A brand is a promise

A brand is a promise that you will deliver a service or product in the way that the customer expects it. This sounds simple enough, however, there are many things that can go wrong. An enterprise may have inadvertently oversold the features and benefits, hence the old phrase: “Undersell and over deliver.”

There may be hidden costs, i.e. delivery, maintenance or additional features. Before the customer buys, be as open and transparent as possible about the whole package that you are offering.

What if there is a problem, after the sale has been made? How easy do you make it to communicate with you? Is your telephone number clearly displayed on your website? Ideally, this should appear at the top of every page. Contact forms are fine and I understand why they are so popular. However, many people prefer to send an email.

The key issue is to decide what your promise is, in the first place. You may think that you know what it is. Your customers may have different ideas. It is a good idea to talk to customers and get their viewpoint on what your brand is all about. The challenge is that they don’t think about your brand as often as you do and they will probably come up with all sorts of conflicting points of view. It is still worth doing this, at least once a year.

Your brand values are the place to start. Do you have these written down? Does your team know what they are?

When was the last time that a company broke a promise to you? How did it make you feel? How often do they have to do this before you go somewhere else?

7 ways to build your brand

A recognisable brand name brings numerous benefits, including increasing the value of your business, attracting more customers and being able to charge higher prices.

Here are 7 ways to build your brand:

1.  List your values – as great brands are built on strong values. This can be the values of the business owner or the combined values of the board of directors. Whatever they believe in will be reflected in the brand (and I’m really hoping that one of them is ‘integrity’).

2.  Have a big idea behind your brand. Write this down and share it with everyone (i.e. staff, associates, suppliers, investors and family members).

3.  Differentiate your business from the competition. This is worth thinking hard about. (If you’re struggling, I offer a creative thinking training which can be applied to your brand).

4.  Work on your visual brand identity, including your logo, company colours and typography. It needs to look professional – so use an experienced graphic designer and it all needs to be consistent. Ensure that your logo is used everywhere (email signature, printed matter, social media accounts etc).

5.  Create a handful of messages to associate with your brand. These should include a strapline.

6. Great brands don’t bore people to death. Think of novel ways to attract customer attention. Don’t do what everyone else does!

7.  Choose your promotional mix and communicate, communicate, communicate. I’m often asked about this, as business owners and marketers can sometimes feel that they are communicating too much. Don’t worry about it – as it takes a huge amount of effort just to be noticed at all.

Bonus idea: use images – as a picture paints a thousand words. People remember images, long after they have forgotten what was said or read.

Nigel Temple offers brand advice via his marketing consultancy services.

Join 13,000+ people who ffollow Nigel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nigeltemple



Brand strategy

All businesses, no matter what size, should ‘think brand’. Here is a Mind Map (click to expand) which shows the key elements of branding. Scroll down to see a checklist, which explains what the branches mean.

Branding Mind Map by Nigel Temple

Brand strategy

Begin with a clear set of objectives for your brand. What does it stand for? What is the one word which you would like customers to associate with your brand? What short phrase sums up your brand and sets it apart from the crowd? The key issue is to differentiate your brand – which may not be easy if you are operating in a crowded marketplace. (If you have a startling new idea for a brand, then your challenge may be explaining it!)

Successful brands are built on strong values

If you are creating a brand, it will be built on your values. Write a list of your values and include them within your marketing plan.

What’s the big idea, then?

Successful brands are underpinned by a central idea. What is the big idea which drives your brand? (If there is any difficulty in responding to this question – call me).

Do your products / services fit with your brand?

Are they aligned with your brand values? Do they support the brand or detract from it?

The customer journey

From initial encounter and awareness, to desire, purchase and advocacy – is there brand consistency? I am not just referring to your visual brand identity, I am talking about brand identity and character.

Visual brand identity

Are you using your logo, colours and typeface consistently? For example, I have used Arial for as long as I can remember. I use it within my website, blogs, emails and all of my printed matter.

Staff, colleagues, teams – do they get your brand?

Does everyone within your enterprise understand what your brand is all about? Gather them together and ask them to write down what your brand stands for. Compare the results. (Be prepared for a surprise). Incidentally, engaged staff create the best brands. (If you would like me to come over and do this exercise, you are welcome to contact me).

Promotional mix

Is your promotional mix integrated? Does it all have a consistent look and feel or is it all over the place?

The human brain and branding

People love stories. What stories are there to tell about your brand? How are you getting these stories out there? People learn through experience – what kind of experience does your brand deliver? Above all, how does it make your customers feel?

Brand results

An established brand is worth more money than a non-branded enterprise. Brands attract more customers and they deliver a higher level of profitability than their commodity cousins.

If you would like to talk to me about your marketing strategy and brand – by all means get in touch. This could be one of the most important and influential conversations you ever have about your business.

Nigel Temple

Nigel is a marketing consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He shows businesses how to get better results from 21st century marketing – starting with marketing strategy and brand positioning. He advises business owners, boards of directors and teams.

Nigel has taught marketing strategy since 1996. He has an honours degree in marketing and served as a Faculty Member and Course Director at CIM (the Chartered Institute of Marketing) for 12 years. He led over 500 Business Link workshops, focusing on marketing strategy and internet marketing. Today, he delivers marketing events for The Marketing Compass which provides impartial marketing advice for business owners.

To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!

Follow Nigel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nigeltemple

What is branding?

What is branding? Your brand = your business, seen from the customer’s perspective.

Successful brands are based on strong values.

Branding includes your visual identity, i.e. your logo, company colours and typeface. It also includes:

*  The thickness of your business card
*  How many times the phone rings, before a human being answers it
*  How quick off the mark you are to respond to questions and enquiries
*  Where you appear within Google organic search results
*  The impression that your website gives, within the first 3 seconds of looking at it
*  What people are saying about you in conversation and within the social media
*  The number of times that your target markets hear / see your brand name
*  The emotional reaction that occurs, when someone encounters your brand
*  The ability of dormant, current & prospective customers to describe what you do
*  The clarity of your brand proposition, positioning  and identity
*  The behaviour of the business owner, management and every member of staff
*  The extent and depth of your promotional mix
*  The stories that customers tell about you
*  Your writing ability
*  The images you use
*  Your attention to detail

If you have a question about branding, you are welcome to ask me.


What are your values?

Great brands are built on strong values. If your business is ‘just you’, then you are the brand. What are your values?

Values = the basis of branding. As a business owner, your values are the foundation of your enterprise. Being clear about your values will help you to position your enterprise, amongst other things. It is important to know what your values are. Here are some of them:

Authority, Change, Communication, Competence, Creativity, Decisiveness

Efficiency, Excellence, Family,  Focus, Freedom, Friendship, Goals, Gratitude

Happiness, Health, Helpfulness, Honesty, Imagination, Independence, Integrity

Knowledge, Leadership, Learning, Logic, Love, Loyalty, Money, Positive thinking

Privacy, Problem solving,  Professionalism, Quality, Recognition, Relationships

Service, Spirituality, Success, Teamwork, Truth, Trust, Wealth, Wisdom

Take a moment to list your values. Include the finished list within your website. I have known customers to decide on a particular supplier, as they displayed their values in this way.  Incidentally, the above list of values comes from The Marketing Compass Manual.