What is branding?
Often when people hear the word brand, they think of a logo, but your logo is really just the tip of the iceberg. Your brand is so much more. It is your reputation.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” It is the foundation that your business is built on, your values and your mission, but most importantly, your actions. And finally, your brand is your message. It is your story.
An Effective Brand
An effective brand is recognizable, valuable, a symbol of trust, inspiring and consistent.
Effective brands are recognizable. With over 80 years of family history and experience, Samson Tug & Barge has become one of the largest shipping companies in the Southeast. When we worked with Samson to refresh their brand, keeping the history and integrity of their brand was key.
Effective brands are valuable. How many times a day do you use Google? It might be a quick online search, sending an email or seeking directions. They created a brand that has become a part of everyday life.
Symbol of Trust
Effective brands are a symbol of trust. Alaska Airlines has ranked as one of the safest airlines in the United States for six years. On CNN’s website, it is reported that they are the 8th safest airline in the world, and the top in the US! Do you trust them?
Effective brands are inspiring. Dove inspires body positivity. The were one of the first brands to use models of all shapes and sizes, without using Photoshop to retouch their models.
Effective brands are consistent. Consistency makes it easy for your customers to know what to expect and that works to create trust. Consider Nike. They have had the same brand slogan for over 30 years. You know it well, don’t you?
Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise is your story or your message. This includes your mission and vision statement and your core values. It should reflect who you really are, not who you want to be. Are you living it every day? Does it connect with your customers?
At Bplans.com, Jonathan Michael tells readers that “The best example of a mission statement will define a company and its purpose in 30 seconds or less. With your mission statement, you should be sure to cover what the goals of your business are for three primary components: customers, employees, and owners.”
American Express shares their core values on their website. Does this reflect who they are?
- Customer Commitment
- Respect for People
- Good Citizenship
- A Will to Win
- Personal Accountability
Story telling has become a popular approach to marketing because it works! Everyone loves a good story. Creating a narrative can evoke emotion and is a powerful way to connect with your customers. Make sure you are authentically you and watch as your story works to builds strong customer loyalty.
Stories That Work
TOMS and Patagonia both tell stories that work. “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.” TOMS story tells you that they exist to help those in need, to make someone’s life better. They create an emotional response. You trust them. You feel good when you buy their shoes. Patagonia has a website, Worn Wear, where customers can purchase repaired worn clothing and share their stories. Read about coats that have been passed down from grandfathers, epic wilderness adventures, and clothing that lasts and holds memories forever.
The best marketing you can get is your customers telling your story for you.