The Brand Your Brand Could Look Like

"Hello ladies. Look at your man, now back at me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me. But if he stopped using lady-scented body wash and switched to Old Spice he could smell like he's me." Does this sound familiar? That's the power of fantastic branding. When Old Spice rebranded with their "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign they increased sales by 125% and stood out among all other body wash products available.

But branding doesn't just mean you stand out from the competition; good branding means your target market believes there is no competition. For this to happen, your target market needs to know:
  • Who are you?
  • Why should they care?

Branding can provide key answers to those questions. Many people think that branding is merely a name, a logo, a tagline. But it is so much more. A great brand is distinct, relevant, and consistent, and above all else, memorable.

That's what we're going to talk about here. We're going to go through the why-what-how-when-where of branding and discuss how you can leverage your brand to impact your bottom line.

Why

Great branding is priceless - but why? Why do companies spend fortunes developing, protecting, expanding, and engendering brand loyalty? Because it provides a steady stream of prospective customers - a customer who loves your brand is more likely to purchase from you than from a competitor without even knowing the product in question.

As the marketplace becomes cluttered with dozens of companies producing similar products, companies look for ways to connect emotionally with customers and stand out. People fall in love with brands, trust them, believe in their superiority to all others. Connecting emotionally is imperative.

For me, I really love Restoration Hardware and I'm always revisiting their store to see what's new. I encourage you to think about the brands you love, and this might help you connect better with your customers.

What

Branding is developing and aligning the expectations of a brand with the customer's experience, creating the impression that the brand has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand is therefore one of the most valuable elements in advertising, as it demonstrates what the company is able to offer in the marketplace.

The art of creating and maintaining a brand is called brand management. Orientation of the whole organization towards its brand is called brand orientation, which is developed in response to customer needs and wants.

How

At eBoost, we use Alina Wheeler's method from "Designing Brand Identity," a disciplined process used to build awareness and customer loyalty:

1. Conduct customer research:

Make a concerted and organized effort to gather information about your most valuable customers - the foundation to any great marketing strategy. At eBoost, this is Persona Development - creating customer archetypes that represent hundreds of people boiled down to their needs, wants and demands. (See webinar "Marketing Personas: What, Why and How.)

2. Clarify strategy:

Identify the most important elements of your brand as it relates to your customers, your competitors, and your company. At eBoost, we have developed a "Brand Brief" template to succinctly illustrate these elements on one page. This brand brief allows every level of a company to work off of the same information.

3. Design identity: make something that meets the 5 criteria

What does the brand look like? What colors are used? What images? What does the packaging look like? Brand identity is creating a design that fits with your brand's personality and speaks to the emotion you want to invoke in your customers. Brand identity includes the logo, packaging, website ... all elements to the company.

An easy way to design your brand's identity is to crowdsource the logo to 99Designs or CrowdSpring - depending on budget and time. This will allow you to choose from many different logo options from designers, as they will each interpret the brand a little differently.

When judging your brand's identity, evaluate it against the following 5 criteria:

  1. Distinct
  2. Relevant
  3. Memorable
  4. Extendable to other mediums (print, web, TV, mobile, etc.)
  5. Depth of concept (how the design illustrates the qualities that are important to the brand and the company)
4. Create touchpoints:

At this step in the process, you know who your customers are, what your strategy is, and what your brand looks like. Now, you need to decide how you will deliver your brand to your customers.

The channels through which you can communicate include:

  1. TV
  2. Print
  3. Web
  4. Radio
  5. Mobile
  6. In-person

However, flooding all of these mediums with your brand messaging could be a waste of time and money. If you are allocating resources to print ads in magazines but your target market is only active online you will obviously not reach them. A key part of customer research and Persona Development is learning where your consumers are engaged. Reaching them is key to building brand awareness and customer loyalty.

5. Manage assets:

Finally, you must track how your customers are responding and measure how your brand is performing. Conversions - whether it is brand awareness in the form of Facebook likes or customer loyalty in the form of a growing email list - must be tracked so that you know if you are improving or not.

For one, you can audit how well the brand performs among the target customers via fivesecondtest.com (assuming the client has the budget to allow testing). Or, you can ask 5 people to help out who fit your persona type - give them each $5 Starbucks cards and for $25 you'll get great, useful feedback.

When

So now we've gone through the why-what-how portion. For "when," there are six times to apply new branding:

1. New company, new product
2. Name change

When your name no longer fits the company and the industry you are in, it is time to rebrand to ensure that no customers are misled and that no conflict arises from the confusion.

3. Revitalize the brand

If the brand has gotten stale it needs to be updated - Old Spice had gotten stale. It was an old fogey brand, your dad's cologne in a white bottle. The younger generations had moved on to Axe, Polo, Ralph Lauren. Old Spice introduced "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" to revitalize the brand.

4. Revitalize a brand identity

Does the logo, website, or packaging need to be updated? For more than 135 years, the leaping deer has been a symbol of John Deere products. But the first logos of 1876 and 1912 would not resonate with today's consumers. John Deere has had to update their identity and simplify their design, finally arriving at the identity we recognize in 2000.

Coca Cola and Pepsi, too, have worked on their identities, but always in keeping with their customer's expectations of the brand and the experiences that create an emotional connection.

5. Create an integrated system

Present a consistent brand to customers across all mediums. In both the online and offline worlds, customers need to hear the same message and have the same experience with your brand in every interaction they have with you. If a customer sees your TV ad and is told A, then sees an ad in the magazine and is told B, then speaks with a salesperson at your store or online and is told C, the customer will be left feeling confused and your brand's worth will be diminished in their eyes.

6. When companies merge

When two companies merge it can be difficult to manage the separate identities. Build a new brand from the union that sends a clear message to your consumers that 1 + 1 = more than 2 and that you are better together than you were apart.

Where

Remember step 4 of Alina Wheeler's "Designing Brand Identity" method of creating touchpoints? Let's quickly touch on that most important point of: you must communicate your brand to your customers where they will receive the message. In other words, don't use radio if your customer only engages online; don't use social media advertising if your customers are inactive on social networks.

And remember: brand consistency across all mediums, both online and offline!

Janey Junker, Associate Consultant, eBoost Consulting

Next Steps

eBoost Case Studies

Conversion Design Case Study

One of the first in the home decorating products category, Home of Decor's marketing communications needed consistency and its organizational team needed to be on the same page. Its website was outdated and not reflective of the company brand. ... read more »

eBoost Articles

The Post-Recession Persona: 5 Important Trends for B2C and B2B Personas

Modern companies that have invested in solid pre-recession persona development surely led to uninterrupted success in understanding (and influencing) their customers. ... read more »

Did You Know?

Personas provide a common language allowing Customer Service, Sales, Executives, and Marketing to communicate more effectively about customer needs, wants, and demands.