What’s in a brand?
Brand is more than your logo. Every contact your organisation has with stakeholders is a brand-building activity, because at the end of the day, your brand resides in the minds of people. Your staff, your suppliers, your business partners and especially your customers.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
Strong brands are consistent – they offer a consistent promise or message to the market that matches the actual experience.
What we often call ‘the brand’ refers to unique, memorable assets or brand codes. These can be visual (as in a logo, a colour or a font) or auditory (think about the intel sound, or the Louie the Fly jingle for Mortein bug spray – now try to get them out of your head!) These brand codes allow people to identify your brand, and when applied consistently, create an association.
Take Nike as an example. Most people would instantly recognise the tick or “Swoosh”, associating it with sportswear, fitness, elite athletes, etc. Thanks to a long history of good branding and consistent messaging – including a very memorable “Swoosh” – most would also associate the Nike logo with a feeling of high quality or superiority over other brands. It’s the strength of this association that generates value.
Just about all organisations will have at least two valuable brand assets – most often your name and your logo. Some tips on looking after your logo can be found here.
Renew, refresh, or retain?
Before you hire a designer, choose a new name or start sketching your new logo, be very sure about its current value.
You might like to do some market research to test how well people know your brand and which assets are the most memorable. If you find your current assets (or brand codes) are very strong, it may be best to retain your current logo, name and other valued brand features. Changing it completely could risk losing recognition among the stakeholders you want to connect with, or damaging your brand value. For example, other aspects of your brand (such as your customer engagement, service quality or accessible pricing) maybe the assets that your customers value most.. If your customer has to work harder to find your brand, they may not find it at all. If you no longer offer the brand assets that they value, they’ll go elsewhere.
Look at your competitors. Are there similarities between your logo and theirs? Is there a common image or visual that depicts your service offering? Do they use similar colours?
Let’s consider distinctiveness versus differentiation. Distinctiveness is how your brand is recognised and identified by your customers. It is not a reason for purchasing a product or service, but simply a person’s recognition of an organisation and its brand. Differentiation is what drives a customer to make a purchase. It is a relevant, important difference that your organisation offers over your competitors. Is your organisation distinctive? Do you offer differentiation over your competitors?
Next, consider whether your name reflects your offering? If neither your organisation’s name or logo reflects your service offering, you might consider adding a tagline. In our last article, we discussed how CBB often uses a tagline that states “salary packaging and business consulting” to clear up any confusion about what it is we do. It can often be a simple way to add clarity, or can be used as a differentiator between your organisation and your competitors. If you do decide to add a tagline, be sure it adds value.
Sometimes a refresh is a better option. Retaining the assets that people recognise (like a specific colour, for example) while updating the look to better fit your values and help you stand out in your sector.
If you find any of your brand codes send a message that doesn’t serve your purpose, then it’s probably time for a change.
How to tackle your rebrand
A few things to remember if you decide to rebrand:
- Start with strategy. Getting a market orientation can help you understand where you are now, and allow you to plot a course for change, based on the needs of the community that you serve. Read this article for more information on market orientation.
- Measure the effectiveness of your current brand assets. If any of your assets are particularly strong, consider keeping them or modifying them, rather than removing them altogether. Any assets which are weak and don’t add value to your brand should be replaced.
- Do your research! Compare your brand to your competitors’. What works and what doesn’t?
- Set a budget. Whilst rebrands can be done cost-effectively (particularly if you have the required skills within your organisation), the costs will vary based on the size of your organisation, and how far you want to take it.
This article on How to nail a rebrand from the get-go provides some great tips for planning a rebrand for your organisation.
Decided to stick with your logo and name? Here’s how to look after it. Still unsure? Do some homework on your brand now and you’ll be on the path to making the right decision.
If you would like some help with understanding your market and your brand assets, contact our consulting team.