Building Your Brand: It’s About Much More Than Your Logo

by | Branding, Customer Experience, Growing Business, Marketing

The importance of our customers’ experience with our business, when building a successful brand shouldn’t be underestimated.

The customer experience has always been important. But it is even more important today.

Because consumers can so easily share online their good and bad experiences with those they know –  and those they don’t know.

A brand is a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme.”

– American Marketing Association

The ‘Look’ Of Your Brand

The look and consistency across various platforms of your brand is an important part, albeit just the beginning, of building your brand:

  • Well-designed logo
  • Catchy tagline or slogan
  • Professional-looking business card (and maybe a marketing brochure)
  • Well laid out, attractive, fast loading and mobile-responsive website
  • Social media profiles that are complete

These things represent our brand in our marketing and advertising. They help give a physical identity to our brand. A personality and face to our business for consumers.

The quality, consistency and brand recognizability of our various print and online marketing tools help us draw consumers, prospective customers to know more about us. To think about or consider doing business with us.

The Value Of Repeated Exposure To A Brand

The easier our brand is to identify consistently with a quick look, the more likely it is that repeated exposure to it will cause consumers to remember us. To begin to feel like they know us.

When it comes time for a consumer to decide whether they will deal with us or someone else, positive name-brand recognition is an important factor.

If consumers think or feel positive about our brand, this is helpful for our business. If they feel negative about our brand, it will hurt our business.

  • If our website is dated and not mobile-friendly.
  • If our social media profiles are incomplete, inactive and not consistent with the rest of our brand,
  • If our marketing materials are poorly put together.

All of the above says something to consumers about our business.

What they experience (think and feel) when they:

  • Check us out online (website, social media profiles, other online profiles like Google Business, Yelp, etc.)
  • See our advertisements online (Google or Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Yelp Ads, etc.) or in print (magazines, local newspapers)
  • Receive one of your marketing pieces (email newsletter, print brochure or flyer, etc.)

All of the above factor into whether they give us a chance to earn their business, or not.

The Key To Your Success?

The key to your success, however, is not your name or your logo.

World-famous brands like Nike, Apple, McDonalds and Coca Cola didn’t become successful because they have amazing logos, tag lines or names.

In fact, there’s nothing that spectacular about any of their logos. But we all recognize them!

They became famous for a number of reasons. But the core of their success is based on consumer trust. Consumer trust boils down to taking care of your customers and delivering on your brand promises.

Their branding and marketing materials, and the quality of them, told consumers who these brands were and what they had to offer. Delivering the promised customer experience (great products, services, customer service), built the reputation with consumers that built the brand.

Our Brand Reputation In The Marketplace

Marketing plays an important part in creating awareness of our business or brand. And in continuing to build and maintain brand awareness.

However, for our branding to really work for us, it needs to present our business positively and professionally to the market/consumers we are working to reach. It then needs to be backed up by a positive reputation in the marketplace.

Our positive brand reputation will come from the first time and ongoing positive experience consumers have with our products and services, and our customer service.

Do your customers see their experience with your business in a positive light? This is an important question to consider and get right.

 “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” 

– Dr. Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management

Marketing Materials & Customer Experience – They Work Together

Having well put together marketing materials encourages consumers to take a closer look at our products and services. It may even entice them to do business with us. But it won’t keep them coming back if what is on the inside of our business (our products, our services, our customer service) doesn’t measure up to our promises and their expectations.

Four areas to pay attention to when building your brand/marketing your business:

  1. What do you say about yourself? – What is your unique brand message? (What do you say and how do you say it in your marketing and advertising? In print and online? Images and text?)
  2. Who are you really, and are you living up to who you say you are? – What is the truth about your brand? (What are your products, services and customer service really like? Do your marketing materials, website, social media, other online platforms reflect favourably on your business? If you have a physical storefront what does it say about your brand? Are these things helping or hurting your brand?)
  3. What do those who have dealings with you think and say about you? – What is your reputation in the marketplace? What do customers and others experience? What do they tell others about your products, services and customer service?
  4. What do those who don’t know you think and say about you? – What is the impact on the business of your reputation in the marketplace? What is the impact of word-of-mouth advertising on your business?

For your brand to have an impact in your local area and beyond, these four areas need to be in alignment.

 “A tone of voice is an expression of a company’s values and way of thinking. It cannot be plucked from thin air, created on a whim or entirely based on a trend you think is cool. Rather, it must grow out of who you already are as a company.

Not who you might be tomorrow, but what you look and sound like today.”

– Harriet Cummings, Distilled

Consumers: A Powerful Force

In our online world, everything we do, say and are have the potential to impact our brand in powerful ways.

‘Everything’ includes:

  • Our appearance (physical store/offices, quality of graphics, website, social media profiles, marketing materials, stationery and invoices);
  • Our words (written and spoken);
  • Our ‘tone’ of voice (written and spoken)
  • Our actions (the quality of your products and services, and your customer service)

These areas make up the persona of our brand. Together they help determine what people think and feel about our business. They influence our reputation and, as a result, consumer buying decisions.

“Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, often referred to as earned advertising, are still the most influential, as 84 percent of global respondents across 58 countries to the Nielsen online survey said this source was the most trustworthy.”

(Source: Nielsen, Under The Influence: Consumer Trust In Advertising)

Attracting & Retaining Customers

Ultimately, a professionally designed logo, tagline, website and marketing materials, are the icing on the cake when it comes to building our business. It’s the part that attracts consumers to do business with us.

The real substance of our brand is the customer experience. A combination of the products, services and customer service delivered by our business.

We need the all pieces working together to attract consumers to become customers and then to retain them.

Word-of-Mouth Power

Building a strong brand that resonates with and has influence with our target audience doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work.

But, when the products, services and customer service delivered live up to and exceed our brand promises and customer expectations, the power of word-of-mouth advertising comes into play.

And, in an online world, positive word-of-mouth advertising is critical for any business hoping to build a business that will go the distance.

 “Companies must pay attention to the fact that customers are getting more educated and have better tools such as the Internet at their disposal to buy with more discrimination. Power has been passing from the manufacturer to the distributor, and now is passing to the customer.  The customer is King.”

– Dr. Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management

Updated March 2020