Seems like everyone is focused on their “brand” these days. Serena Williams is on the cover of the current Adweek with an article about her brand.
My first job out of college was with the Pillsbury company. EVERYBODY knows Pillsbury as the parent of the Pillsbury Doughboy. If I could have received $1 for every time somebody poked me in the stomach and expected me to giggle, I would be wealthy!
The Pillsbury brand is over 150 years old. However, the Doughboy was “born” in 1965. By the way, what a great example that is of refreshing a long-established brand with new life.
I checked with several “official” sources on what the definition of a brand is. As you might guess, there are many takes on this important part of your business. We are going to focus on your company brand.
What is a brand?
Here are some good brand definitions (thank you Google):
From Tech Target: A brand is a product, service or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed. Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name, its qualities and personality.
From Shopify: Branding (a brand) is the process of creating a distinct identity for a business in the mind of your target audience and consumers. At the most basic level, branding is made up of a company’s logo, visual design, mission, and tone of voice.
From the Financial Brand: The collective perceptions and impressions people have formed about an organization, its products and/or its services, whether through direct (ads/purchase) or indirect (word-of-mouth) interactions.
Build your own brand!
A brand should be specific to the business that it represents. We can look at other businesses in our industry circle and say they have a great “brand.” But how did they get there, and how can you take your brand to the same level?
I like some of each of the above brand definitions above because they really force us to ask hard questions about how we appear to the target consumer and marketplace in general. Yes, a brand is something that is advertised. However, is more importantly something that is experienced.
Creating experiences around your brand helps to build a memorable and a positive association. Especially when service is such a big part of the entire product, as in financial services.
Breaking it down
How does your organization perform against these branding attributes listed above?
Objectively compare yourself on these attributes versus your top 3 competitors:
Publicly distinguishable (distinct)
• Does your logo stand out from competition?
• Are the tangible elements of your brand recognizable (colors, style, tone)?
• Are your locations welcoming, clean and contemporary?
• Are the products and services you offer unique and different from others?
Personality of your brand
• High tech or high touch?
• Hip and modern or mature and dependable?
• Knowledgeable and helpful or structured and inflexible?
• Leading or lagging?
The answers to these questions are not necessarily right or wrong. They are only relevant to those you are trying to serve. If you feel like your brand might be out of sync with the marketplace, it might be time for a brand refresh.
We’ll talk more about that in the next issue.