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 Outdated?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.