Brand marketing can seem like a nebulous world to business owners and franchisors — an abstract concept with value that is difficult to quantify. Even so, if any organization is going to execute successful marketing tactics and expand brand awareness, they must be completely in tune with their own brand position. While many businesses will avoid the process, an understanding of one’s brand can only derive from deep introspection and soul searching.
THE INTERNAL JOURNEY OF UNDERSTANDING A BRAND
A brand is not an individual logo, slogan or advertising campaign. One can’t fall into the trap of believing marketing initiatives are synonymous with brand initiatives; these are distinctly different, albeit with some overlap. A clever logo design is only a small piece in the puzzle that is developing a brand identity and brand consistency. In order to successfully begin a process of introspection one must explore these questions:
What Does Your Brand Want to Be?
Why Does Your Brand Exist?
What Does the Brand Actually Do?
Who Do You Do It For?
How is it Going to Be Done?
FINDING YOUR "WHY" AND "WHAT"
Before even considering your specific service or product offerings, you must understand why your brand exists. If you’re competing in a saturated market (i.e. sandwich shops or frozen yogurt), what unique value do you bring to customers? How will you create differentiation and bring variables to the table beyond price? What’s the personality of the business and how does that personality/culture tie into the product or service you offer?
Soul searching means reaching for those personality traits and identifying core values. Though you might ask yourself the point of labeling yourself in cliché terms such as “innovative” or “forward thinking,” these decisions, though subtle, will consciously and sub-consciously affect culture, marketing and customer brand perception.
SOUL SEARCHING IS NOT A ONE-TIME THING
It’s a good idea to schedule time with management specifically for introspection and completing a deep, honest dive into your company’s brand. Your discoveries through this process could surprise you, potentially informing your service offering, product offering, marketing initiatives and overall customer experience. Note, however, this process should not be a one-time thing. Whether you decide to block off time once a month, quarter or year, taking the time to know yourself will focus your marketing and land your business far more victories in the long run. The process never ends.