand often drives loyalty and ongoing sales. Additionally, publicly traded companies are valued at many times the actual hard assets of the company. Much of this value is due to the branding of the company.
Branding works to ensure the brand promise is delivered. A brand promise is what customers come to expect from you with every single brand experience with your brand. David Aaker, brand guru, says in his book, Aaker on Brands, “A brand is an organization’s promise to a customer to deliver what the brand stands for not only in terms of functional benefits but also emotional, self-expressive, and social benefits.”
If you’re not clear on your brand promise, how can you ensure it’s delivered?
Branding inspires and aligns employees. Most people need more than just work. When employees understand the mission of a business, its story, and its reason for being, they are more likely to be aligned with leadership. A strong brand provides the leadership and direction employees can get excited about, and a brand they want to deliver.
Branding reveals personality. A brand with an evident personality emotionally engages with customers. It appears the brand content fans want in this pandemic is the same they've come to expect. And, and in some cases, they want it even bolder. David Cohen, in Adweek, writes, brands like “Denny’s, MoonPie, and Wendy’s remain authentic and fun in a serious time.”
Defining a clear personality and using it consistently throughout all your creative,
messages and media generate trust and engagement.
Branding stimulates engagement. Thinking through your customer journey and potential touchpoints and how best to deliver a positive encounter with your brand goes a long way in creating happy customers. The more positive experiences your customer has, the more powerful the brand relationship becomes, and the more likely they are to buy. And, if you're positioned correctly, that purchase can be at a higher price.
Branding defines the rights messages. Relevant, clear, and consistent stories communicated to the right audience, attracts the right target and tribe, which drives greater engagement.
Branding creates followers, and those followers generate new customers. When people resonate with the messages and experiences of brands, they often become brand evangelists, advocates, who can create your tribe. The even better news is these people typically like to share. That third party credibility and voice become a powerful sales tool.
At the end of the day, well-managed brands simply perform better.
Without a brand plan, it would be like building a house without a blueprint. You bring all the best materials to the site, but you don’t have the plan to build a durable house to last and withstand the storms.
Are you and your brand ready for the next step? Let’s this branding series help.
Look for Laurie's next article in the series:
“It’s time to take stock & rethink your brand:
Is Your Brand Purpose-Driven?
Sign-up here for the upcoming series and our brand & marketing blog this month and receive your Free 25-page e-book, "The Top 10 Branding Mistakes to Avoid.”
Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker:
Laurie is a consultant, author, speaker, and podcaster. As principal of Brands That Deliver ™, she works with large to small clients who want to get focused and transform their brands and revenue. We help companies define their brand, engage customers, and deliver on their promises while encouraging social good. Visit BrandsThatDeliver.com or mail, Laurie, at firstname.lastname@example.org.