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Much talk about branding is dubious. Hopping aboard the brandwagon is a prolific pastime causing the true nature of branding to be often shrouded or positioned ephemerally by those keen to avoid scrutiny. But building a brand is not just about your logo, your followers, your palette or your public face – your identity – and it applies to all businesses.A resilient brand is largely powered by one fundamental thing: your promise to your customer.
Keeping your promise is essential. Even in an era of fancy-pants metrics and whizzy analytics the strength of your brand is crucial. While a Forrester Research figure – 57% of a buying decision is made before your client is even in contact with you – is often touted, this shouldn’t be taken strictly at face value. For example, it depends on the product and whether you simply want to get something quickly and cheaply.
Many of us don’t care if our headache tablets don’t have a swish logo, as long as the basic ingredients do the trick.
Nonetheless, if you intend to be in business for the long haul, what you bring to the table before prospects sit at it matters a lot.
Once you crack brand gold, the result is emotional. This is driven by your customer experience. Drink and food companies build strong brands by creating consistent products over and over for loyal consumers.
And as much as it is difficult to build a great brand, they can be destroyed faster than a ‘total crap’ comment. Remember the great brand Orange built? Even before it was gobbled up by EE it had become just another inaccessible, unfriendly telco.
While many in marketing don’t have a say over the quality of a brand’s products, the elements within our control are most aspects of customer contact.
- Your advertising and marketing must reflect the values of your brand, not just engage in fleeting trickery.
- Your website and other comms need to live and breathe those values/promises throughout.
- Your contact points have to be suitable and approachable – if you trade on personal service and you have no contact name, an info@name sets a rubbish tone.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you operate, your interactions with your customers have to deliver on the promise of what you stand for.
For some delicious insights on branding, John Murphy
founded Interbrand and pretty much reinvented and popularised the whole game.
He’s written a book about his experiences – Brandfather.