Creative thinking that delivers results

11 May

What is your brand saying about your business?

Category: Branding
Branding, brand, marketing, logo, marketing communications

We can all appreciate the importance of branding for a business, particularly in today’s ultra-competitive market. Being able to differentiate yourself from your competitors is critical to gaining traction with your customers. But is your brand saying the right things that will resonate with them?

It’s all about alignment

As you likely know, branding is about making an explicit or implicit ‘promise’ to your customers about the type of product or service they can expect to receive when they interact with the brand. In order for a brand to be effective and successful, it has to realize what it stands for in its customers’ eyes. At the same time, the brand also needs to understand the impressions and beliefs its customers hold.

It’s this alignment between the expectations of the brand and the perspective of its customers that is so critical to effective branding. When there is optimal alignment between these two factors, you have a successful brand – one whose ‘brand promises’ match-up well with the needs and expectations of its customers.

Unfortunately, too many brands make the assumption that they have alignment between their brand promises and the perspectives held by their customers. When they’re wrong about this, the ramifications can be substantial, especially from a bottom line perspective.

Building your brand

A big part of effective branding is finding a unique, differentiated brand position - one that isn’t held by any of your key competitors. Once you’ve accomplished this, the next step would be to find the right messaging that conveys this unique market position in a tangible way that your target customer will understand and appreciate.

Too often brands try to use vague and unclear language that’s virtually impossible to understand, making it impossible for customers to translate this into something meaningful. Finding the alignment between what you want your brand to be and what your customers expect of it may appear to be something close to nirvana, but it need not be so.

In reality, the best to way to ensure this alignment is to make sure you truly understand your customers. This often requires investing resources into some primary and secondary market research, which can validate and confirm the perceptions you have regarding your clients. We spoke about the importance of this in a previous blog.

At Sydcam Marketing Communications, we believe strongly in the importance of aligning the brand under the business (and its inherent attributes and messaging). When this happens, there is a clarity of purpose that comes out loud and clear in everything that business does from a marketing perspective.

Assessing your brand alignment

To make sure your brand is saying and doing the right things, you need to talk to your customers! And one of the easiest ways to do this is to conduct an online survey with some of them. Ask them specific questions about their perception of your business and brand (along with your products or services). You can also use social media to complete much of your customer research, as we noted in a recent blog.

Then you can see how their views align with what you want your brand to stand for. Solid alignment between the two indicates the brand messaging is well understood by your customers. Any disconnects often indicate that additional effort is required by your marketing and PR teams to clarify the brand.

Defining your brand

This gets us back to our original question: what is your brand saying about your business?Hopefully you now know that to answer this question a business needs to go through a fairly rigorous process of self-reflection, involving market research and analysis of the brand and its customers to ensure that it’s value proposition is expressed in a way that its customers can truly understand and appreciate.

Hence, there must be alignment between the brand promise and the brand’s perception in the eyes of your customers. When this occurs, your brand will be saying all the right things to your customers. When there is a disconnect between the two there will be confusion regarding the brand and your customers will be unsure of what you’ll be delivering to them!

Contact us today if you’d like to have marketing professionals assess the alignment of your brand to the perceptions held by your clients. We can help you tighten up the two so your business can confidently develop marketing messages, content and campaigns that are “on brand”.