If you’re looking to brand your company, there’s a lot to consider, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. By focusing on branding best practices and understanding what successful marketers have done before you, your brand can enjoy all of the fruits of great branding while avoiding half of the work.
So what are the best practices of branding your company? What sort of action items should your team be adding to your branding process in order to ensure brand success? That’s what we’re here to help with. By adding these four branding best practices to your process and completing their accompanying action items, your brand will be stronger and last longer, guaranteed.
Best Practice #1 - Audit Your Brand Effectively
We’ve spoken at length about how to effectively audit your brand, so we won’t go into too much detail here, but most of the “Branding Best Practices” that other sites list can be grouped into this category. By effectively auditing your brand and how it fits into your competitive landscape, you put yourself in the driver’s seat when defining your brand’s voice and perspective.
- Google yourself. See what other people are saying about your brand. What’s good? What’s bad? Does this match how you see yourself? Why or why not?
- Google your competitors and ask the same questions. Is there a void in the marketplace that you can fill?
- Fill out a full brand audit. We’ve already built a comprehensive guide on how to effectively audit your brand. Grab your free copy and let us know what you learn!
Best Practice #2 - Be Clear About Who You Are (And Who You Aren’t)
The biggest mistake that brands make is trying to be too many things to too many people. In order to effectively brand your company, you want to take the results from your brand audit and think about what is actually being said. Who do your customers, employees, and the general public think you are? Are you comfortable being that brand? Why or why not?
The only way to start building an effective brand is clear, transparent communication with your team. If your brand isn’t authentic to your team, it won’t be authentic to anyone else.
- Interview your employees early in the process to get an idea of who they think your brand is. If you don’t think they’ll trust you enough to give you honest, candid feedback, bring in a consultant or a third-party mediator to collect anonymous responses. You can also use tools like SurveyMonkey to collect anonymous responses.
- Construct a 2x2 matrix to visualize your marketplace. Where does your brand currently fit? Where do you want your brand to fit? What will it take to get you from here to there? Can you confidently sell your current position? If so, how do you plan on doing so? This is the foundation of your messaging.
- Do some rebranding exercises with your team. Take the assessment to the crowd and see how they respond. What resonates? What doesn’t?
Best Practice #3 - Create a Brand You Can Live
Now’s everyone’s favorite part of branding... Actually, creating it. When building a brand, it’s important not to be too aspirational. If you aspire to be a topical, news-worthy brand, but you can’t even commit to sending out a few tweets per week, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Follow these steps to build a brand that you can actually fulfill day in and day out.
- Craft your messaging around the words and phrases your clients use. Don’t try to force the market. Understand where you fit in and double down on that brand. This is how you can build a brand that feels authentic to everyone involved.
- Build a visual brand identity system that works for the team you have. Do you have a ton of designers who lust for raw image files and Illustrator vector art, or do you have design novices at the helm who just need a transparent PNG that they can’t screw up? Ask the tough questions about your team and your process when building a visual identity to avoid headaches later.
- Take a deep breath and understand how long branding actually takes. Building an effective brand, launching it into the marketplace, and gaining traction with it can take months, even years. If you’re doing a DIY branding project, it could take even longer. Be patient and stay the course.
Best Practice #4 - Live Your Brand Daily
This is the hardest part and it takes the longest. If you don’ live your brand daily, you don’t have a brand to begin with. That’s easy to talk about, but what action items can you add to your list today to make this possible?
- Develop a “brand mantra” that you can come back to routinely. This can be short, long, or in-between, but it should be consistent. If you need a model, look at Google’s “What We Believe” page.
- Schedule time in the next 30 days to check in with your team on how they feel they’re living the brand. Ask them what they do that is very much like your brand and what they do that strays from that brand. This isn’t accusatory. This is just to get candid feedback on the state of your brand.
- Include brand check-ins in regular meetings. If you have a weekly stand-up or daily scrum meeting, add an item to talk about brand touchpoints. What are you working on, what roadblocks do you have, and how are you living the brand? This may seem trite and hokey at first, but if the brand is authentic to your people, it will catch on.