Branding exists in the mind of your prospects and customers. It is not about what you say, it is what they experience and remember.
Branding is how people feel.
Brands make promises.
Branding is what people think of when they hear, see, touch, smell.
Your brand “means” what they think it means, not what you tell them it means.
Volvo might mean safety to you, to many people, but it could just as easily mean boring.
Coca-Cola could be “the real thing” but it could just as easily mean “Christmas”, “Poison” or “cleaning agent”. (People really do use it to clean up blood and grease!).
Rolex could say “quality” but it could also say “poseur”, “wannabe” or “knockoff”.
Yes you need to be very careful of the messages you communicate. Of course all your communications need to be consistent. Most importantly though the experience of dealing with you needs to live up to the promises your brand makes.
Brands live or die when comfronted with the reality of the actual customer experience.
British Airways claims it is the worlds favourite airline. We know though the truth can be far from it.
Why do people choose to go to a Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds over non-chain outlets? One of the reasons is the promise of consistency, we think we know what we are going to get. Our memory and imagination tells us the risk is low, it should be clean, decent enough product and the service ought to be inoffensive. This promise has been built up by marketing, yes, but mainly experience. Open a new outlet and the same experience is anticipated before anyone even steps through the door. Living up to the experience ceases to be remarkable, but when the experience is bad, even when it is no worse than the non-chain experience, people get to hear about it. Broken promises are worse than no promise at all.
With this in mind, what promises are you making explicitly or implicitly?
For example you might project the following brand values
What happens when someone completes your contact form only to get no response, or worse a brush off?
How about a brand that is all about helping the underdog acheive success then turns into a forum for the authors own earnings, name dropping or bragging?
The lessons here are twofold:
- Be very careful about the promises and expectations you create
- Make sure every interaction re-enforces those promises rather than breaks them
Take a long look at your brand, talk to your customers and prospects, monitor your communications. Look for anywhere you are saying one thing then acting against your words.
It’s hard to create a positive brand, but so easy to destroy one.
Table of contents for series: Better Blog Branding
- Better Blog Branding: What’s In a Name?
- Better Blog Branding: 10 Ways To Destroy Your Brand
- Better Blog Branding: Domain Exclusivity
- Better Blog Branding: Is Your Brand Breaking Promises?
- Better Blog Branding: Crafting Your Positioning Statement
- Better Blog Branding: How to Stand Out By Being First
- Better Blog Branding: Your Blogs Hidden Messages
- Better Blog Branding: Your Successful Brand
- Blog Branding and Positioning: Changing the Rules of the Blogging Game
- Naming Your Blog: How to Create Catchy Blog Names
- What Are You Saying Between the Lines?