How to Properly Brand Your Company

A brand starts with a dream; an idea; a plan.  Before a business ever opens its doors for the first time, it has a personality and a purpose.  That business knows its offerings and its strengths. This is what a brand is made of.

It’s very common for people to assume that a brand as a logo but look a little deeper.  While a logo is a symbol for the brand, it is not the brand itself.  A company’s brand is what differentiates their offerings from those of their competitors. It’s not a catchy design that defines a brand; customers will recognize the logo for what it stands for and that’s their experience they have had with you, your company and its offerings.   

Your brand is simply this: how you are perceived by your consumers.

Purpose
While a company evolves to meet the needs of their customers, they must stay true to their purpose. A purpose should be defined early in the company’s creation, and only changed or tweaked after much thought, consideration and counsel.  A purpose drives the brand as it drives the methods and ethics behind all those involved in growing the company.

Experience and Consistency
Staying in tune with the needs of your consumers is vital to creating a positive experience. A great experience where all of your customers’ needs were met and each interaction was pleasant will create brand advocates.  Your customer will not only vouch for you but they will promote you—only if their experience is consistent. 

A consistent, positive experience is vital in creating your brand because your customers will be able to trust that they will receive what they need from your company each and every time.
For example, think of your very favorite restaurant.  You probably know what your favorite dish will taste like every single time.  Furthermore, I bet you suggest the place to all of your friends whether it’s in town or out of town.  This restaurant, to you, has created a consistent experience and has made you an advocate.

Interaction
We’ve all heard it before: The Customer is Always Right.  We’ve all heard it before because it’s true!  Even if the customer is technically incorrect, it is the company’s job to deliver what the customer perceives to be the expected offering.  However they came to this understanding, it is the understanding they have and the company should always strive to deliver the most satisfying experience possible. 

Remember, you exist because of your customers.  Every person representing your company should treat anyone who interacts with the company with complete respect and deliver a consistent experience – again, their perception of you creates your brand.

For example, you decided to branch out and try a different restaurant (not your favorite that we talked about from the above example of course).  You’ve read reviews, the food looks delicious, and their website is top-notch.  You arrive excited, but the hostess is rude. Not only that, but your server is short with you.  No matter how amazing the food is and how beautiful the atmosphere is, those two employees have ruined your experience.  The positive interaction of each person associated with your company is of the utmost importance to your brand.

Voice
The voice of your company could also be referred to as your tone. This is how you communicate with others through interaction and through marketing.  Think of your company voice as putting your best foot forward at all times; it’s how to make a connection and a friendship with those who interact with your company.  The tone of your company is how people will identify with you and how they will expect to interact with you each time.

Take Chick-fil-A for example (if you’re from the North, this is a Drive-Thru restaurant known for their friendliness). When you pull through the Drive-Thru you are confident that you’ll be greeted cheerfully and that a “Thank You” on your behalf will be met without a “My Pleasure” on their behalf.  They are clear that they are there to serve you, the customer, and that’s what you can expect.

Symbol
A symbol of representation should be a combination of purpose, experience, interaction and voice.  From all of these things, a logo can then be created as a symbol of the brand. To define a symbol, you must define your philosophy. Your logo, or symbol, should represent and express the personality and the beliefs behind the company’s brand.

While there are many iconic symbols representing big brands, my favorite is that of Starbucks.  It represents a story and it is telling of the product it serves.  You may recall from Greek mythology, that a siren is an enticing female figure (half fish) that would sing a beautiful, irresistible song in order to lure sea-travelers off of their course, especially sailors who could not resist temptation. 
The Starbucks symbol is a picture of the Siren “Starbuck.”  It makes perfect sense!  The product (coffee) is absolutely irresistible to many travelers as it has the power to completely lure many off of their course. This is the perfect logo, representing the product and the brand.

No matter the planning, the product, the design … a brand is nothing more than the customer’s view of a company that can be crafted only by the company’s stance on interaction and service.  So craft your plan based off of your purpose and simply live your brand.  Please contact us to learn more about branding your company!

By Stephanie Aiken