Staying On Brand
You have probably come across the statement, “Your brand is your most important asset,” and maybe you’ve agreed or disagreed. After all, shouldn’t the client be number one? What about commitment to excellence? And having great employees is pretty high on the list too, right?
The fact is, your brand encompasses all of the above and then some, which is why it is vital to protect it at all costs.
A strong brand influences the way people think, feel and act about your business — which means it has a symbiotic relationship with every other aspect of your operations. Tinker with your brand too much (as Pizza Hut recently learned in their failed attempt to market to millennials), and you risk losing everything else.
To protect your brand, everyone involved has to have a complete understanding of it. In order to do this, it helps to develop a set of simple, comprehensive statements that people in your organization can refer to when answering the question, WWOBD (What would our brand do?).
- Mission Statement: You probably already have one, but it’s sound wisdom to review it from time to time to ensure that it is truly consistent with your brand. A good mission statement is in the simplest language possible (no jargon) and should answer what need your business is fulfilling and how it does that, as well as what sets you apart from the competition.
- Vision Statement: A mission statement addresses what your company does, but a vision statement reveals why you’re doing it. Think big, paradigm-shifting goals, and then condense them into a single sentence or phrase. Our client, Home Instead Senior Care’s motto, changing the face of aging, is a great example of a clear, succinct vision that inspires the public and reminds everyone within the organization that he or she is part of something greater than themselves.
- Who We Are: This can encompass both your brand’s personality and values. It helps to think in terms of human characteristics here (i.e. conservative, progressive, service-driven, community-minded, etc.), as well as how you want to be perceived (trustworthy, helpful, responsive). Companies like Southwest Airlines and Apple have this one nailed. It only takes one or two experiences with them to give you an idea of exactly what to expect every time you give them your business.
After you’ve developed a concrete brand identity, you can filter everything else through it to ensure that all aspects of your business — from your website and social media posts, to your sales process, to employee relations — is consistent with who you are and what you want your organization to be.