If we say “brand”, do you immediately think “logo” or “colors” or maybe even a catchy slogan? For many people, that’s the norm.
But, consider that sense of pride or satisfaction you have when you interact with a brand you love and admire. Those feelings are connected to more than just a logo or a tagline, it’s the intangible elements that really matter.
Think about some of the brands that you feel most connected to, or energized by. Sure, seeing that logo evokes all the positive brand juju, but those positive vibes were built up by little brand deposits over time.
Those brand sentiments are the summary of your positive interactions with that brand over an extended period of time. Interactions that may have occurred face-to-face or online. They happened when you used a product or engaged with a service, or maybe even through a really great customer service interaction that turned a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
So, if a logo is just a symbol that represents the brand and triggers reminders of products, services or experiences, what are the elements that can influence people’s decisions and feelings towards a brand?
Style is an easy place to start because, ideally, your brand styling is established in the infancy of the brand. It creates a cohesive set of rules and guidelines for how the brand and it’s various elements should be treated across applications. These are typically referred to as “brand standards” or “brand guidelines.”
Your brand style includes more than just typefaces and colors. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you build this out
- Use cohesive design elements
- Use similar layouts
- Use similar text formatting and text hierarchy
- Determine your photography style and implement it across your multi-channel marketing efforts
- Keep it simple – Come up with a few, solid formats that serve your brand and business well and use them as the foundation for all the collateral you will create going forward.
Voice is just as important to a brand as the visuals. What you say and how you say it will be key in creating messages that resonate with your target audience.
Regardless of your images, colors and brand styling, if the words you’re using to communicate who your organization is and how they create value don’t resonate with the people you’re trying to reach, you’re certainly in for an uphill battle.
When thinking about developing the voice for your brand here are a few points to consider
- Who is your audience?
- How do they like information delivered?
- How much information is needed from someone looking to make a purchasing decision?
For example, I need to do a lot more research to purchase an enterprise software to implement company-wide than I might need to decide which office chair I want to purchase.
- How can your voice mimic your brand style? If your style is clean and crisp, what does that sound like, if you’re whimsical, what does that sound like? How can you tweak your messaging and content approach so that it feels “on-brand” and the messages echo the tone of the visuals.
Pro Tip: Streamline brand messaging efforts. You want all your brand messaging to sound like it comes from the same place. Regardless of where your clients or customers are reading these messages, the approach and voice should always feel familiar and in line with what they expect from you.
Create resources like a messaging guide that provides talking points and sound bites your sales team, customer service team and client-facing communications can use to build a consistent brand experience.
You’re probably thinking you can skip right over this blurb because you don’t own a retail establishment, restaurant, salon, or other physical location where someone might come in and “experience” your business – but you’d be doing a brand your disservice.
Brand experience is all about creating consistency in every interaction someone has with your brand. These experiences can run the gamut, it includes things like
- In-person experiences
- digital user-experiences
- in-home product use
- your sales process
- the buying experience
- Customer service
- How you manage returns, exchanges, and complaints
Brand experience gets down to the brass tacks of your customer journey. Bits and pieces of your brand should be sprinkled into every part of the road map from acquisition to conversion.
If the cornerstone principals of your brand are exclusivity and high-quality service, how do you deliver on that each and every time your audience engages with you? It’s worth thinking about – and also worth implementing.
BRAND SENTIMENT + REPUTATION MANAGEMENT
Finally, all of these elements (and many more) determine how people feel about your brand. Online, brand sentiment is the average read on how people talk about your brand – the intangibles. But, brand sentiments also exist offline (though they are much harder to track) and they are the result of every. single. thing. your business does and how they do it.
That brand sentiment is what someone tells their friend or the colleague about working with you or using your services. It’s someone’s impression after calling into your office and talking to your receptionist or sales staff. It’s all about feeling.
Think of brand sentiment as your brand’s savings account.
Every great interaction, positive experience, exciting new event and amazing campaign you create puts little deposits into your savings account.
Slowly, over time, those positive sentiments turn into avid brand loyalty.
A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE OF MULTI-FACETED BRANDING
Think about your Apple snobs. The friend you have with Apple everything.
Brand loyalists are happy to fork over their hard-earned dollars, not because they think the half-eaten apple logo is cute and they just can’t get enough of that minimalist style.
No, it’s because their products typically deliver on expectations, integrate well with the everyday needs of their target consumer, and they have developed a streamlined, in-person customer service experience. And finally, like most “luxury” brands, you get that little hit of dopamine when you buy or use their products because they have positioned their brand to represent a certain status and to be associated with certain actions or feelings.
Check out this Seth Godin video on how businesses use status and exclusivity to promote their brands.
Brands like Apple don’t become household names because they designed the right logo, picked the perfect font and coupled them with a great brand palette.
Great brands become household names because they put all the parts and pieces in motion a long time ago. They make small, regular deposits into their brand savings account to build a reputation for developing products and services people just can’t live without (or at least they think they can’t!)
So, the next time you are thinking about asking your local marketer or brand strategist to help you with refreshing your logo and brand, consider the value of using their experience and expertise to dive deeper into some of these elements. Building a robust brand will get you a much higher ROI as you work to make deposits into your brand’s savings account.