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Who’s Managing Your Company’s Brand?

  • Do you know who is really in charge of your brand?
  • Do you think your brand starts & stops with your marketing department?
  • Do you think branding is a bunch of hype and not worth the time or expense?
what is our brand brochure stand up

Branding requires a complex network of individuals for its support and maintenance. You may have heard that you needed a brand expert to develop your brand. I can’t argue that, as it would be against my self-interest as a brand strategist, lol. But, just hiring someone to put together a brilliant and comprehensive branding strategy would still fall far short for managing your company’s brand. Once upon a time, it was sufficient to hire an agency to develop your logo and assist with marketing campaigns a couple of times a year. Those days are now long gone. With the internet explosion and subsequent growth of the ever-changing social media industry, the lives of all those working in branding changed.

Your business brand stands as a target 24 hours a day in the world of social media. Nothing “slips through the cracks” in the way of bad publicity. That one disgruntled customer now has the entire world at their fingertips to share their experience. One complaint can quickly spread globally and influence potential clients who would have never connected before social media.

Because of this always-on/always-connected world, businesses have to face the fact that branding is not as simple as tossing up a logo and having a set of colors. I’ll grant a strong logo, and standardization of your visual assets helps create continuity and trust with your audience. But, today, that is not enough. Branding is so much more.

So, just what is a branding & what do I have to do to maintain it? 

That’s a big question. Branding encompasses everything about your organization – yes, it’s your logo and colors. It’s also how your receptionist answers the phone; it’s how the retail staff on the floor respond to a customer or even their attitude when they are not interacting with customers. It’s how your delivery driver follows the traffic laws. It’s about the quality of your product or service and the emotional reaction when a prospective or existing client thinks about your company. It’s the posts on social media, the charities, and the causes for which your organization stands.

If your organization’s branding includes all of this – how is it managed? That’s where you need a team of people. Brand management goes far beyond any in-house design team or outside agency. Comprehensive management requires the active engagement of ALL your employees, from the CEO to the janitor. Everyone is a member of your brand team. Remember, your brand includes visual displays and sounds, including all conversations (between employees and clients or customers) and background music and smells (the office/retail space or the product). All of this creates an experience and emotion that influences future interactions. And don’t forget that one bad experience tends to color many good ones. It’s because of this that everyone must actively support the brand

How do you get your whole team to become brand advocates?  

You train them! Brand advocacy requires a TOP down approach. You can have training for your staff, but let me be clear if the c-suite treats employees in any manner less than how they want them to engage their clients/customers, the whole thing will fail. Customers can and will pick up on unhappy employees. It comes through in their tone of voice, behaviors, and attitude. When that happens, you have to try and clean up the mess that is left behind. Avoid it as much as possible by making the brand values and philosophies an intragyral part of the organization’s internal and external interactions. Once this is in place, how do you get your employees to understand and mirror an inclusive brand’s complex nature? Through a brand avatar, of course! By developing a comprehensive “person” to reflect your organization’s brand values, philosophies, causes, and tastes, you transform branding into something much more intuitive for most people. We can understand how to “think of a person” and know what they like, don’t like, what their hobbies are, type of music, clothing, movies, etc., that they would like. Creating a person with whom your employees can measure their behaviors, statements, and engagements when representing their brand can make those connections more effective. Your employees understand benchmarking their actions against another person – it removes the ambiguity of “the brand.”

You may have noticed that some ways of managing a brand appear to fall under customer/user experience, marketing, communications, and/or public relations. You would be right. It’s important to understand that branding does not occur in a silo; it’s more like a free-for-all where you’re trying to herd cats. That’s why you need all the support you can get and why departments must work together to ensure the continuity of behavior and response. You may have customized, bespoke businesses, but they still need to be consistent in the interactions and expectations that a customer or prospect can be assured of when dealing with you.

If you are interested in finding out just where you stand with your organization’s branding, download the FREE Branding for Businesses Workbook: What is Our Brand?

A brand is defined by Marty Neumeier as a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organizationSimply put, branding encompasses all the experiences a person has with a company, person, product, or service and how it makes them feel. It’s not what you, the business, want it to be, but what they—the public—feel, think, or emote upon seeing the logo or advertising, hearing the name, or interacting with a product or representative. In short, it is the personality of the company.

marty neumeier on brand

graphic designer drawing logo concepts from preliminary sketchs.

Branding, Identity, Logos, & Standards Demystified

Many people do not understand the relationships and differences between a brand, identity, and logo. It is a common issue. Some of these terms, and their meaning, are in states of constant evolution. Additionally, these elements are so interconnected that they cannot exist without each other. 

A logo is a mark (text, symbol, or a combination of the two) representing an organization, product, or service offering. Consequently, many people mistakenly think that the logo is the “brand.” This misconception stems from the logo marks origin as a physical brand that livestock owners burned into their chattel. Read More…