Branding Basics 03 - Top tips for setting up your brand
My latest blog posts on branding have detailed what a “brand” is, what “brandING” is, and how to tell your brand story. Once you have thought these things through, it is then time to set up your brand, and in this week’s blog post I give you my four top tips for doing just this.
This is basically a definition of your vision, your mission, your values and your promise. It is the articulation of your brand story. Get it on paper. The reason for this is that your brand strategy, once it is set up and if it’s done correctly, will probably never need to change. This strategy document sets out the high level stuff that you believe in passionately. Your brand strategy can be developed through an agency like ours, or you can do it yourself, but it is important that it’s there and articulated. Sometimes, people will come and go in your organisation, or even leave, so having a brand strategy document at the core of your organisation means that if people drop off or leave, there is still that long-term, future solution in place that everyone can connect to. It can become part of the induction process to ensure your staff “live the brand”. If the don’t know about it - how can then live up to it?
It is also very useful to have something like this to be able to brief in new project teams and help to ensure your marketing initiatives are anchored in a over-all strategy. Having put this together it will also help you. In moments of chaos (they will come!) and you are unsure as to what the point of it all is, going back to the brand strategy document can help to define a way forwards. Definitely define your brand. Do it on paper. Communicate it. Champion it wherever you can.
My second tip is very general, but is very important and that is to test. One thing that we might do at Attitude Design is to continually test a brands values and brand messages with the brand’s audiences. This might be done on a yearly basis, or even a two yearly basis. Of course to do this you need to know who your audience(s) is(are). It’s also very beneficial to profile your audience. When I ask people “what is your target audience?” they often reply “well… everybody!”. No. My question was, what’s your target audience, I didn’t ask what your audience was! In your organisation you need to target specifics and think about whether you, as an organisation, have a specific profile that you think about when doing your marketing At Attitude we do a lot in this regard and we try to humanise who we are talking to. For example, in discussions that take place within our teams we’ll say “would Bob approve of this?”. Bob is a fictional character that we’ve made up who defines our audience, and sometimes this can be extremely useful. Another, very useful way of testing your brand is to have focus groups with your target audiences to test all the activities that you’re doing and see if they are engaging on those levels. I would definitely recommend this as it helps to ensure that you get ready feedback and be able to steer initiatives based on audience feedback rather than a whim.
My third top tip is what people probably “believe” branding to be, this is the way that we push that out; our materials, all the channels of communication that we have. How are we doing this? We have to do it consistently, and so it’s important from a visual perspective that you’ve got considered guidelines in terms of how that’s going out - whether or not you do it internally, or outsource your communications, it is critical that everything is consistent. In some brand guidelines that we do, we’d also include a section on tone of voice - how do we speak? As I say, once you have your brand story sorted, all the channels can then hook into that story and narrative. How you are doing your social media - does that fit in with your brand story? How you’re doing your brochure - does that fit in with your brand story? All of these things should be speaking in the same core language to the same people in the same way.
We need to really look at our marketing activities, all our levels of engagement and think - do these actually fit in with our story? Are we telling our story through all of these things, or are we just being shortsighted and running after the first thing that appeals? How does this actually connect with us as an organisation and our mission and our vision? We’ve got to be brutally honest about this because I think sometimes the long term strategy of the brand can be damaged by short term viewing of what we're going after and how we’re speaking to our audiences. Always assess. Check your measurements. Check you're still relevant.
So I hope you’ve found these recent articles on branding useful. Don’t forget, if you need any assistance in any of the topics we’ve been dealing with, don’t hesitate to give us a call, or drop us an email.