Over the past few weeks, our series has been focused on the importance of branding. You should now understand a healthy brand is more complex than just a corporate logo or colors. A brand is a living, breathing entity at the heart of all other marketing efforts. More importantly, a brand is ultimately defined by the customer’s perception of both who you are and what you stand for—your brand essence. Therefore, take ownership of your brand and craft memorable, consistent experiences that align with your overall business objectives.
The number one trait of a great brand is a strong customer connection, far beyond admiration for features and benefits. Your brand should possess humanistic qualities customers can easily relate to. And, it should be equally engaging to your internal employees, key stakeholders and customers. If you expect loyalty from these audiences, you first need to establish brand values that are trustworthy and memorable. Make sure your brand is consistent across all channels in its voice, tone, and personality. Once your customers have an expectation of what they’ll get with your organization, don’t lose their trust by sending inconsistent messages.
You must fully understand your audience, competition and unique selling proposition before any creative juices start flowing. It is key to confirm your credibility and to motivate buyers at every opportunity and touch point in the relationship. Once the brand is established, brand guidelines (or a more comprehensive brand platform) should be the foundation of all other marketing priorities.
Maybe you have a strong, established brand, or perhaps you’re starting from scratch. Either way, the branding process is a vital, ongoing effort and shouldn’t end up on the back burner. Branding isn’t a “one and done” effort. It requires ongoing attention in order to stay relevant and meaningful and may need to evolve with your customers’ needs. Establish ways to measure your brand’s performance, and optimize accordingly. As Paul Jankowski points out in 5 Critical Steps To Build A Sustainable Brand, “Using the proper analytics is crucial as you measure your success and gives you the right info to make necessary changes.”
You now know what many of your peers may not, that investing in a strong brand really means you’re investing in a promise that transcends all other aspects of a business. Branding can give your company the competitive edge to expand market share and prevent commoditization. Branding in healthcare is especially important, due to a multitude of stakeholders that must be considered and the increasing patient demand for transparency.
ParkerWhite approaches all projects from a strategic branding perspective. But how can branding increase your company’s value? How does branding affect sales? Download our branding case study to learn more about the specific benefits of branding in this industry.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.