Whilst enforcing your brand is not always straightforward, it is paramount. Every component part of your brand, from the type font you use on a letter, to the way your staff interact with a customer, speaks volumes about your organisation. When it all comes together and is consistent with your corporate vision, it can create significant brand value.
A global company like Apple is a pure example, their brand is not only at the heart of their products but also from the design of their stores to the style of their website. Apple’s zen-like methods are evident across every aspect of the company and inform the day to day decisions. Next time you step into an Apple store, take a look around, it looks effortless but its all very deliberate.
You don’t need to have Apple’s bank balance to create a strong brand. It is in your control. Customers appreciate the consistency of a high-quality experience and that is why they come back for more. As soon as any element of this is diluted, you might find the ripple effects are exponential. If the brand is strong, you will have an army of regular customers promoting your business at no cost to you.
Steps to building a strong brand:
1. Ensure your vision and values work in harmony with your brand
If the vision for your company is at odds with your brand, you will confuse your customer base. The products, service and branding should all work together to give your customer a positive interaction with your company.
2. Build a clear and simple set of brand guidelines for all to follow
The use of the word build here is key; brand guidelines take time to put together and once developed will need regular maintenance.
3. Thread your guidelines through every part of your business
The brand needs to inform ‘how we do things around here’. In order for this to work, the policies and procedures of the company need to be conducive to allowing the brand to flourish. The brand is what will attract prospective talent as well as custom.
4. Regularly train your staff on the vision and brand so that they are informed advocates
Every person in the organisation should be able to simply describe the brand values and vision. They can’t do this without training. Regular training costs nothing and ensures every member of staff is conveying the brand in a unified way.
5. Monitor for consistency and add to your guidelines as new areas of the business are discovered
Keep an eye on the execution of the brand and ensure it is being followed. Monitoring it will pick up any issues and identify gaps in the guidelines that need to be addressed.
6. Is it time to refresh the guidelines
The brand guidelines should be revisited as often as possible, even just to reaffirm that they are accurate. Anything can trigger the evolution of your guidelines, from a breakdown in its use to a new innovation. Take the time to consider the impact of such scenarios on your brand.
“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.”