I had the pleasure of meeting Diane Dufour, founder and co-owner of Accurate Design & Communications, at an IABC Ottawa event called Flex your brand muscle. She spoke of the importance of a strong brand image.
She described her top 10 musts of a successful brand:
- Be memorable: make sure your name is short and sweet and avoid acronyms. Your logo is a tattoo for the mind, make is recognizable yet always relate it to your brand. Use a tagline to explain the expressions lacking in the name and logo.
- Be current: that does not mean stay trendy and “cool”. A brand needs to stand for something that matters. To make it relevant to your audience make your brand stands for something that matters TODAY/NOW.
- Relate brand to culture: relate it to the external and internal cultures. Ask yourself, what does your audience expect from your organization? And what do you expect from your staff/employees?
- Uniform brand application: it is important your brand is recognizable everywhere it is placed. Think of your brand like a family: they all must have red hair and blue eyes, but they can wear different clothes.
- Brand exposure strategy: develop a strategy by developing a communications plan.
- New channels: don’t be afraid of new channels, and that doesn’t just mean social media. Think of new media, music/jingle, videos, etc.
- Invest in your brand: the biggest question for organizations is how much do I spend on my brand? As a rule of thumb:
- Large business: 5 to 10 per cent of revenue
- Small business: 20 per cent of revenue
- Very large corporations: 2 to 5 per cent revenue
- Never forget time is money and money is time. If you don’t spend on one be prepared to spend it on the other.
- Leverage your brand: make sure your brand image is constant cross all products and services. If you sell a product, your brand should be rightly represented through any services provided. For example, if you sell a good car, there better be good maintenance service.
- Be brand specific: have a business plan that aligns with your marketing plan. If you want to accomplish a goal, integrate your brand in the process to obtain your goals. Build the business you want, don’t just manage the business you have.
- Stamp it on everything: having your brand stamped on everything doesn’t mean more money in the budget. In fact, in most cases it isn’t that expensive. Most companies want your business, and if that means adding a logo, then generally it is at little cost to your organization.
A good example: the City of Ottawa, they even have their logo on manholes.
It is not hard to have a successful brand. And with a successful brand you can build a culture around your organization and grow revenues.
Just remember these last words by Diane Dufour.
Perception is the only reality: you are not who YOU think you are, but you are what OTHERS think you are. To see a true perception of yourself you must be comfortable stepping out of your body/organization and looking at yourself from the outside in.
It is not all about you: It is important to relate everything to your audience and what matters to them.