Five Simple Questions: Can Your Brand Pass This Test?
Whether your brand is just being unleashed in the market or it’s been competing for years, here are five simple questions to ask yourself to see if it is performing the way it should.
- If you brought 10 random employees of your own company from different departments into a conference room and asked them to write down your brand’s promise, would you get 10 responses with the exact same answer?
You should. Understanding your brand starts internally. Your employees are champions and ambassadors of the brand. If they cannot communicate what makes your brand meaningfully distinct with consistent language, there’s work to be done.
- Same question, but this time with random existing and potential customers. Do they all perceive the brand the way you intend?
Again, they should. If customers don’t share a common mindset of your brand, it means that there’s a communication problem. It could mean that you have not clearly outlined what you want your customers to know. Or it could mean that you are making assumptions that are not being reinforced either by your marketing efforts, or worse, by the customer’s brand experience itself.
- How many characteristics is your brand known for?
If you answered any more than one, you’ve got to look at how your brand is positioned. It’s great to have myriad positive attributes, but ultimately, they should all support one, clear, compelling, and credible point of differentiation that your brand addresses better than any other – and moreover, the one thing that you really want your brand to be known for.
- If you took the logo off your brand’s communication, would targeted audiences know it’s your brand?
Too often brand identity is not executed in a way that makes it proprietary, distinct, memorable and tied uniquely to your brand. Not only does a proprietary brand identity help enable you to achieve a consistent image across communication, but it also increases recognition.
- When’s the last time you asked your customers what they think of your brand?
If it’s longer than 6-12 months ago, it’s probably time to do a temperature check. Getting customer feedback does not have to be an elaborate process, but should be scheduled regularly. Whether through customer satisfaction surveys, telephone interviews, focus groups or advisory boards, getting unvarnished insights from customers can be pivotal to achieving or maintaining competitive advantage and evolving your brand to its most effective form.
Branding is never a launch and leave or one and done exercise. It is perpetual. Your brand must earn its place in the market and in the lives of your targeted customers. As its steward, you have an obligation to assess it regularly, refine it as needed and assure that it is communicated internally and externally with unequivocal consistency.
by Jonathan D. Katz