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Brand Identity: Branding by Walking Around

When you know what your brand identity stands for it's time to put the brand into practice with branding-by-walking-around.

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Assuming you’ve been following along, you should know what your brand identity stands for (if not, check previous posts on this blog for what you missed). Now the fun begins. Find every nook and cranny, every opportunity to tie into your brand position. This is branding-by-walking-around.

Pretend you’re a customer and drive up to your building. Look at it — no look at it like a brand new customer might. Are there stickers and signs all over the windows? Is there trash in the parking lot? Is it well lit? Really, what do you see? And more importantly, does what you see reflect the brand you’re trying to create? If not — it’s time to make some changes. If it does, great! Now think carefully — what else can you do to make it look even more like your brand position? An updated sign, window clings, a greeter at the front door?

Once you’ve looked at the exterior, venture out of your car and walk into the building — not with the “I’m here every day, and I own the place swagger,” pretend this is the first time you’ve been there. How does it look? What do you see? Are there lots of marketing messages shouting at you? Is it cluttered? Were you greeted by an employee? Is it clean? Dingy? Outdated? Again, consider — does this reflect your brand position? Because if it does not, you need to consider what changes you can make to make it more closely reflect your brand. Often it starts with carpet cleaning and fresh paint. It usually includes eliminating many of the marketing messages and point of sale messages to make the message you’re trying to send much more visible to your customers.

Reinforcing Your Brand Identity

Now that you’ve got those out of the way, then it’s time to get creative. What can you do reinforce your brand where you’re at? Floor clings, image wallpaper, brochures, signs? This is your opportunity to create the landscape your brand will come to life on. Because, it’s the very foundation of your brand position.

You see where this is going right? Next talk with your sales staff, as if you’re a new customer. I know, it’s awkward to do the role play. If you hate it, eavesdrop on your employees talking to a new client (of course let them know you are). What you’re about to learn is critical intelligence — this is where you have the opportunity hear how your employees are talking with and to your customers. It’s critical because this is where the rubber meets the road where your brand is concerned. What are phrases being used that reinforce your brand position? Which ones don’t?

Finally, listen to an employee on the phone. Make it your goal to hear the whole call, starting with how many rings it takes to answer.  If you have a menu system, how long does it take to get through the menu, the queue and to talk to live human being? How is the greeting does it reinforce your brand? Does the conversation go well? Does the person who answers the phone handle the question — or do they pass it along to someone else? Because at the end of the day it’s about determining what does your brand demands.

These are all critical elements of your new brand identity, although they are often overlooked in the crazy-hectic race that you are about to embark on called brand identity and collateral. More on that next time.


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Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

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