When we talk to companies about branding, often the first reaction is, “Oh, we already have a logo, and we like it.” But a brand is more than a logo. It’s more than a product or service. And it definitely isn’t about a flashy marketing message. So what is it? Simply put, a brand is a person’s gut feeling about your organization.
What is the gut feeling that people have about you? A lot goes into the impression that people have of your company. Every touch point — from your customer service department to what current and former employees are saying about you on Glassdoor.com to the way your sales reps are talking about you in the marketplace comes into play. Taking a holistic view of managing your brand means thinking through all of these elements.
Brand as a Risk
What’s a risk management firm doing talking about branding? you might ask. If you think about risks facing your company, “brand damage” or reputational risk is one of the biggest out there. Your company’s reputation is worth more than most of the physical assets at your disposal.
You have a brand, whether you choose to manage it or not. One accident, one rogue employee, or one disgruntled client can forever damage the reputation of your company. In the increasingly social world we live in, the power of one individual to impact your brand is huge. Having a plan in place to build and protect your brand is imperative.
Your Employer Brand
Increasingly, we see organizations turn their focus on branding toward the recruitment and retention of employees. Brand is a critical tool in attracting new customers — and the same goes for attracting new employees.
Are you known as a great place to work? When employees go home at the end of the day, are they acting as stewards of the brand — living your brand — or are they complaining about their experiences working for your company?
Doing a Brand Audit
When we help a company manage its brand, we usually recommend starting with a brand audit to understand the sentiment of the marketplace toward that company. We ask a firm's clients and prospects things like:
- When I say “ABC Company” what is the first word that comes to mind?
- When I say [insert competitor's name] what comes to mind?
- List three to five things that make ABC Company a great company to work with.
- What does ABC Company do better than anybody else in the industry?
- What do other companies do better than ABC Company?
- Complete this sentence — ABC Company is the company that ________________.
How does your brand check out? Do you know the answers to the questions above? What is your approach to managing your brand? Share your thoughts in the comments!