Branding – More than just a name, it’s about making your mark
Words by David Hohnke
In a world where everyone is a marketer, fewer topics invite more comments from in-house experts as branding.
However it’s not surprising that while fellow co-workers may not be the official guardians of your organisation’s brand, they are often unwittingly, the sentinel of their own personal markers.
While the genesis of branding has been hotly debated; most experts agree grabbing a hot coal fired iron and pressing your own identifier onto a cattle’s hide was a helpful way to claim ownership and a handy way to beat cattle duffers.
Some may think we’ve come a long way, however in reality tattoos and piercings are in a sense their own form of personal branding; that is making a statement about the product … in these cases often purely from a visual point of view.
“Which brings me to an interesting point – just what is a brand, and why it is so important?”
We deal with brands in every facet of our life, all day every day. The brands we notice the most tend to have a heavy visual presence; hence why most people think a brand is simply a logo of a company or an organisation, a product or an identity. However, it is much deeper and often more complex than that.
We often think of the brand as the literal physical characteristic such as the font of the Google logo, the kangaroo on the QANTAS aircraft tail or the Commonwealth Bank’s SAO dipped in vegemite. While these are important elements, in essence branding is the feeling people are left with once they have dealt with your business, product or service. In reality, it’s the feelings from the experience which remain once they have engaged with you.
While the logo is an important identifier, in reality it serves as a reminder about the experience someone has had or is going to have when they deal with you. This makes it all the more important to ensure you have followed a tried and tested process of working through and identifying all the elements of your branding which need to come together to make their experience positive and engaging.
“When looking at the branding essence of an organisation”
You need to start at the core of the business, describing who you are, what you do, what you don’t do, why you do it and what does it mean to everyone else. Then consideration needs to be given to where the business will be in the future and how you want to be perceived. Attention needs to be given to the culture, values and behaviours within your organisation and how these align with your intended branding position, along with anything else that contributes to people’s experiences, both internally and externally.
These important elements can be as simple as the name of your organisation, service or product, how your staff answers the phone, and what colours best represent your brand’s positioning and perception in people’s minds.
Choosing a name is often a tricky element of the branding process; it’s important the name backs-up the branding message and the experience you’re trying to convey. It’s also vital the name has flexibility in the perception your organisation is portraying to your staff and customers, as well as being believable and stacking up to your overall branding promise and value proposition.
Choosing a name which sits well with your culture, your people, your customers and your position in the marketplace is key, along with ensuring it conveys the brand messages and perceptions you want and you can deliver on.
“There are a number of key points to remember when deciding on a name – its distinctiveness, brevity, appropriateness, spelling, pronunciation, likability and protect-ability.”
From there the visual fun begins, with the graphic artists coming in to show how best to express the brand and the name visually; extending it throughout the organisation and into the world of your customer. Remember though, logos are on the way out and in the ever increasingly mobile digital world, icons and avatars are how your brand is being expressed.
While a great amount of thought, process and often creativity goes into the branding mix, successful brands are built on simplicity and consistency every time you engage with the organisation, service or product.
Take the Nike ‘swoosh’, the McDonalds ‘value’ meal proposition or BMWs ‘sheer driving pleasure’; simple elements backed by every experience you have with the brand to deliver on the ‘promise’ being made to ensure the feeling you’re left with is what you were expecting in the first place…
Is your brand, business or personal, living up to ‘the promise’?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Hohnke is one of the keynote speakers for Mind Body Business. David Hohnke