“Brand.” Bringing up brand, or brand image can lead to dull conversations that will quickly reach high levels of pretentiousness. But while talking about “brand image” might seem clichéd, it is still a worthwhile topic of discussion. A consistent brand image, or identity, is vital for establishing what your company is, and differentiating it from your competition.
So, despite the clichés, it can bring up, having a plan for your brand identity is a must. But breaking down your brand image can be a tough task. Especially if your organization already has an established brand identity. Use the following seven actions to improve your brand image, and your business overall.
1. Administer a Brand Audit
According to Inc., the first step towards improving your brand is, to assess where your organization currently stands. The key to any brand audit is gauging how consumers genuinely view your product or service. Getting a clear picture of consumers’ opinions is necessary for creating a brand image that will resonate with the desired audience.
Because ultimately it is your clients who inform your brand. And this brand, to clients, is much more than just deciding where your logo belongs. Your brand is the complete consumer experience.
2. Establish Who You Are
While it may seem obvious, it’s who you are as a business that should inform your brand. Your organization has to know how it delivers value to consumers, to build a brand that makes sense to the outside world. You can’t let your branding conflict with your core business.
For example, if you’re a computer animation firm, it wouldn’t make sense to fill your marketing materials with generic stock photos. Instead, these resources should include your company’s animations.
Little details like this may seem inconsequential, but, according to Entrepreneur, are critical. These minor decisions, they argue, add up and influence the way a consumer thinks about your business and what you do. And, ultimately, these opinions determine whether a consumer chooses your firm or a competitor.
Read more about how being a transparent business can better your business.
3. Remember You’re Selling Your Brand (Not Product)
As attention spans decrease, and the availability of information increases, companies have less time than ever to “sell” their product or service. Now, in the digital age, your business has around 20 seconds to make a lasting impression.
These conditions have led to the downfall of product-marketing. Organizations don’t have the time necessary to demonstrate the excellence of each product. Instead, your business has to win consumers over through the general impression and perception you create. Basically, your brand.
And every individual’s perception is their reality. Therefore, your brand has to be able to quickly inform or remind clients of what your firm offers them. This perception is another reason a consistent brand image is crucial. If consumers cannot easily form or recreate their perception of you, based on your brand, it could mean they look elsewhere.
4. Develop the Creative Parts
One of the more exciting aspects of improving your brand is the creative side of the equation. Your art and copy create the look, feel, and voice of your brand, making them essential to your overall brand image. Essentially, these elements give your brand a personality.
That’s why it’s important these creative parts appeal to your target market while relating who your business is. For example, a web developer with a landing page that contains old graphics in an outdated design is unlikely to find success. Every point of contact between a client and your firm has to remind them of who you are and what you do.
5. Go Beyond Name Recognition
Building a brand identity is about far more than just name recognition. Yes, it’s important people remember who you are. But it’s more important that people understand what your business can do for them. Your brand should demonstrate what real benefits you offer your clients.
6. Understand Consistency Matters
As with any plan, it’s tough to take action when you don’t know why you’re doing it. So, make sure to explain to your staff why branding, and consistent branding matters. According to Entrepreneur, a consistent brand is valuable because it:
- Projects professionalism
- Establishes authenticity
- Provides clarity
- Builds trust
- Offers internal direction
- Provides simplicity
A consistent brand is vital to a successful business. But to achieve real brand consistency, every employee has to be involved. Creating a brand guide, and training employees about your organization’s brand are important for the maintenance of your brand’s health.
7. Plan for the Future
The final step for improvement is creating a plan for the future. Improvement is a continuous process, and your company’s brand is no exception. Without a plan for the future, your brand identity could slowly degrade over time.
It takes time, energy, and money to solidify your brand image. The last thing you want is to spend these, only to have your company turn back to an older brand phase. To prevent your business from losing its brand identity, create a plan for the future.
Entrepreneur recommends three sections to include in your future brand image plan.
- Schedule an annual update for your brand plan and design elements
- Schedule a bi-annual content audit
These updates serve as checkpoints. They allow your business to reevaluate your brand and ensure you’re staying up-to-date and consistent. Similarly, these meetings serve as a reminder to your employees about the importance of your brand image and maintaining the brand’s consistency.
Clichéd or not your brand image is an integral component of any firm’s success. A consistent brand image lets consumers quickly recognize and understand your business. So rather than having pretentious conversations, take action. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a brand image worth?