Over the past few weeks, this blog has considered the first four out of the following five major branding principles:
Assuming that you have mastered the first four principles, what is your next and final step? Understanding and implementing cultivation. A business is not just an entity; a business functions as an ongoing process generated by the efforts of many people and the reactions of the receivers of the products or services. Brands are also dynamic rather than static. A living brand is a pattern of behavior. Brands are like people: people can change their clothes without changing their character. Brands can change without changing the main focus or mission of a company.
Therefore, the efforts to keep your brand effective and relevant should be ongoing. The marketing and creative team should remain attentive in continuing to assess and measure the brand. Additionally, the team should be diligent in educating users of the brand to remain true to its design, colors, text and all elements that have been vetted to be the most effective.
In order for the entire organization to “buy in” to the brand, people need to understand how and why the brand was created. Consider implementing a required staff training class through which you can explain how the brand was created. Clarify the importance of branding for your community, including the necessity of consistency and repetition. Marketing should create a brand book that identifies the elements of your brand including message, logo, tag lines, exact colors, fonts, and design elements. If the branding has provided varying designs for different medias, each one should be included in the branding instructions. Place the instructions along with the various designs (unable to be altered other than sized) on your company server. A brand manual that reviews the importance of branding and includes a hard copy of your branding can be helpful to other users in the organization, as well. Be observant as to the use of the brand throughout the organization. A good brand should be repeatedly communicated, in multiple ways with frequency and consistency throughout the life of your community.
To continuously measure the effectiveness of the brand, implement an ongoing program of brand assessment through brand audits, creative councils, quarterly critiques, group brainstorming, innovation clinics, and design audits. Objectives that a good brand will achieve: delivers the message clearly; confirms your credibility; connects your target prospects emotionally; motivates the prospect to buy; and consecrates loyalty. Always be open to the response to the brand. These responses may come through metrics, spoken feedback, or electronic feedback from your “owners” or the prospects you hope to attract. Be attentive.
Finally, be sure to disperse the brand far and wide. The more distributed a brand becomes, the greater its chance for impact. A well-distributed, easily recognizable, brand with a punch enhances your competitive advantage.
Author: Patty Scotten.
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