Branding: a living, breathing entity

Anyone who’s been following either my blog or newspaper column for the last few months will be very aware that a brand is so much more than a logo. It’s a promise, an experience and the difference between you and your competitor. Big companies spend many years, as well as hundreds of thousands of pounds, developing a powerful brand – one that looks fantastic, feels right and engages with their market on an emotional level. And that’s great; powerful branding forms the basis of a successful business and is a worthwhile investment. But a word of caution: simply employing an agency to work on your brand with you does not mean that your brand is done. Branding is not something to be ‘ticked off the list’ and popped on the shelf – as Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disney, said:

"A brand is a living entity and is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures"

What does this mean for you? It means that every single transaction, every phone call and every sale will either reinforce or damage your brand. Think about the last time you had a poor experience with a company who promised excellent service – you’ll have gone away feeling underwhelmed and disappointed that the brand failed to live up to its message. Chances are, that may have been enough to turn you off from that company completely, and no amount of money spent with a clever agency will put that right. Whether you decide to alter your promise to lower the expectations of your customers or, even better, commit to regular reviews of your service to ensure you are fulfilling your message, make sure you’re consistent to keep your brand growing.