The Fully Functional Brand – In 12 Parts

There are two common misconceptions about branding that can be fatal to small to medium-sized businesses:

1. Company name + logo = brand. Actually a brand consists of not only identity (name/logo) but also a set of important proprietary pieces that plug directly into the marketing for your company.

2. Branding is just for large corporations. Branding is, if anything, more vital to small/medium businesses because they often have limited marketing resources and less room for error.17860213_s-1-300x201

Here are 12 essential elements to a fully-functional brand:

  • The Branding Promise – The “True North” for all of your marketing. In seven words or less, what is the ultimate deliverable for your client. The branding promise keeps your staff, clients, and prospects on the same page. It is for internal use only but may double as your slogan. For many successful companies, the branding promise displaces the often irrelevant and forgettable mission statement.
  • Your Brand Name – You have a brand name. Let’s look at it again in light of your branding promise. Do you see a disconnect or is the name difficult or confusing? We find that 55% of our customers change or adjust their name to better fit their branding promise. A name that has momentum in your market must be preserved at all costs.
  • Your Logo – Let’s review your logo in the same way. It should work hard, providing with clarity your name, what you do, your context and how you are distinctive at a single glance.
  • Slogan – Don’t throw away the marketing opportunity of a slogan, which appears every time a potential customer encounters your logo. Your slogan articulates how you are unique and distinctly different from your competition.
  • Elite Eight – Who are your eight most enriching types of customers and where can we find them? To whom are you offering your branding promise? Your brand needs to be in lockstep with your primary crowd. Prioritizing your crowd is key.
  • Apathy Killer – Go beyond obvious benefits. What is your buzz? Despite all pretense of rational decision-making, nearly all buying decisions are based on emotional appeal. Rising to the top of your customer’s pile is an increasingly daunting task.
  • Credibility Kicker – There are four types of branding trust; ability, benevolence, enthusiasm, and integrity. The credibility kicker gives the buyer a comfort zone and aims to make the purchase justifiable and safe.
  • Signature Piece – Make one marketing piece your flagship. Make all other pieces look and feel related to this piece. This gives all of your branding congruency and cohesiveness.
  • Branding Icons – What images should populate your marketing? Is there a memorable theme? Icons make your brand come alive. Your logo mark, symbols, images, branding color, and context are conscious decisions aligned with your brand – they can change and grow over time.
  • Branding Your Intellectual Property – If you don’t name it you don’t own it. Brand name your process, customer programs, products (patented or not), e-blast, auto-responder, etc. Align all of your brand names with your branding promise.
  • Messaging – What are you trying to tell people? Refine, refocus, and find the magic. Put buzz into your customer’s conversations. Make sure that interactions with your customers a two-way street.
  • Destination – Where is your brand going? Make it measurable if possible.

The above list is a basic outline of a functional brand. Keeping it simple and clear over time is perhaps the greatest challenge. A full-featured brand is ready to plug into Genius Simple Strategy, where it will go to the market to attract attention and gain traction with your crowd.

Brand well and prosper!

Andy Cleary

Andy Cleary

Andy Cleary

Founder & CMO at Orbit Design
The founder of Orbit Design, the Branding Map Process, and co-author of “Genius Simple Branding” and “Salt”, Andy Cleary has been working with independent businesses for over 30 years. He has branded businesses ranging from business products companies, to universities, to international airport designers. His focus has been on how branding drives sales.
Andy Cleary

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