Some people think that they can change the image of their business just by creating a new logo. It doesn’t work that way. A logo in itself is not a brand. A real brand identity stands for something. It has values and principles. And it stays true to its principles, whichever way the wind blows. Above all else, it’s consistent.
Everything, from the logo, products and services to your people, tone of voice and marketing material must be consistent. At the core of your business, you are making a promise with your brand. What’s your promise? And how consistently do you keep your promise?
When it comes to building a brand identity, author Richard Carlson got it wrong when he said “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” If you want to build a brand that customers love, everything counts. As a result, you absolutely have to sweat the small stuff. Follow the lead of the late, great Steve Jobs, and be obsessive about your brand. It will force you to consistently deliver on your promise.
You bet your sweet ass it does. How will you know? Your customers will notice. They will see the TLC you have poured into, over and around your business and they will be over the moon that you care that much about them. When you always put your customers first, they pay you back in spades. Abuse the trust they put in your brand at your peril. Never be tempted to cut corners to improve margins; it will bite you back before you know it…and trust is so hard to win back.
Resist the temptation to be a dedicated follower of fashion. The latest craze that’s trending might look like a great opportunity, but if it goes against your established brand voice, you’re entering shark infested waters. Learn from the greats of this world – Apple, Nike, Google, Intel, Amazon, Ikea, Accenture, Caterpillar, FedEx, Mercedes-Benz, VISA, Siemens, SAP – all have maintained a consistent voice. And because of this, each communication builds on top of the last, strengthening trust and increasing profits for these mega brands.
“That’s OK for the big boys with huge budgets,” I hear you cry. Not so. The size of your business is irrelevant – you have to find a way of making it different; making it better for your customers. Apparently, we are subjected to around 3000 marketing messages every day. To my knowledge, however, no one has devised a way of finding more hours in a day. So, with more and more things fighting for our attention, the worst thing you can do for your brand identity and your business is to make it average. Average = Invisible. That’s why although average might be cheaper, it costs more than excellence.