04/06/16

What's brand got to do with it?

By Melanie Spring

Does brand really matter?

Sitting in a gorgeously branded office with humans chatting by the coffee bar, I see others working standing desks and a conference room inside of a small cabin… inside. We sit to have a conversation about webinars and workshops and the man sitting across from me asks the question many others have asked before:
 
“If this is all about building a business,
what’s brand got to do with it?”
 
Cue my improvised version of Tina Turner’s classic as he continued his questioning.
 
“Is branding for startups or established businesses? I wouldn’t think new businesses worry so much about brand as they do about getting business at the beginning.” 
 
I love this question. It’s one of my favorites to answer. 
 
Branding is a feeling. Yes, branding includes the logo and colors but it's more about how people feel about you in every interaction - even your well-branded office. Branding should be integral to business from the very beginning, but not the way you might think.
 
If you think a great brand is about having a great image, then I would recommend you get a great logo and put it on white letterhead and a white website - and keep it simple. Then use the words you say to explain the brand and make people feel something. 
 
If you think a great brand is about getting more people to hire you, then I would recommend looking deeply into who you are and pulling out the pieces that make you YOU. Then getting out in front of as many people as possible, shake hands, exchange emails, and talk about why you would rock their world. 
 
But if you think a great brand is about making sure people remember you, then you should come hang out with me. We’d be besties. 
 
Your brand is what gets people talking about you. It’s what gets people to hire you and refer you and recommend you and message you and email you and tweet you and love on you. It gets people to show up to your parties and stand at the front of the line when you’re hiring. Your brand is the warm hug your customers get every time they see you. Because branding is a feeling.
 
At Sisarina, we work with people who want to quit their job and start their own business. They know that their brand strategy is key to finding success in leaving a stable career. They want their brand to make their future clients and customers feel something in each and every touchpoint. They want to be remembered. And when they’re done, these newbie entrepreneurs know who they are, where they’re going, and how to get there - they have a branded adventure map of where they’re going.
 
We also work with the overwhelmed marketing departments of ginormous Fortune 500 companies and huge non-profits who have been changing the world for 30+ years. We help them update their brand, not just their logo, to match who they’ve become. They want to make sure their internal brand matches the one their marketing and PR is putting out to the public. They want to be remembered. They want their brands to make an impact in their industries. 
 
Big or small, they all want to be remembered.
And when they are, we call it Brand Magic.
 
In order to find your Brand Magic, start with these 5 things:
  1. Ask your clients/customers how you make them feel. Get an outside perspective. Don’t ask one or two - ask them all. And don’t be afraid to get their answers. If they love you, they’ll be happy to share with you. If they don’t, just grin and bear it so you can make the necessary changes.
  2. Make sure your brand internally matches the brand externally. Talk to your team about who you are and see if it matches what your customers are saying. See if you need update your processes for onboarding people - employees or customers. 
  3. Work your brand into every tiny aspect of your business. From the scripts your salespeople use on the phone and in email to the person who answers the main phone at the office (even if it’s automated) and your website copy. Everything has to be branded.
  4. Look at your positioning statement. Ask yourself if it still matches your vision for the organization or if your goals have changed. See if it fits the market you serve and in the community you play.
  5. Come to Unplugged. It’s a full day on how to integrate your brand into your vision, sales, marketing, pitches, and revenue. We promise, it will change how you look at brand.
So, what’s brand go to do with it? Everything.