In order to give your company the distance it needs to tunnel out of the dark, developing your brand needs to be the first step. Attempting to solve your branding challenges with a radio ad or a billboard can actually hurt your business and make it harder for you to fix it in the future. The temptation to force feed your message to customers and team is tempting.
Much like Andy Dufresne's escape in the Shawshank Redemption: your brand needs pressure & time, pressure & time.. Here are our top five misconceptions that impatient marketers may have about developing a brand.
1. Assuming brand development can be accomplished via marketing:
Brand development is a process by which a company defines who they are, how they’re different and why they exist. This is the foundation upon which future marketing campaigns are launched. Establishing your brand must precede marketing and advertising campaigns, they're not developed simultaneously. A successful brand defines who you are as a company, why people should care about you and buy from you. It's not just because of a new campaign, price or product but because you've captured their hearts. Brand-driven marketing drives long-term sustainability.
2. Understand sales loves marketing & marketing loves sales. (They just don't like to talk about it):
Historically, sales and marketing have tended to play the blame game rather than work together. The two are not mutually exclusive. Much like any relationship its best when there is a fundamental understanding that one, without the other, wouldn't exist.
3. Believing that refreshing your logo refreshes your brand:
A name & logo refresh is nothing more than a name & logo refresh. Refreshing a name & logo without a refreshing the culture does nothing more than confuse your team and your customers. It makes them wonder what’s going on? You may feel good because you feel inspired but: are they? Think: New Coke.
4. Believing your brand is determined by gathering intelligence from your customers:
You can't rely on the voices of those who have no knowledge of your company's intellectual or creative assets – the only assets that a brand can be built upon. Companies that adopt this approach are essentially telling customers, “we have no self esteem, please tell us what we should be!” Last time we checked 'uncertainty' made an extremely bad cologne. Emulate brands you trust and love already. When you think of those brands there was absolutely no room for hesitation or second guessing. They know who they are and what they want to be. That's why you like them. (See: Apple, Nike, GoPro, etc.)
5. Have the right people on the bus:
Brand Ambassadors, the lights the guide the brand and perhaps your single most important asset. It doesn't do much good if you have to tell people what your brand means to them . They have to feel it, believe it, and know how to deliver it.
So, like Andy Dufresne's escape: a great brand doesn't need to tell people how to feel. Instead, it inspires them. It inspires them by never losing the message. It inspires them about who they are, what they stand for, and who they want to be when they grow up. Andy's story, although fictional, is one of the best examples of brand self-confidence, transparency, authenticity and accountability.
And he did it through pressure & time, pressure & time...