Last week we talked about what a brand is and how your corporate culture and mission statement protect and promote that brand. In short, your brand is your promise to the world, your pitch to strangers and your company’s values. Sometimes that’s not enough to save a brand. How do you know if your brand is failing? Here are a few tips:
Your Elevator Pitch
Do you even have one? Do you know it by heart? Do all your employees know it? Do you stumble when asked, “What does your company do?” Everyone has an elevator pitch, even if they don’t know it. The term comes from the dawn of business – you’re stuck in the elevator with the CEO of your company and you’ve got 20 seconds to explain why you matter. If you’re not sure, or it’s not clear and concise, you might need a brand re-boot.
If the sum of your company’s mark on the world is liquid assets, there’s a strong chance you’re not making the long-term psychological impact on clients and customers that fosters brand awareness. A brand perceived as motivated solely by profit isn’t going to get word-of-mouth buzz that helps generate a strong, long-term brand.
Mission and Values
If you can’t sum up these facets of your corporate culture in a few sentences, your brand is weak and needs a reboot. It seems that brand is an intangible, fuzzy concept but the reason you got into the bizz in the first place is your brand. Mission and Values might change, evolve over time, but fact is they still relate to your core business ideology, no matter what. Unless they don’t… (see where we’re going with this?)
Five Years of Fame
There’s a branding phenomenon that occurs in todays business arena – something like hero worship combined with poor public relations and marketing. Rather than Five Minutes of Fame, CEOs are basking in five years, maybe a decade or more of fame – superseding the company, brand and product. The end result is that the founder of the company is the subject of discussion, not the company or the product. “Oh, Bill Gates? Nice guy. Philanthropist. Microsoft? Oh, um… yeah…”
It happens – believe it or not. Companies absorb other companies, grow and shift and change, and before you know it, the print company that made really nice signs and brochures is now making printing software. Not an unreasonable evolution, but if you’re going to play in the software sandbox, you’ve got to talk the talk. If your experts can’t keep up dialogue with clients, competitors or peers, there’s an issue.
Sometimes change if out of your control. If you made lead-based paint, or something else that the social and ecological trend is against, you probably need to revise your brand.
The number one reason to re-boot your brand is poor customer awareness. People don’t know, don’t care or don’t have anything nice to say – that’s a real problem for any brand, even one with vast resources to leverage against advertising and marketing.
If you’re reading blogs about brands, it’s a safe bet you suspect your brand is in trouble. So now what? Scrap everything? Slow down, Tex. We love enthusiasm, but before you start all over, why not stop in or give us a call? Tingalls Graphic Design can sit down and walk you through some options. Let’s get your brand back on track.