Experience tells me the vast majority of business owners do not understand branding very well at all.
When I ask ‘What does branding mean to you?’ the reply is often ‘it’s my logo.’ Well that’s part of it, but not anywhere all of it.
When explaining the concept of branding, I often use our five senses to describe it – we have touch / feel, vision, sound, smell and taste. If there is any possible way to experience a business at any level, we can do it with any one or combination of our five senses.
What does your business feel like when someone interacts with it – at any level? Is it fun? Is it intense? Is it cool and funky? For example, when you think of one of the world’s most successful companies, Apple Inc., how does it make you feel?
What does your business look like? Your premises, vehicles, uniforms, stationery, people, and so on.
What does your business sound like? How is the telephone answered? What kind of language do your team use? What does your on hold music sound like?
What does your business smell like when someone walks into your premises? Is it fresh and breezy, or stuffy and musty? Are your toilets clean and smell nice?
What are the tastes like? What is the quality of your coffee and tea that you serve your clients and customers?
Every possible ‘touch point’, that is every possible way that a person can interact with your business will reflect on your brand.
If you were to review all of the above touch points, do they represent the way in which you want your business to be perceived by your customers and potential customers?
In short I describe brand as the sum of everything you do. Your brand is a promise to the market you’re in, and your brand is directly affected by how congruent you are to your promise. In other words, how well do you deliver on your promise? That is your brand.
How well do you protect your brand? For example, do you allow your team members to wear your business uniforms when they go to the pub? Do they get drunk representing your business? Protecting your brand is as important as developing your brand. Treat your brand as if it were one of your children, it’s worth it!