As the leader of your organization, your personal brand is influential on the company brand. Your personal brand doesn’t stay at the office when you are online, so is your brand. Have you ever thought about how your digital footprint may be larger than you think and can impact your company brand? According to the Pew Research Center, word-of-mouth is the most popular channel for sharing with 72% of people getting news from friends and family. Studies have shown that consumers discuss specific brands casually 90 times per week. If you are in business to make a profit, branding matters!
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors. Brand equity lies in customer response. To put it simply, a brand’s equity is how people feel when they hear your name. Think about some of your favorite brands, what emotion do they bring to the surface for you – happiness, security, loyalty, reliability, fun, joy, warmth, vigor. The challenge for you as a leader is to make sure your customers have the right kind of experience with your brand. Why is this important? Experiences with your brand are impactful on:
· Your customer’s perception of your product/service performance
· Your communications are more effective
· Opportunities are created for brand extensions
· Ability to recruiting & retaining employees
· Increased financial returns
So how do you build an effective brand building program? Here are 4 ways you can build your brand value:
1. Review what your brand elements say about your brand. Your brand name, website, logo, symbols, slogan, salespeople. Evaluate the psychology of color – did you choose your colors well?
2. Evaluate where and how are you promoting your brand. Are the channels (social media platforms, radio, billboards, salespeople, etc.) cohesive in their message? Are you on the right channels where your customers are consuming the content? Are you providing your customers with content that is relevant, that matters to them or are you just pushing ‘sales talk’ and ‘fluff’ content?
3. 65% of people are visual learners. Analyze the visuals you are using for your company, the advertisements, interior design, business cards, product labels, staff photos, social media and blog images. When doing so, ask yourself, are they brand building (memorable, meaningful and likable) and defensive (transferable, adaptable and protectable)?
4. Mystery shop the various touch-points of your business. If you haven’t defined the touch-points, start there! Touch-points include personal observation and use with your brand, word-of-mouth, interactions with your staff, telephone and chat experiences, payment transactions, and online. Defining your touch-points is an important part of your customer journey, another topic we will review soon.
Taking time to invest in branding programs for yourself and your company has proven to pay dividends. As with any success; commitment, discipline, time and effort is required. Taking a strategic approach to your brand begins with focus. As Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Next week we will dive into ways to analyze and understand your customers, your competitors so you can work smarter. If you have any feedback or suggestions, comment or email. I’m always looking to provide relevant, timely and helpful information to help you have more humane and productive workplaces that can sustainably grow.