When you hear the name Coca Cola what comes to mind? What about Starbucks? How about Google?
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I would bet in at least one case, something more than just thoughts came to mind. Maybe you could taste the fizzy soda or feel the refreshment on a hot summer day. Maybe you smiled and relaxed as you imagined sharing your favorite caffeinated beverage with a close friend while you took in the tantalizing aromas. Or, maybe you immediately felt a surge of confidence, knowing you could find the info you needed within seconds.
That, my friend, is the power of brand. What we often think of when we hear the word brand is logos, tag lines or color schemes. We think of marketing strategies or ad campaigns. Brand, however, is something much, much more. Your brand is the total sum of the interactions that others have with everyone in your organization. It’s the relationship that’s been created over time between your organization and others.
Some companies spend millions of dollars trying to create a brand through externals. The smart ones, in my opinion, direct their primary resources internally. Why? Because while externals do play a part, more important for your brand are the personal touch-points your people have with those using your product or service.
Consistency is one of the most powerful and important aspects of developing and maintaining a brand. Every touch-point you and your people have with others has the power to either reinforce or erode the brand you’re attempting to establish or maintain. The more consistent the customer’s experience, the stronger the brand becomes, even if the audience is small.
You might be thinking, “Branding is for large companies with a lot of resources.” Not true. Actually, if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you already have a brand whether you knew it or not, whether you like what it is or not, and whether you tried to create it or not.
You’ve developed relationships with your prospects, customers, suppliers, and possibly the community, through both intentional and unintentional means. They have all formed opinions about you as a result of the various interactions they have experienced.
So, how do you get the brand you want?