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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sick brand? Perk it up!

Branding is not fixed, it's a fluid thing that needs constant maintenance. We're sure you've invested a lot of time in your logo, corporate identity and branding but when did you last look at all the material you've produced? You need to check on a regular basis that everything is lined up with your target market, mission statement and market position.

This needn't be an onerous task but it needs to be done regularly. It's like client contact which you, as a good marketeer of course, allocate a fixed length of time to every day - don't you?

Regular reviewing of your brand is just as important. You almost certainly won't have to invest in a massive re-branding exercise but you will probably spot smaller items that you can tweak and adjust to more accurately reflect the philosophy behind the brand promise.

One of the main things to watch is the reality of what you're saying. Genuine messages speak to your audience and engage them on an emotional level. If you come across as too "businessy" and politically correct your audience won't warm to you as readily as they might otherwise.

You don't have to be overly trendy or edgy but you should be real and authentic. And this comes from liking what you do. If the only point of your brand is to make money then it will become obvious to your audience and sales will inevitably fall. You really have to like what you're doing.

If you can, try being friendlier and sociable. Make special offers for visitors to the web site. Give your customers vouchers and coupons whenever you can see a real reason and they'll respond because, if they're interested, people like to be involved with anything that's genuine and driven by the passion we were talking about a little earlier and driven by the fact that you do actually like what you're doing.

And, sorry to say this but it's necessary, ensure that you have a branding guidelines manual. Your brand profile is a unique presentation of your company and as such becomes part of your roi - return on investment.

There are some things about your brand that are cast in stone but there could well be other rules in the manual that can be broken to achieve good results - because branding is a fluid thing (where have I heard that before?) and the only really important thing is that you communicate the right message to the right audience. If you're not, it doesn't matter at all that your branding is consistent.

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