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It's Not The Logo, Stupid!
Branding is a hot topic these days. Itís not only related to products, but to the ďbrandĒ of celebrities, political campaigns, and even cities. What is a brand anyway?
The reason that great brands thrive is because of something much more than a huge advertising budget and slick marketing campaigns. People and communities are attracted by shared values. Great brands know what their values are and not only communicate them, but demonstrate these values at every level of their operations.
Within every great brand is an implied ďpromiseĒ. This promise is called the core brand message. It is the one thing that the organization can consistently deliver on, day in and day out. It has to be authentic. Imagine if FedEx didnít get your package there overnight, or Starbucks made a lousy cup of coffee!
It is this authenticity and reliability that builds trust with the brandís constituency. Trust compounds over time; a great brand will grow because of this compounding effect on its relationship with the communities it serves. Great brands define and express their values; create a core brand message they consistently deliver on; and convey and demonstrate these values and messages effectively and congruently.
So how can you benefit from this type of approach?
Branding works when it is adapted by the whole organization. This means that the brand is communicated through every point of contact internally and externally. There are many ways an organization can send out mixed messages.
When a complete branding program is introduced, all communications focus on the same consistent message; stakeholders and employees have branding guidelines for all of their communications and interactions with the community; and suppliers such as consultants, public relations, and promotions agencies have proper direction.
What a great brand is made of - the components of consistency:
2. The core brand message is a statement that includes your ďbrand promiseĒ.
3. The brand personality is a way to personalize and humanize an organizational brand.
4. The brand icons are all of the visual and audio symbols that communicate who you are.
Branding is something that takes place in the heart. Itís a relationship that is built on trust and consistency. Itís the promise in an on-going relationship between the organization and its constituency. It is built over time and compounds with time. It can be mythic and enduring, or it can be weak and superfluous.
What is the inherent strength of your brand? What do you deliver on? And what values does your organization demonstrate and live through?
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