10 Point Branding Checklist
With limited resources, consistent messages are key. Brands create short hand messages that customers recognize. Brands cut through message clutter because they provide hooks that the public is familiar with. In a communications filled environment, brands set you apart from the competition. Often brands are intricately intertwined with marketing strategy.
Brands are intangible promises made tangible through recognizable signs. Brand elements can be grouped into:
- Intangibles: relate to the specific promise, personality, positioning and emotion.
- Tangibles: are identifying symbols such as logos, graphics, colors and sounds such as music, jingles and voice.
Brands assure customers of consistent performance and trust. They create emotional rather than rational bonds. They’re a promise between the product/service and the customer that contains implicit assurance of quality in every encounter with the organization. Brands are about the total experience.
3 Important elements of a brand
From consumers’ perspective, brands contain three important elements that create perceived value.
- Personality. Collectively the different facets of a brand give it a personality that’s larger than the sum of the separate elements. As a result, brands stand out in the same way that celebrities or sports stars do.
- Tell a story. Each brand, like people, has its own tale that’s intricately intertwined with the public’s perception. Never underestimate the importance of this story because people are used to listening to stories. (Here’s additional marketing advice related to stories.)
- Consistent. Brands are always the same and this give customers a warm fuzzy feeling. Customers know what they are going to get. While brands may have a price tag, this dependability is what shoppers are paying for.
5 Factors that Make Brands Important
While building long-term brands takes time and investment, brands provide the following five features.
- Brands increase sales or achieve another similar goal.
- Brands create enhanced value beyond a generic product or service. Even more important, brands contribute value to organizations that translate to higher stock values.
- Brands provide shorthand that represents customers’ emotional attachment to the product and/or service.
- Brands are attached and interconnected with a company or organization’s history.
- Brands can be applied across the organization. Brands create a hook so consumers remember your organization.
Where do you start to create a brand strategy?
Where do you start to build a brand? Before you contact your advertising agency or branding firm, take a deep breath and work through these questions because a brand requires more than a sexy logo. It’s about the history and personality that your firm brings to the table. Here are twelve questions to help you start developing your brand.
- What does your product or company do? List your organization’s specialties or niches.
- How do you provide your products or services? Consider whether there’s something special, unusual, or significant about the way you do business.
- What target market(s) does your firm service? Think about who your audience is and why?
- What do customers want or expect from your organization? List the benefits that customers derive from your company.
- What does your competition do? What are your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses relative to your competitors? Remember that it’s critical to think from your customers’ point of view.
- How does your company set itself apart from the pack? What makes your firm special.
- What is your brand or company’s name? What associations do customers have with it? Are they positive or negative? How can you improve them?
- What are your brand’s visual cues? How does the public perceive these?
- What language/voice/audio are associated with your brand and/or organization? Does it sound like a real person?
- What colors are connected with your brand? What images do these bring to mind?
- How are images used with your brand or company? Are they photographs or other images used?
- How is text presented? What typeface is used? Which type of words? How does this related to your brand?
Brands are a critical element in today’s marketing mix. They deliver a level of consistency and knowledge that go beyond a logo. Brands provide personality, stories and consistency.
What do you think about branding? Is there anything else that you’d add to this list and why?
Photo credit: Branding sign by Wesley Fryer via Flickr