How well is your brand? A brand can be viewed in much the same way as a person. It is a three dimensional living, breathing being. It has a personality, a point of view, an image and, if all is well, it socialises. Arguably a brand is not a brand until it has a strong emotional bond with its customer. So do you have a brand and, if so, how healthy is it?
What do I check to see if my brand is healthy? There are five key elements that need to be looked at.
1. Brand values These are the vital ingredients of the brand, which are valued by the customer. If you want to grow your business it is vital to ensure that you know what your brand’s values are and that they are healthy. If they are not healthy here are some of the symptoms you will notice:
Muddled, unclear and poorly communicated values
Lacking in a meaningful relationship between your customer and your brand
Customers leaving you, moving to your competitors and sales slipping
Test the core values are robust
Undertake qualitative market research like small focus groups, individual interviews
Ensure that the brand values match the values that the customer sees - conduct a brand audit or review
Work to establish a customer relationship based on strong healthy core brand values
2. Brand Positioning This is where your brand sits in the marketplace relative to the competition. It is critical that you know where your brand is positioned. If this has not been undertaken here are some of the symptoms:
The positioning of your brand is vague and not thought through
Potential slow sales decline
Brand being overlooked in favour of a competitor’s brand
Identify key competitors and understand their customer offer/positioning
Conduct competitor analysis
Benchmark against competition
Commission a customer survey with a research agency
Undertake in house sample studies – lower cost
3. Brand Promise Arguably the most important element. The customer experience must match the brand promise. If the promise falls short customers simply move away or worse they can react negatively. With many social media platforms available it is vital to make sure that the customer experience lives up to the brand promise.
Customers moving towards a competitor
Negative comments on social media
Review all external communications, customer experiences and the benefits to ensure they meet the brand promise
Monitor on a daily basis what is being said about your brand
Use Google Alert, Ice Rocket, Topsy (for Twitter) and Social Mention. These are free tools and are designed to specifically monitor brand reputation - that your brand is living up to its brand promise.
4. Brand Essence This is an intangible feeling - the emotional bond connecting your customer to your brand. Building a strong essence will help with brand differentiation i.e. making your brand different from the competition. A healthy essence should be consistent across all ‘touch points’, (where the customer comes into contact with your brand). The essence should be simple and clear. Ideally just one or two words e.g. Nike – inspirational.
Lack of consistency - a disconnect - where the emotional connection is sitting at odds with all other forms of communication
Lack of integrity – where the connection seems forced and uncharacteristic
Lack of focus - Customers not engaging in a meaningful way with you on social media
Not unique – customers moving away to the competition
Review customer feedback on social channels
Review competition to see what their brand essence is and ensure that your own is different
Research consumers pre and post purchase behaviour to ensure that there is no disconnect
5. Brand Identity Your brand identity is what your brand looks and sounds like. It is a blend of values, essence and positioning. It communicates through the written and spoken word, through photography, imagery, packaging etc. As Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room."
What you say and how you look are different
Lack in consistency of look and feel
Low customer engagement
Conduct a SWOT analysis to see where your brand sits in the marketplace
Review your brand strategy based on the SWOT analysis
Revisit your customer profiling, your messages, your promise, your values and make sure that your visual look and feel supports the brand strategy
Run 2 or 3 focus groups with the key target market.
We hope you are finding our Trumpet Academy lessons insightful and practical. If you would like Trumpet to undertake a brand review please just get in touch. In the meantime we will leave you with a nice Guinness brand illustration.