This follows on from A is for Authenticity… you haven’t read it yet? Go on then, I’ll wait…

Ready? Then I will begin!

So you’ve got your authentic brand, you know who you are and that people will have a consistent experience when they get in touch with you. Very well done. Now you need to ensure your branding clearly communicates who you are.

The illustration at the top shows the 4 of us a JG Creative each wearing a different sports brand. It’s not especially realistic but it makes a point! Often products and services aren’t especially different – I’m sure these four brands all produce a simple white t-shirt for example. But the branding they apply to their t-shirts tells the potential customer which one is for them. Branding allows customers to choose the item or service which shares their values, or shows the world the values they want to portray.

With things like bottled water, perfume, shampoo this is especially important, as there are LOTS of options and it’s hard to see the benefits by looking at the bottle. I vividly remember standing in the shampoo aisle in CVS in America looking at the packaging in front of me in complete bewilderment wondering which was ‘right’ for me. I had no knowledge about which one promised shiny blond hair – my shampoo requirements!

So how did I decide?

I read the names of the products to find what I was looking for – there were still loads of options!
I recognised some of the logos and applied what I knew about their other products to these shampoos.
I checked out the design to see which looked good quality and effective.
I looked at the prices, applying the crude methodology that more expensive meant better.
Did any have a promotion running, where I got a free conditioner maybe?
I looked at its position on the shelves, knowing that eye level meant most popular or that they’d paid for a prime spot.
I recognised some of the industry icons like ‘Not tested on animals’ which were important to my personal values.
I asked my American friend for her recommendation and which one’s I should avoid.

But how does this apply to you if you provide a service?

Now I hate to break it to you but it’s very unlikely you’re the only person doing what you do. But the good news is you’re the only one doing it how you do it. So how can you ensure your branding says the right thing about you?

When we start a new brand or a rebrand and have asked our questions so we know who you (authentically) are, then we look at all the different ways people ‘read’ what your brand says about you:

Name – Does it say what you do? If your name isn’t clear do you need a strapline to clarify what you do?
Logo – Is it bold and different enough from your competitors? Does it establish your style – fun, professional, modern etc? Is it used clearly on everything you do so that people can learn to recognise it?
Design – Do you have a style, a way of presenting yourself that is consistent? Does it communicate how you want to be perceived? Are your photos of you and your team rather than stock images?
Price – How do you compare to other services like yours? If you’re cheaper is it easy to see why so people don’t worry they’re getting a second-class service? If you’re more expensive can you justify it? Do you have extra systems and processes which give the customer a better outcome or do you use premium quality suppliers? Make sure you tell people.
Position – This is your marketing, knowing who your target audience is so that you can ensure you have the right messages where they are likely to look. Don’t forget your existing clients too. Are you communicating with them regularly to help them understand the range of services you provide?
Promotion – Are there certain times of year where you need to stimulate demand because it’s a quiet time of year? Could you offer something of genuine value in addition to a usual service, rather than just discounting?
Values – Make sure all the visual cues and industry icons are clearly there which will help people identify that you have shared values!
Recommendation – What are people saying about you? Ask new customers how they heard of you to see if word of mouth is working for you and getting you more customers. But also ask for testimonials and create case studies. New customers are really reassured by reading about other people who’ve had a great service from you. Make sure you’re shouting about how great you are, otherwise how will people know!

Have a think about all the above parts of your branding – anything you want to review or change?

Remember the brand iceberg in the last blog? We’ve had a quick look at what people think (under the water) and what they see (above the water). Come back in a fortnight for our next blog in the A-Z of Brand series as we start to dig a bit deeper…

 

Jo Grubb
Managing Director, JG Creative

jo@jg-creative.co.uk