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Discovering Your ‘Brand’

How to build stability and growth for your company’s services.

Brand is the emotional connection between a company and its clients. More than just a logo, brand is reflected in everything you do, across every mode of communication.
Consider one of Canada’s most successful brands, Tim Horton’s, a brand that immediately conjures up emotional connections about what it means to be Canadian. TD is one of the few banks to get on the “best managed brand” list after it “made over” its brand into “Banking can be this comfortable” with the signature green chair. Both are brands that can be evolved and rolled out into many forms of marketing.

Although these are well-known brands, the same principals apply to your own brand. By answering the following questions, you can begin to develop your own brand.

your target audienceWho are your ideal clients?

Brand must be consistent in messaging, quality and look to make the right emotional connection with its audience. First you need to find out about your ideal clients and what they like. What is their age and sex? What do they read and watch? Where do they hang out? What do they do? What is their family status? What is their motivation to buy? Have they used your type of service before? What challenges are they facing now? What stage are they at?

How are you perceived?

Next find out accurately how you are perceived now. This revealing process is best done through a third party who interviews current or former clients. Compare the results to a list of how you wish to be perceived, i.e. high-end, exclusive boutique versus mass market and inexpensive, etc. and define the changes that need to happen.

Unique Selling PropositionWhat is it that you do better than anyone else and why should I believe you?

This answer takes your brand from ho-hum to distinct. What sets you apart from the competition? Think beyond the first, obvious answers like ‘we provide great customer service. How do you do what you do, and why do you it this way? Perhaps you have a unique process. Dig deeper still. What are some stereotypes in your industry and how do you challenge these?

Designing your brand successfully

Now you must portray your answers from above in every form of contact: business cards, web site, email signature, newsletters, social media profiles or company pages, as well as business practices. Think about how everything works together. You present an elevator pitch and a business card — is this reflected in your website or how your telephone is answered?

Brand StewardTrust in a brand steward

The best way to make sure your brand message is conveyed consistently is to work with one company who becomes your brand steward, taking care of all marketing tools, promotes the value of brand, not just one that designs nice logos. A good brand steward makes sure your brand creates the right emotional connection and communicates in a compelling and memorable way. The other important way to ensure consistency is to educate your whole company on the brand (what it all means and how to use it) and get their buy-in. You are probably not the sole contact with the outside world.

A good brand will continue to support the emotional connection between your company and your audience and ensure stability and growth for your products and services.

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