How many times have you heard of seen advertising for a graphic design company that states that they do branding?
If you think branding is a logo, letterhead, or web design with all the same look, and colours, then it’s true…they can “do branding”.
Let’s take a look at one of the world’s best-branded companies, McDonalds. You may not like the food, but if someone says “golden arches” you know what institution they are talking about. Mickey D, McCoffee and Big Mac all bring the same familiar name to mind. You each may have a different reaction to the thought of eating there, but any one of the many product names will trigger the bigger picture.
Think about the things you know from each of your McDonalds experiences: You know they have salty fries, the food is fast, and there is a system to everything they do. The staff often says the same things to you. You can get the same core menu items all over the world. If you take the time to think about it, you can up with a huge list of features you can count on at McDonalds.
Doesn’t that make the term “branding” when applied to logo, look and colour seem a bit of a misnomer?
We know that the concept was born in a single location in small town America. How do you think that McDonalds developed their brand? You can get the book and read all about it, but you don’t have to do that to figure out how to build your own brand.
There is no secret. It’s all about organizational culture. Brand is the personality your business has developed through your leadership and the systems you put in place. It’s having a customer know that each time they go into your business, they will be treated the same way they were last time they were there. They will see some of the same products. The staff will say hello just like they always do. The business will have the same policies and procedures…in other words…a customer can count on you to be who you were during their last experience.
No one else can create a brand for you, …unless you hired a CEO to run the business, set the parameters and standards, and writes the operational procedure manuals. Many businesses start small, with the owner doing most of the work…that’s the time to write the procedure manuals, when the person with the vision is actually doing the work and can see what works best to achieve their pre-defined results. If everyone ran their business like a well-run franchise, there would be fewer business failures and many more strong brands..
Having a strong brand means that everyone who works in your business has a clear picture of why they are there. The business could run without you, because everyone would know what they were supposed to do and how they were to treat co-workers and customers alike.
Decide who you are as a business and be the best you can be at it every day. Write down the things that you do. Decide what your goals are. Share it with your employees…and you will create a brand.
Oh… and don’t forget…you need a logo, letterhead and a web site that all convey the same message….but they are not the brand…. YOU ARE!