"Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind." - Walter Landor
A lot of organizations struggle with the "b" word. And not the "b" word that quickly comes to mind either (which I am assuming was booze, bacon, or bananas). A different "b" word: BRANDING. Branding can be somewhat of a beast if not handled with care. Building a strong brand, much like building a house, requires the investment or both time and resources. A solid foundation is essential for constructing a lasting brand image.
FEEDING THE BEAST
It is very important to be mindful of the obstacles that may arise when building a brand. Much of my life is centered around building brands for organizations as well as individuals and I have encountered several stumbling blocks when helping companies rebuild their brand images. Many of these issues are the result of something I like to call "feeding the beast." Feeding the beast involves a series of negligent, marketing decisions that cause a brand to get out of control. Once a brand is out of control, it begins to send messages that conflict with its mission and causes the value of the brand to decrease. Customers will begin to no longer value the product or services and the brand equity will be lost. In order not to loose that hard-earned brand equity, one must "tame the beast."
TAMING THE BEAST
"How does one tame the branding beast?" you may ask. It is quite simple and can be done in 3 steps:
1. Develop a Plan
Develop a plan to strategically control the messages that are sent out on behalf of your brand and make it a company-wide priority to follow that plan. When the mission of the company or individual is at the forefront of every marketing decision, the product or service will benefit greatly.
2. Implement the Plan
Many companies are able to successfully implement their branding plans through the use of a corporate identity manual. A corporate identity manual is a management tool that will help ensure the correct application of the corporate identity on various levels. This will help to ensure that the brand does not get out of control and consistently sends messages that reinforce the company's mission and vision.
3. Maintain Quality Control
Much like a map, a plan is no good if you do not use it. It is necessary to manage your brand and make certain that the guidelines that have been set in place are being followed by all involved with company matters. It is vital that everyone understand that they are responsible for upholding the brand standards of the company. If you are managing your personal brand, be sure to make decisions that consistently send the same message to your target audience.
So, the next time you are faced with a branding dilemma be sure to "tame" and not "feed" the beast. Look out for more "Branding Beast" blogs (from a "well-tamed" branding beast: Jennifer T. Graham) with topics to help build your brand!
Jennifer T. Graham, MBA | Creative Director | Branding Blog Post #001
JENNIFER T. GRAHAM
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