A brand is the collective perception of those that interact with your business. Your brand can be good, bad, or indifferent. The problem with most businesses, though, is that this kind of branding is unintentional. The best businesses carefully craft and maintain their brands in the eyes of their customers.
In my mind, the ultimate mark of brand success is when the community defines your brand using a single word. This takes work and may take money, but it certainly takes consistency.
In order to do this, you must consider elements of your brand that go beyond the traditional marketing identity set.
If you want to craft your brand around a single word, you must first determine what that word is or should be.
A great starting point is to measure what your community thinks your brand means today in their view. Start by casually asking eight to 10 of your ideal clients what one word they would use if asked to describe your business to a friend.
You may find some consensus, but you may also find that your brand promise is as clear as mud.
If your brief research project validates a word for you, then your job is to simply build on that word and its relationship to your brand. If, however, you end up with the muddy variety, you must back up and determine where your brand promise is lacking.
Start by mapping all the actual and potential touchpoints you have with prospects and clients, and see if you can inject the promise of a single word into each.
For example, one of the first elements of a brand promise might be your organization’s name, logo, and colors. With my own business, I wanted to project the word “Practical.” That’s how Duct Tape Marketing was born, because what’s more practical than a roll of duct tape?
This is an area that often leads to trouble because so many businesses are named without any thought of a brand promise. If this is your business, you must be even more creative in terms of style, and that may require a logo redesign.
Great design can help you own your single word. Think of your logo in terms of a well-dressed person. You may not know why you like their sense of style, but you do. Your customers will feel the same about your business.
But perhaps the most valuable element of this way of thinking is that it makes every decision you make a little easier.
Every time I write a blog post I think about my word - practical. Every time we create a course or product, take on a sponsor, or even make hiring decisions, that word guides what we do.
Your brand promise must become more important to you than something that just helps you design a logo; it should become a part of your business’s everyday culture. Once it permeates every decision you or your employees make, your customers will take note.
Own your one-word brand promise, and your customers’ view of your business will be less muddy.