We’re going to be focusing on branding over the coming weeks and want to build up to chatting about re-positioning your brand or re-branding completely. To do this let’s chat first about branding and what it actually is, because it might be meaning different things to different people.
To us, branding and creating a brand user experience means having an opportunity to choose a unique name, slogan and image for your business, service or product that sets you apart from your competitors. Your visual brand should be consistent across your website, business cards, press releases, newsletters, stationery, social media, marketing collateral and manufactured products and packaging. It should be consistent in all external communication right down to emails being written in your brand font, where possible, and having a branded signature for all team members. Slogans can be lifted off the page and brought to life with the use of audio, video, TV and radio marketing. Your social media activity can be versatile enough to handle a blend of delivery formats.
Your brand and all it stands for should quickly and consistently differentiate you from your competitors and convey what your service or product is. Ah, no mean feat then but take a moment to think about what some recognisable brands immediately mean to you. Here’s a few of our examples:
Costa Coffee makes us think about coffee but based on personal customer experience, might also make you immediately think, ‘they’ll make me a Mocha Cooler even though it’s not on their Winter menu’. Consumers personalise brands and what they stand for and this is an example of how a brand is not just yours but your customer’s too. A friend of ours keeps mentioning how relieved he is to finally be able to order a reliably tasty Cortado in Costa Coffee without having to go to Spain for it. The Costa Coffee brand now gives him a chance to relive a happy memory of living in Spain. Incidentally, he piqued our curiosity just enough that we had to try the Cortado ourselves. It didn’t disappoint and this highlights the real power of a consumer personalising a brand.
We Airbnb – do you? Airbnb has has managed to permeate into our cultural dialogue having gone from a property listings company to a culturally driven brand. Their Bélo logo is easily recognisable and with its slogan ‘belong anywhere’ it has become known as a high-quality, customer-facing, branded service offering. With a focus on experience, community and knowledge-sharing Airbnb encourages us to ditch the tourist tag and to enjoy blending in at our destinations. Customers like us have become more than travellers seeking somewhere to stay, we have unwittingly become online advocates and content creators for the brand. It’s amazing how a branded service offering, which doesn’t employ the owners or own the assets, has excelled with platform culture making Airbnb a market leader.
We live in a fast-paced world where our attention spans are limited. You have a moment in someone’s mind for your brand image or slogan to capture a thought and make them choose to purchase from you. We recall a friend telling us she once had such an awful travel experience with DELTA Air Lines that another passenger’s jokey comment forever stuck in her mind. Many years on, DELTA stands for ‘don’t expect luggage to arrive’ for our friend and she hasn’t flown with the airline since. Of course, we doubt the service is like that all the time and the company strives to address such issues but the story serves to highlight how a bad experience can often last longer than a positive one. Businesses need to take great care not only in getting their brand right but making sure their brand delivers its promise.
What we hope we’re highlighting here is that a brand makes you feel something. If you see a brand image over and over again you make a connection with it and it starts to mean something to you. Your customers are making connections about your business based on what you are letting them see right now. Think about your own brand – do you think it’s doing what you need it to do? Feel free to let us know.
Next time we’ll be talking about how your brand logo is not the same as your brand identity.
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