Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of founders and graduates from the Lead to Win and Lead to Win Women program led by Dr. Tony Baletti at Carleton University. As a previous participant in the program myself, it was great to reconnect with alumni and new founders of some incredible companies.
The topic of my talk was valuing your brand as currency. In fact my approach to branding is to treat it like your own currency whether it be your personal or your company brand. As soon as you relate something with money suddenly we are more conscious of its value.
When some people think of a brand they think of airy fairy creatives making pretty graphics. When you think of your brand as your personal or company currency it starts taking on new meaning and a brand becomes so much more than the imagery that represents you. It becomes a holistic view of your business with many factors making up the public perception.
High, Mediocre, and Low Value Brand Currency
A brand , like currency gets attention if it is soaring high in value. Your customers love you, your products are great, your imagery is stellar and everyone recognizes you wherever you virtually and physically are. This type of brand is newsworthy and highly visible. When your brand is at this level of value, it’s time to capitalize on ithat value and seize the opportunity to release great products, increase your customer base , make strategic announcements and even give back to the community.
If your brand currency is hovering somewhere in the middle and of average value you are probably getting lost in the crowd and is most certainly not newsworthy. Having a mediocre brand currency value is pretty much the kiss of death because from a public perception point of view, there is nothing that makes your brand any different than the next one in your space. Remembering that public perception doesn’t always have to do with reality, it is all about how the brand is presented and perceived.
Finally if your brand currency is low in value, you will undoubtedly get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons. Not only that but the perception of a crappy brand could actually devalue anything great you do have going on or have to offer like fabulous products, a great team, or incredible skills. It is also hard to recover from having a craptastic brand and getting it from low to high value because the public perception already exists.
Your brand goes well beyond a logo or imagery and encapsulates culture, values, attitude, communications and of course your products and services. Your visuals need to be super high quality, easily recognizable, not too complex and have 100% alignment with everything that makes up your brand. Your tagline something that not only supports what you do but is fun to say and easy to repeat. Capitalizing on the value of word of mouth campaigns is the least costly and generates a huge return when done correctly. Remember, people do business with people, not logos, not products, not corporations so any information about your company or brand that is passed on from one person to another has the potential for high ROI or the opposite end of the spectrum.
Finally your product quality an ability to delight your customer will seal the deal and increase the value of your brand currency. Even if you have a good product, good imagery, good tagline and everything seems well…good…you can put it well over the top by providing the extra level of service to your ideal customer. Just when you think you have it finished and everything is delivered…go that extra mile to delight, invest in quality and differentiate what you have to offer from the clouded market.
As you know I’m am not a fan of just preaching, I have some things for you to do! If you are feeling bold about your brand, here are some action items on how you can create or increase the value of your brand currency
Enlist the help of your inner circle. When someone thinks of your brand, what is the first thing to come to mind? Is it what you expected? Is it what you want? How can you change that perception?
Create or re-examine your brand holistically. Look at everything that makes up your brand including: Imagery, product quality, values, company culture, opinions, strategy and communications. Is there a part of that puzzle that is failing or not living up to the image you wish to portray and the perception you want your ideal customers to have? Make a plan to improve it and make it in 100% alignment with your ideal brand.
Create 5 taglines that are aligned with your brand and market test them with your inner circle. Choose one and run with it!
Everywhere your brand is present. Web, social media, print, email. Make it 100% consistent. This way people will instantly recognize your brand wherever you are physically or virtually. This includes all social media platforms, your online presence, your offline presence, signage, packaging, even your promotional bling. BRAND THE HELL OUT OF IT and do it consistently!
Be your brand all day every day all the time wherever you are. You may be travelling, at a conference, seminar or going to lunch. You never know who is next to you. It may be your future best customer or even your biggest competitor. Be the brand you want to portray and behave like you wish to be perceived.
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Do you know the value of your brand currency? @AVV talks all about making your brand newsworthy on #mentormondays http://ow.ly/bvK3y
Increase the value of your Brand Currency with @AVV on #Mentormondays http://ow.ly/bvK3y
Increase the value of your brand by treating it like Brand Currency with @avv on #mentormondays http://ow.ly/bvK3y
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Anastasia Valentine is an award-winning product strategist, CEO of a fabulous marketing and PR agency, speaker, published author and mother. She has over 20 years achieving amazing results in bringing ideas and products to market in the high-tech, music and retail industries. She works directly with amazing solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small, medium and enterprise-class companies across the globe. Her approach combines her knowledge, skills and experience fueled with her drive, a little tenacity and a lot of moxie to launch and build businesses! Visit Anastasia at www.anastasia-valentine.com