Ask any group of people what branding is and they’ll tell you all sorts of things. From the logo and business cards to the reputation of a company. They’ll talk about branding being an experience, interaction and visuals that match. And they’re right: All of these things are part of branding.
Branding is a collection of all of the interactions of your business. Branding is essentially a feeling -- from the person who greets potential customers on the phone or as they walk into your space to the social media messages and sales conversations customers receive. People don’t buy because they go through the features and benefits. They buy from you and tell others about you because of the feeling you gave them.
So if branding is a feeling, why do we list our features and benefits instead of finding the heart of the matter and getting them to experience an emotion? It's a valid question.
Most companies sound like they are businesses talking to other businesses -- buildings talking to buildings. Because we’re in business-to-business or business-to-consumer instead of human-to-human, we forget how to have human conversations. It’s time to start sounding like humans again.
Dove has done an incredible job with branding themselves without talking about what they do. Their numerous campaigns are focused on helping women see their self-worth instead of selling soap. And they work. They hit the feelings of their target customers with every video, campaign and message. If a huge corporation like Dove gets more business by not talking about what they do, it’s time for you to do the same.
Get everyone in your company on the same page with your branding and you’ll be on your way to connecting through feeling, which leads to more happy customers.
Here are a few tips to get your started:
There are no rules.
First rule: There are no rules. Throw away that corporate business textbook you’ve been following. You get to do and say whatever you want without following a script. It’s your brand.
Make your brand human.
What would your business sound like if it was a human? Think about the conversations you have in person and how they can be translated into content. Would your brand be casual or corporate? Excited or subdued? Fancy or full of flare? What words would it say or not say?
Find a parallel.
Do some research and find a parallel industry to yours and see what companies are doing with their branding. Ask yourself what you like about how they share information on their website, in emails and through their blog or social media. Write down characteristics you want to include in yours.
Read your stuff
Go through everything you have online, in print and through email. Does it sound like it’s all from one source? Does it fit the sound of the humanized brand you want? If not, update it. Get your team together and write responses to clients, potential clients and referral partners so everyone knows how they should sound.
Write it down.
Create a list of do’s and don’ts with your brand. Keep it simple but clear. And practice it. If it’s just you, compare the list to every email, tweet and conversation. If you have a team, meet weekly and review the list against your interactions to ensure everyone is on the same page.