What is a brand? How do I get one?

On more than one occasion I have been asked this question and the person asking has then quickly followed up the question with the statement, “it’s the logo isn’t it?” 

Well, in all honesty, the logo is just a small part of what makes up a brand. The logo is more of a device that helps represent the actual values of a company.

To take this further, a brand is a companies’ personality; how it differentiates itself from the competition, its perception in the market place and there are a number of elements that contribute to this. Any marketing activity a company undertakes must be consistent to provide clarity. By this I mean, your organisation should stand for something – it should have a clear USP with which you are permanently associated.

Also, and it may sound obvious, but your company must exude a positive perception that is both unique and appealing. In my experience, a company will too often plumb for a common claim and simply becomes a ‘oh no, not another one’ rather than a ‘brilliant, I will get in touch.’

A great deal of successful brands are able to differentiate themselves from the competition quickly and effectively gaining the maximum number of prospects (and existing clients) for the minimum amount of effort.

My check list in creating your brand is 

Who are your target audience? – define you TA in terms of sector, seniority, location etc
What are their real needs? – markets are becoming more and more fragmented so divide your services or specialise if need be.
Who does your competitor use? – really get to know your competition. It is essential you have the answer to ‘what should I switch to you?’
How do they choose? – who makes the decisions? who is involved? where are they getting their information on which they are basing their decision?
How does your competition operate, how do they present themselves, how are they positioned?

Where do you want to be in relation to this? – this is your USP.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? – do a SWOT and either capitalise on your strengths or eliminate your weaknesses.
Do you need to change direction?
If so, what are the implications? – i.e. you might want to pause a marketing push.

Some of the above might not be answerable, but research your market, invest time, money and energy to give your business an advantage. And of course……………use an outside Consultant to gain objectivity!


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