That’s right, I’m talking about your brand. You know, the one that you want us to “do” for you. The one you need to “re-brand” or “refresh” in order to solidify your base or bring in new clients. We get it. We love it, in fact. There’s not much more we enjoy than bringing a brand in line with whom or what it represents.
Did you get that last part? The brand is more than a logo. Your brand is more than a catchy phrase. Your brand must tell your story, and tell it well.
Does your brand definitively define or illustrate the following:
- What you offer?
- What value you provide?
- What you value?
- How you’re different, better, juicier, leaner, meaner, etc…than anyone else?
- What your goals are?
- Who you want to work with? Or, if you’re a non-profit, who you serve?
- Why you exist? – that’s deep, I know, but trust me…it’s important.
All the pretty logos in the world can’t make up for a bad story, or even worse, no story. If you don’t have your story DOWN, cold…ready to roll at the drop of a hat, someone else will tell it for you and it may not be pretty.
What was that again?
Contemplating a name change? A merger? An evolution? Be ready to clearly tell why and how it benefits your clients, your staff, your colleagues and for many, the community.
Oh, and what might be one of the better tactics ever in solidifying your brand? Educating your clients, your fans, your engaged followers to tell your story for you. Hopefully, they can tell it, with regularity, better than you do. Your story, told from their perspective, as the end user or benefactor of what you bring to the table or provide, is gold.
Be Ready for the Evolution
Ever notice that you THINK you know what your brand is all about, what your story holds and, even more…that others know it that very same way? We all do. We think we do that really well in fact (we, being the collective we). What comes as a surprise to many of us is that other folks, our biggest supporters even, may tell our story just slightly differently than we do. They may tell it in a way that we actually quite enjoy.
Conversely, there are those times when we hear a slightly different version of our story that makes us cringe inside. What? “Do they not know that I am a full service operation? Don’t they realize we provide that service?” Sadly, no. They did not and they’re out telling the world, and potential referrals about your very limited story…a chapter, a page from the book of you, but not the entire download.
What do you do?
We listen. We process. We carefully and objectively review the alternate versions of the story.
- Do the new stories, these alternates if you will, enhance the brand as we know it?
- Are the new stories a better version of our brand?
- What elements are lacking in the alternate, community driven story, that we need to do a better job of telling? In other words, where did we drop the ball in brand management and delivery of the story?
Once we, as the owner of the brand, listen, review and weigh, the evolution begins.
Businesses evolve. They grow, they expand, they shrink and they become…hopefully, better iterations of the version from which they began. The business brand can and should evolve right along with it, in lock step, and in tune with the best versions of the story.
The not so good elements…well, there should be an evolution there as well. Either towards a better version, better story telling, or careful reflection on where we fell down on the job. Draft a plan to get it back on track. Stat.
What are you saying?
I’m not saying to crowdsource your brand development or your brand management. Listening to consumer/client/customer storytelling about your company and appropriately reflecting on such does not equate to crowdsourcing. Nor does it equate to brand management to encourage others to tell your story.
It equates to a solid gut check that should occur from time to time. It builds trust and engages community when others tell your story. For most, that will result in increased sales, new clients or strengthened referrals.
Ask your customers. Ask your potential clients. Ask your colleagues.
What does my business do?
What does my business do well?
Is there another business out there doing what we do? Tell me their story.
You’ll be amazed at what you find out and if you’re really listening, you’ll learn more from that exercise about your brand, your story and where they do or do not meet, than you thought possible.
While we’re at it, tell me your story down below! I’d love to hear it and I’d love to see what others have to say about it, too!
Thanks for listening!