Branding, you may know what it is. Even scarier, you might think you know what it is, and you are wrong.
According to The Brand Gap, which I highly recommend reading, your brand is the gut feeling your customers have when they think about you. It’s not (only) your logo, corporate color scheme, the photography and copy you use in your brochures and website. Your logo (or mark), and other assets are very important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to your branding strategy, but we will get into that more another time.
Some things your brand IS:
The way you answer the phone
The tone in your emails
The way you talk in a meeting
The way you dress
The level of service you provide (or don’t!)
The quality of your product
How you interact in a social media environment
Oh, and all of these characteristics apply to everyone who is employed by your company that has any contact with the outside world.
You want to know how your brand is doing? Listen. I recently heard David Bowman say, the conversation (about you or your business) is happening, whether you are there to participate or not. Where is the conversation happening? Facebook, Twitter, blogs, reviews, etc. If you aren’t out there searching, ‘Googling‘ your name on a daily basis – you could be missing out on what is right or wrong with your brand. (Again, the gut feeling people have about the way you do business.)
So, if you really want to find out how your brand is doing, take some time to listen, and respond – be a part of the conversation. Correct the mistakes you are making, exploit and improve the things people love about you. Then, spend some time with your employees, and associates, because brand consistency doesn’t stop with your print materials or your website.