Branding animals, that’s how this all started. A farmer wanted to make sure everyone knew which were his cattle so he branded or burnt a symbol into their hide with a hot iron rod. The same went for crockery, timber and even slaves! Branding showed ownership, especially of high value goods; essentially it meant ‘leave it, it belongs to me’.
Over time, the definition of branding has evolved to include a new meaning. Here we are in the 21st century and we have branding experts, an integral part of the marketing mix. If only those farmers knew!
A brand today is so much more than a logo; it’s your point of difference, it’s what you stand for and how others see you. As I’ve said on this blog before, your brand is one of your most valuable business assets. It is what people come to expect from your business; whether that’s high or low cost, high value or high quality. Yet there are those that continue to tread rough-shod over their brand, regardless of heritage, loyalty and equity.
Don’t assume that your brand is basically just a marketing term for your logo, it is so much more than that! Your brand is every touch point associated with your business; it is how you are perceived, how you communicate and how you present your business to the outside world. From sales people calling on prospects to the personnel answering the phone; your email signature to vehicle livery, all of these need to reflect your brand’s personality and/or your mission statement.
Brand, Brand, Brand
Above all though, and this is a personal bugbear, be consistent! Creating, developing and growing a brand can take a long time yet it can be destroyed in an instant through poor judgement and a lack of brand control, particularly international brands.
And remember, your team has a duty to adhere to your brand and business goals. Brand loyalty isn’t just for customers, it’s for employees too!