Okay so first things first - the headline's a bit misleading - you can't do this in 10 seconds, but it really doesn't take too long to see where your brand's at.
I talk to lots of clients about brand: brand position, brand equity, brand image. But mainly I am trying to get them to see their brand through the eyes of their customers.
It really doesn't matter whether you like the colour purple, do your customers?
So, here are my steps towards checking the health of your brand.
Wait, before we go there, I know there's some of you reading this thinking "Bah! Brand, what brand? We're not Coca Cola! This doesn't apply to us."
Well my friend I'm here to say you've got that wrong. Branding is very simply an identifier. It exists so that people who want to buy your product can do so easily: you are recognisable, your brand image is resonant with your product and your company values and it 'speaks' to your customers in ways they understand and believe in. Everything from the colours on your brochure to the way you answer the phones is another clue for customers who are thinking of buying your product. The world is a confusing place so these clues become more important all the time, especially if you happen to be in a crowded market.
So, now you can read the steps:
- Take a moment to step outside yourself; step outside your position in your business whether you are the sales manager or the MD, and look, really look at your brand. What does it say to you? If you were a customer what would you think and feel? There are, I would argue, few brands in the world that could honestly say "yep, spot on, nothing needed here." It's likely that some improvement is possible to bring your image closer to your customer's needs and expectations.
- Then have a look at what you do and what you say you are about. If you have a mission statement or a set of company values, does your brand image reflect them? If you want to be known for quality does your website shout "cheap!"
- Then, steel yourself and look at your brand against that of your competitors, collaborators and sector as a whole. How do you fit in? Are you blending in with the crowd or do you stand out? What differences can you see between your identity and that of those you aspire to be like or work with? Are you falling behind, looking old fashioned? Are you really trying hard enough?
- If you find there are gaps and room for improvement then take action. It's no good taking this time to evaluate and not doing anything about it. Things you can do next:
- Arrange a staff meeting to discuss the brand image and get their thoughts and ideas - they might surprise you with the insight they will have developed through dealing with your customers every day.
- Be brave and suggest your trade association or business network gets together people in your sector to have a workshop on branding (as I said, unless you really are Coca Cola, chances are you'll all be in the same boat here) you can share your thoughts and learn from others.
- Survey your customers and collaborators to get their views on your brand image and go deeper, look at why they buy from you and what might make them buy from the competition.
- Finally, engage a brand expert to help you translate your thoughts, ideas and findings from your own work into a new or refreshed image. This doesn't have to cost the earth but could pay dividends in terms of reinvigorating those dormant accounts and particularly reaching out to new customers and new markets.
And if all this just seems impossible to do on top of the day job? Call Caxton and we will come in and do it for you.
If you are a manufacturing or engineering company in Cornwall turning over at least £75k then we will do steps 1-3 for free and will advise you on step 4. Find out more here.