I recently ran across this article I wrote for the Sioux Falls Business Journal a few years ago, and I realized that rarely does a month go by that I don’t deliver the point of this message to potential and current clients in one form or another. It doesn’t require a ton of effort to ensure your brand is presented as intended at all touch points, but it does require that your entire organization understands this concept and is diligent in properly presenting and protecting your company’s brand.
Brand: noun: a set of perceptions and images that represent a company, product or service.
Integrity: noun: the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished
Everybody repeat after me: I will not dilute nor destroy my company’s brand by being careless with how it is used, presented, with who is designing and printing for me, or who is able to ‘save me a couple bucks’ by doing some advertising ‘on the cheap,’ with the unavoidable results.
It’s not always easy to keep your brand integrity intact. It takes attention to detail, an understanding of how all branded touch points work together, and a tenacious desire to ensure that any time the public experiences your brand, they are receiving the same experience and the same conscious and unconscious message. Your company’s position in their minds and in the market is established through proper and consistent branding of your advertising, marketing, online presence, collateral materials, signage, etc. Believe it or not, the integrity of your brand is also carried and communicated in your employees, customer service, design of your store/office, cleanliness of your store/office, and through your audience’s word of mouth.
While many people refer to a brand as a logo, tag line or jingle, a brand is actually much larger. A brand is the essence or promise of what will be delivered or experienced. Ultimately, brand is about caring about your business at every level and in every detail, from the big things like mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small. Always take the extra time to sweat the details of your brand presentation and/or hire a qualified firm to ensure the integrity of your company’s brand whenever and wherever it is communicated.
Remember, your brand is your strategy, your call to action, your customer service, the way you speak, all your marketing and advertising, your people and your facilities. Yes, your brand is your logo and visuals, too, and a great brand deserves a great logo and great design. It can make the difference when the customer is choosing between two brands, but these alone cannot make your brand great.