Your brand is your promise of value. It is often said that good brands have three primary characteristics: they are authentic, consistent, and differentiated. Of the three characteristics, staying consistent may be the hardest thing to do.
The challenge resides with people and discipline. Unfortunately, as your firm grows it becomes harder and harder to keep your brand consistent since everyone needs to believe in and support the brand. All employees must sing the same song, so to speak. They must honor the brand by using the same tag line, by treating customers with a minimum of respect, by using the same logo, and by dressing appropriately in the work environment. In practice, it is a lot like herding cats.
By discipline, I mean to suggest that people need to know what to do. Of course, the brand starts with the leadership of the company and the vision communicated. Yes, all employees need to on board with the company mantra. But, it goes beyond cheerleading and mission statements. You need to document the essentials of your brand, if you want people to honor the brand with consistency.
Your company name, logo, and tagline must be consistently displayed on all customer-facing material. This includes business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures, website, invoices, fax cover sheets, and signage. Color communicates the brand’s feel. Fonts need to be consistent across all your marketing communications.
Consider keeping a brand handbook since the brand’s devil is in the detail. A brand handbook captures and archives all of your branding elements including website colors, fonts, tag line, logo, stationery design, signage, graphics, background music, dress code, etc. It can include instructions on how to answer the phone (and how not to answer the phone such as, “what’s up dude”). All these things communicate your brand and it is imperative that everyone join in for a consistent brand.
A brand handbook can be helpful for communicating your brand’s essentials to new employees, while emphasizing its importance to the existing staff. It should be reviewed and updated as brand elements are updated or revised. Finally, this handbook must be distributed and read by all employees.
Brands must be consistent if they are be valued by your customer.
John Bradley Jackson
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