I gave a talk recently on the topic of valuing your brand as currency. My approach to branding is to treat it like your own currency, whether it be your personal or your company brand. It could be purely psychological, but as soon as something is related to money, suddenly, we become more conscious of its value.
Sometimes, when thinking about branding, the thought of airy fairy creatives making pretty graphics comes to mind. When thinking of a brand as personal or company currency, it starts to take on new meaning and the brand becomes so much more than simply the imagery that represents you. The brand becomes a powerful, holistic representation of your business including many factors making up public perception.
High, Mediocre, and Low-Value Brand Currency
A brand, like currency, gets attention if it is soaring high in value. Customers love it, products are great, imagery is stellar, and everyone recognizes the brand wherever it is virtually and physically seen. This type of brand is newsworthy and highly visible. When your brand is at this level of value, it’s time to capitalize on that value and seize the opportunity to release great products, increase the customer base, make strategic announcements and even give back to the community.
If a brand currency is hovering somewhere in the middle and of average value it risks getting lost in the crowd and are most certainly not newsworthy. There may be nothing that makes the brand any different than the next one in their space. It is time to uplevel, differentiate and reignite the brand and work on reputation management. Remembering that public perception doesn’t always have to do with reality, it is all about how the brand is presented and perceived.
If a brand currency is low in value, the brand will undoubtedly get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons. The perception of a crappy brand could devalue anything great a company has going on or to offer like, fabulous products, a great team, or incredible skills. It is hard to recover from having a craptastic brand and moving it from low to a high value because the public perception already exists. It can be done. In this situation consider starting from a blank slate and rebuilding from the ground up. Perhaps a rebrand is in order? Line up some positive announcements, gather some social proof of your brands wellbeing and begin a campaign to create a solid foundation, communications, and some positive brand recognition.
Some Words of Wisdom
A brand goes well beyond a logo or graphics. It encapsulates culture, values, attitude, communications and, of course, your products and services. Visuals need to be high quality, easily recognizable, not too complex and have 100% alignment with everything that makes up your brand. A tagline is 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 is the least costly and generates a huge return when done correctly, so make it easy for anyone to support your brand. 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 and ability to delight your customer will seal the deal and increase the value of a 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 am not a fan of just preaching; I have some things for you to do to boost your personal or company brand! 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. The 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 traveling, 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.