Branding is a big concept that you approach from multiple angles. Your advertising, promotional materials, design/logo, customer service, and reputation all work together to create your brand.
With this in mind, when starting to consider your overall brand, we’ve found that it can be helpful to break it down into four categories:
Your brand strategy concerns exactly what unique value you can offer your customers. Focusing on this category means doing some research into what competitors offer, and highlighting why what you’re offering is better.
For example, maybe you have niche expertise, better customer service, higher employee retention, or different services. You’ll need to pinpoint which difference between you and your competitors are 1) the most important to your customers and 2) the most unique to you.
Whatever special value(s) set(s) you apart, a good brand strategy finds what it is and builds memorable and quality messaging around it.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “on brand” before, brand alignment is what it’s referring to. How “on brand” are the overall goals, culture, and personnel of the company? When considering brand alignment, you’ll want to make sure that every aspect of your company is consistent with your brand promise. When you’ve got a good brand alignment, your company, employees, and customers are all going to be on the same page. Employees should be able to clearly state what it is that sets you apart (see Brand Strategy above). Customers should have a unique experience when interacting with your product.
Your brand is only successful to the extent that you, your employees, and your customers can agree on what it is.
Brand communication is all about how you convey your company’s messages to the public. In one sense, this category is concerned with how you communicate your brand. So, when considering brand communication, you’ll want to think about your marketing materials and advertising strategy. How distinguishable and consistent are the design and graphics of your logo, brochures, flyers, presentations, and ads?
But in another sense, brand communication is also concerned with how other people communicate your brand. This is where a good PR strategy comes in handy. How is your reputation in the media? What are your Google and Facebook reviews like? When it comes to overall branding, what other people say about you is just as important as what you say.
You can have your brand all worked out on paper, but how does it exist in the real world? Brand execution is all about how you bring your brand to life. Your brand doesn’t exist outside of your customer’s perception of it. Focus your brand execution efforts on making sure customers have the experience your brand promises.
Decide how you want customers to interact with your personnel and product. How do you want customers to be greeted? How do you want their complaints to be answered? Do you deliver relevant and valuable services to your customers in accessible and memorable ways? Execute your brand right, and your customers will remember you.
Download our Branding Strategic Guide for a deeper dive into each of these components.
When crafting your own branding, you may find that you want to focus on some of these categories more than others. Maybe you already have a pretty good idea of what separates you from your competitors (Brand Strategy), but your promotional materials don’t have consistent formatting (Brand Communication). Wherever you want to target your branding efforts, Seventh Gear is here to help! If you want to learn more, download our Branding Strategic Guide where we break down some tips, tricks, and best practices in each of these four areas.
Ultimately, whether or not you already have a robust brand, you want to take another look at it going into this new year. It’s time to start thinking about how to incorporate some 2020 consumer trends into your brand going forward. Maybe you can adjust your Brand Strategy by emphasizing your overall brand purpose or your local appeal. Maybe you need to think about how your Brand Execution can still be strong in a virtual setting. Making these small adjustments now can make a world of difference down the line.
Throughout the process, be sure to engage your employees and customers or clients – their input is invaluable.
If you’d like personalized branding recommendations for your organization or need some more guidance from us, contact us anytime. We’d also love to hear your branding wins from 2020 – how did you set your company apart? Was the process unexpected or planned? Tell us in the comments or send us a message.
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