6 Branding Tips for Wayward Brands
You’ve made some branding mistakes. But we’ve got 6 quick tips to fix them.
As your company’s Brand Managers, we take immense pride in helping your community and the public find value in what you do and who you are. It’s our job to communicate on behalf of and advocate for your brand — inspiring others to join us in our advocacy for you. And since we’re so invested in your success, we would like to take this opportunity to straighten out a few things with our 6 Branding Tips for Wayward Brands.
Consider this a little housekeeping rant. We’ll try not to raise our voices or shake our heads and collective, mild disappointment. This isn’t your fault. You didn’t know any better.
1. Respect your logo.
There is nothing more hurtful or offensive to a graphic designer than seeing the logo he/she labored over abused. And more often than not, the abuse doesn’t come from outsiders. It comes from within the company. Stretching out the mark, using the wrong colors, or simply pairing the icon with the wrong font are all grave mistakes that a lot of businesses make. And chances are, you’ve got your brand identity all over everything from signage to countless pieces of your paper system. But there’s got to be strict standards for how you use and deploy your identity. With every identity we create, we deliver a graphic standards manual to show you exactly how to use your logo. But it’s up to you to stick to the standards. And for God’s sake, use the right format in the right medium! Yeesh.
2. Get the name right.
It is astonishing how many businesses we encounter that are virtually unknown in their own communities because the public doesn’t know their name, or knows them by the wrong name. Unless you’ve made the branding decision to embrace a nickname or a shortened version of your primary moniker, always use your actual name. You have no idea how confusing it can be to refer to one company by several different names within the same community. The use of various identifiers is most often seen on the web, where brands sometimes use weird abbreviations or variations on the proper name over several different social media platforms. If you want the public to know who you are, you have to maintain a solitary name that they can keep top-of-mind. And don’t be afraid to correct people when they get it wrong. It’s not rude. It’s your name!
3. Play nice with others.
Look, every business faces competition. And none of us like the competition. But when it comes to coordinating public relations on behalf of your brand, you’ve got to play nice and you’ve got to teach your staff to do the same. More often than not, when we take on a new client, we quickly find internal issues of vocalizing resentment about the competition. When this happens, we get everyone together and facilitate some message training. It’s all about teaching your people to say the right things online and in public. And that doesn’t just apply to reigning in all the bad-mouthing. It’s constructive for basic messaging dissemination.
4. Be better than average.
When someone asks you, “What’s so great about your company?” You can’t just say: the staff, the service, or the technology. Because guess what? Every company is saying the exact same thing. In fact, every business, regardless of industry, thinks they offer the best service, quality products, and something that makes them appear cutting edge [like technology]. Your brand has to be more emotional than that. Dig a little deeper and find out what attracted your most beloved customers and staff to you in the first place. Pull out the nuanced, special elements that differentiate you from other businesses.
5. Your employees are key.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your business had a bunch of intelligent, caring, invested employees to say nice things on behalf of you? Oh wait. You already have those. The people you staff are essential to attracting community buy-in. Their loyalty can become an ownable part of the overall brand. And from a business perspective, it makes sense to market their loyalty as part of the brand’s image. Encouraging your employees to embrace the brand in public and on social media is a no-brainer for deputizing trustworthy brand advocates.
6. When in doubt, consult your Brand Managers.
I’m sure you’ve got some questions and I’m sure I’ve only slightly hit a nerve or two. And if you feel a little misdirected, give me a call. We can talk about correcting your branding missteps. It would be my pleasure.