Ever visited the website of a favourite company and feel that you’ve not reached the right place? Or do you recognize the brand even before the content has loaded?
In an ideal world, all of the touchpoints of a brand would speak harmoniously. The content of a brand is intimately tied to its’ experience. Fonts, visual elements and colour choice can all inform a brand’s perception in the mind of an individual. Some of these design elements are so instantly recognizable that they become substitutes for the name of the brand itself, like the recent Share a Coke campaign in the United Kingdom. Or consider Anthropologie, and how their blog is a perfect encapsulation of their brand: stylish, modern yet nostalgic, and adult. This unity is obtained by a thorough understanding of the marketing personas created by the brand, but it is also an understanding of the functional brand and what the brand is.
If you are building a brand, corporate or otherwise, you may not be able to articulate the fundamental nature of your brand quickly and easily. Many brands have core purposes that don’t ring true because they don’t seem to be rooted in the core nature of the product. Here are some of the questions that you can ask to understand the authentic brand that your customers are currently experiencing, and how it might differ from the brand concept you dream of.
What does your brand actually do?
Don’t answer this with “we inspire”. You may be inspirational, but what is your offer? Do you make amazing smelling candles that increase your IQ? Then that is what you do (and the Echo staff would probably like to place an order). To coin a phrase, don’t let your branding write checks that your offer can’t cash.
What does your brand want to do?
OK, you can answer this one with “we inspire”. What are the purpose of your offer? How are you changing the world around you by your presence? (Remember, if you are changing, then you are changing the situation around you, since you are helping define the situation.)
Once you’ve hammered out answers to these two questions; you know who you are and what you’d consider your ultimate outcome. Then consider everything else to flesh out the personality of your brand. Where would your brand shop? (Would you find your logo in that store?) What would your brand do on the weekend?
Then consider if your brand is congruent with your marketing personas. If there is a disconnect, then your touchpoints are not singing harmoniously, and it’s making it difficult for your customer to know who you are.
Photo: Howard Lake on Flickr.com.