During recent discussions with business owners regarding branding, I have been surprised that they think their brand is all about their logo. The true essence of a brand is the experience. In fact, a brand is the sum total of everything that a consumer has experienced, heard, read, or seen about an organization whether directly or indirectly.
Because a brand is really about the “experience” one has with the brand, the consumer’s perception is reality – whether that perception is true or implied. I recently did some rebranding work with a client that saw their business as one thing. After going out and talking to those in the community we quickly found that the consumer’s perception was quite different. We needed to align the two in order for the business to grow. We made some changes in the consumer’s experience when they came to this establishment to align it with what they were familiar with from similar types of businesses and some changes in the way they marketed their business. (Yes, the logo was even redone to align it with what the business was really about.) These slight changes have them back on track and doing well. Keep in mind when it comes to marketing, it does not matter what you think…it is all about the customer and what they think. That is why it is so important to really know your customers.
From a consumer’s viewpoint, branding:
Gives them confidence and security in their decisions. Consumers will have confidence when they choose a brand they have had a good experience with and will feel good about their decision. For example, if you have a package that absolutely has to get their overnight, you will more than likely send it using FedEx because they own “overnight”. Even though UPS or USPS can do the same job for roughly the same price, you feel confident and secure in your decision to use FedEx.
Saves them time and effort. Strong brands have cut through the messaging clutter and position themselves top of mind. Remember this the next time you are wanting a soda and you stop at the local convenience store. You walk in, head straight to the cooler, grab your beverage and are on your way. You didn’t stand there sorting through every option. You saved yourself time and effort.
From a company’s perspective, branding:
Clearly differentiates you from your competitors. A good friend of mine and a branding guru in his own right, Abe Goldstien, once shared this quote with me from Rob Frankel, author of The Revenge of Brand X, and I think it says it all: “Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it’s about getting them to see you as the only solution to their problem.”
Unifies your organization — A clear and concise brand promise unifies all employees of an organization to work towards a common goal – everyone’s arrows are heading in the same direction. The brand has the potential to set the tone for everything about the organization — service levels, morale, procedures — everything.
So, as you can see a brand is much more than a logo. A logo reinforces the brand’s awareness but, at the end of the day, the brand is bigger than the logo.