TLC branding consultant Jon Scott discusses the anatomy of a strong brand to drive business success.
Why is your brand important to the success of your business? Your brand is more than just the logo you display to show you exist and mark your territory. It is more than just a stamp of ownership you use to differentiate your products or services from those of your competitors. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon says “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
Your brand is made up of a number of individual components that together with your logo, convey the persona of your business to your employees, suppliers, and prospective customers. An effective brand will reflect the purpose driving your business. It supports your ambition, reflects the values and beliefs which define your personality, behaviour and tone of voice, and establishes a clear position for your business in the market.
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”
Steve Forbes, Editor in Chief, Forbes Magazine
Done well, your brand can increase the value of your business, provide direction and motivation for your employees and make it easier to acquire and keep the customers you want to attract to your business. All companies and organisations need customers, supporters and advocates, and your brand helps to build and nurture these relationships.
So what are the important components of a strong brand?
Just like all living things, brands have an anatomy and are in a constant state of evolution. From the moment a brand is born, the anatomy of the brand grows and evolves as the business grows and develops.
TLC organise the components required to build a strong brand into the three main branches; Business, Culture and Reputation. Each of these branches has a number of individual components and these work together to create a strong and effective brand for your business.
Branch 1: The business of branding
The business components of a brand are closest to those found in your business plan. They focus on the market you operate in, what you are selling, how you position yourself amongst your competitors, and, who your target customers are. It also reflects how you organise your products and services, a discipline known as brand architecture, and includes performance metrics that determine the health of your brand through activities such as brand awareness research.
Branch 2: The culture of branding
The cultural elements of a brand contain your vision, mission, values, personality, behaviours, and how you look and sound. Your visual identity is made up of your logo, strap line, colour, typography and graphic language (photography, illustration and graphic elements). How you sound is not what you say, but how you say it, and is referred to as your tone of voice. The final piece of the jigsaw is how all the individual elements come together – your brand guidelines.
Branch 3: Reputation and your brand
Over time, your reputation will become inextricably linked to your brand in the minds of your customers. Your reputation is affected by a number of factors, including the promises you make, the quality of the products or services and the way you interact with your employees, suppliers or your customers.
“Products are made in the factory, but brands are made in the mind”
Walter Landor, Founder, Landor
These factors shape the perceptions people have of your business and directly influence the level of trust they are willing to place in you and their decision to buy your products or services. The importance of a brand in relation to success of a business is reinforced by research. A study by The Reputation Institute found that 60% of our decision making is based on perception, whilst only 40% is based on the product or service. A separate piece of research by the Design Council showed the impact in monetary terms when they found that for every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenue.
Whatever stage your business is at, make branding part of your strategy for growth.
Creative Thinker & Founder
Jon is Creative Thinker & Founder of Thinking loud & clear. Jon helps build strong brands that create positive change. That positive change might be increasing membership, increasing customer loyalty or gaining a competitive advantage.