Many businesses, big and small, put too much faith in rebranding. They spend tons of money on developing a new logo and new marketing materials in hopes that this will somehow improve their bottom line. But the logo is not the thing that holds a business back from success, it is only the identifying symbol of an organization. It makes people aware of your brand through recognition, but the logo itself says nothing about who you are unless you build meaning into it.
So, what is your brand? Your brand is the emotion behind what someone feels, sees and experiences when they interact with your business on any level. Your brand defines who you are as an organization. Therefore – every thought, every action, every encounter, every policy, every ad, every marketing promotion has an effect of either inspiring or deterring brand loyalty in whoever is exposed to it.
A little exercise I like to do with clients is to ask them to look at the following logos and then tell me what their gut reaction is to those logos.
Simply looking at each of these logos evokes an emotional response. You had thoughts and feelings about each company. In fact, when you looked at the Aflac logo, you probably heard the duck in your mind saying “Ah Flack.” You may have automatically thought of one of their taglines or visualized an ad or TV commercial. That response or “gut feeling” about a company is branding. The logo is just the identifier.
A great brand is built from the inside out and on a solid BASE. Your brand should tell people who you are, why you exist, what you stand for, what your vision is for the future, what sets you apart from the competition and what your promise is to whoever interacts with your organization.
When you focus on building your BASE for success you are helping to ensure that your brand stays true and on course. The BASE model tells us that if Knowledge/Vision, Principles/Values and Culture/Self-Concept are not aligned, it will cause gaps to form in an organization and those gaps negatively affect a brand.
To have a successful brand the BASE for the business should align with the BASE of the individuals you employ at every level of your organization, as well as with the BASE of your stakeholders. Your brand should never originate in the marketing department. Because in the long run marketing only convinces someone to do business with you once, but branding is what determines if they do business with you for the rest of their life.
When the BASE of an organization is strong, then "branding" naturally becomes everyone in the company’s focus—from sales to the shipping department.
Vicki Selhorst is a Marketing Strategist & Graphic Designer for BASE Results. She brings years of experience to the BASE team as an expert in branding, marketing and design. Vicki is also the owner of VS Graphics where she works with small businesses, corporate clients and not-for-profits on design and marketing projects at a national level.