Unless you've carefully considered and defined ALL five of the key brand elements - position, promise, personality traits, story, and associations - you still have work to do. And, until you've infiltrated your brand into every level of your organization and built the discipline of CONSISTENCY into every behavior, action, or communication - both internally and externally - you are not yet on the path to a successful brand.
The five key brand elements:
The Brand Position is the part of the brand that describes what your organization does and for whom, what your unique value is and how a customer benefits from working with you or your product/service, and what key differentiation you have from your competition.
Do not underestimate the power or the time involved in crafting your brand positioning. Remember you strategically choose to create the positioning and have the power to create perceptions thereafter (or not in the case of poor brand identity).
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon.com
The Brand Promise is the single most important thing that the organization promises to deliver to its customers - EVERY time.
To come up with your brand promise, consider what customers, employees, and partners should expect from every interaction with you. Every business decision should be weighed against this promise to be sure that it fully reflects the promise, or at the very least it does not contradict the promise.
Think of what you would want your best customers to state about your business in five years time – and then (ideally) distill into one word. This is what I call “one word equity”, as there’s so much value there. It then can drive the business because it has so much value (3M – innovation, McDonalds – consistency). What are you promising (and that more importantly can deliver)
Brand Traits illustrate what the organisation wants its brand to be known for. Think about specific personality traits you want prospects, clients, employees, and partners to use to describe your organization. You should have 4-6 traits), each being a single term (usually an adjective) describing (personification techniques work well here) the make up of you brand.
The Brand Story illustrates the organisation's history, along with how the history adds value and credibility to the brand. It also usually includes a summary of your products or services.
This construct is very important in the ability to establish credibility and emotional connection to the brand on a more profound level, as we all “buy in” to things when we understand the background and can identify with something. Greater connection = greater loyalty.
“It is a pretty recognizable brand name. Originally it was "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" but we settled on "Yahoo"
Jerry Yang – founder of Yahoo!
Brand Associations are the specific physical artifacts that make up the brand.
This is your name, logo, colors, taglines, fonts, imagery, etc. Your brand associations must reflect your brand promise, ALL of your brand traits, and support your brand positioning statement.
Beat that drum!
Once you've developed and defined a relevant brand, you must begin building the brand with employees, customers, prospects, partners, etc. through CONSISTENT execution.
Repetition is key to the success of the branding process. It's easy to falter "just this one time," because you're busy, or because you think your effort will only be used or viewed internally. Faltering, however, will make the fact that you have a good brand completely irrelevant. No one, including your employees, will ever really know or remember what your brand is, unless it is the same every time they are exposed to it.
“I am not looking like Armani today and somebody else tomorrow. I look like Ralph Lauren. And my goal is to constantly move in fashion and move in style without giving up what I am.”
Without consistency, brand awareness becomes impossible to achieve, no matter how much money you spend on promotion. And your good brand identity - that you spent so much time defining - begins to look schizophrenic (and there’s no psychiatrist to assist a broken brand).
Your level of success is only limited by yourself.