Your brand is both a mirror and a window. It reflects how you see yourself and it’s also how the outside world looks at you. To extend the analogy, the way you frame this perception is your branding. In an ideal world, the internal and external views are identical. The reality is you need to be constantly adjusting your communications to achieve consistency.
Brand is an emotional relationship
People usually don’t painstakingly weigh up the pros and cons of each of your products and services to come to a rational assessment. They like, love, hate, trust or even covet your brand. What stays with them is how they feel about the experience in total. And, as with any emotional relationship, it’s work. In today’s world of social communications, your audience is holding up their side by expressing whatever satisfies or dissatisfies them. They expect that you’ll respond.
So if your idea of brand is confused with branding, you’ll be forever adjusting the minor details, which is like changing the draperies and expecting the view from the window to be different. The opposite is true, too. If once you’ve developed your logo, color scheme, voice and other elements you adopt a “set and forget” attitude, you’ve mistaken your brand for your branding.
Walking the walk
What’s important are the actions you take. Your brand has a personality; it needs to be out in the world taking part.
- Listen—there is a wealth of tools to monitor the social space around your brand, such as Brandwatch, CrimsonHexagon and Sprinklr.
- Adapt to your customers’ needs—this includes how they like to receive communication. If you don’t know, you can ask them.
- Partnerships—be judged by the company you keep. Find like-minded companies in different arenas and connect the dots. The sky has literally been the limit for GoPro and RedBull with stunts like “Stratos”, a parachute jump from space.
- Do good things—sponsoring charitable works allows you to talk about something other than yourself. It also motivates employees and connects you to a wider community.
So, look in the mirror and understand who you are. Then join the world outside your window.