Branding: Are you Delivering on your Message? Part 1

Branding is one of the most important building blocks in the marketing of your business. Get it and your marketing plan, strategies and tactics right and you’re on your way to connecting with your ideal customers.

When I sit down with any new client, it is important before I start my work that I understand what they believe their brand is. Often this leads to much confusion of what a brand really is: Your message of why you’re in business and what you will deliver to your customers.

Branding seems to have been hijacked somewhere and somehow by industries of unMarketers – people who try and give marketing advice without any actual skillset – to be a focus on design and logos.

So when someone is focusing on their logo as their branding I question: Is your buying behaviour ever affected by a logo?

I wouldn’t have cared if Apple was called Pineapple, I wanted a Mac computer for its ease of use, clean design and to join the tribe of innovative thinking that Steve Jobs promised.

I don’t choose a bank based on the colour of their logo or the uniforms their staff wear. I look at their level of service and consistency of message, if they listen and/or meet my needs and the testimonials and experience of family and friends. [Banks may be a bad example as choosing a provider is often eenie, meenie, minie, mo, but hopefully you get my point!]

I’m not being revolutionary in saying your brand is your message and, most importantly, delivering on your message’s promise. Your brand should be clear as to why you’re in business, what you believe in, why you are different to your competitors and what service you will provide.Then you must actually deliver on everything you say.

Your brand is ultimately built on a reputation over time, and it’s only by being consistent with who you say you are and what you say you will do that people will start truly believing in you and your business.

Don’t know about you, but in the search for a service provider, I look for solid facts, not looks. And whilst a logo that shows professionalism is important, because we do “judge a book by its cover”, we also contradict this by knowing the truth that we shouldn’t “judge a book” so we will dig for further information beyond ‘good looks’.

And even if your logo has been a contributing factor to a purchase of your product, e.g. you may be a shop who’s design is inviting for entry or a product who’s label stands out on a shelf – unless you provide a good product/service, the money spent on looks is wasted as the customer will not return and is likely to tell their peers not to waste their time (in purchasing).

Branding is a really important area of your business’ marketing to get right.

It is where you need to be strong and transparent, as a business owner, in your beliefs and values. You should not be shy in saying: “This is who I am and what I believe in”. It is also vital that your whole business is in alignment from your content through to your service and your staff, which I will discuss in Part 2 of your branding.

This article first appeared in Australian Businesswomen’s Network on 24 August 2013

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