At the heart of a corporate image design is the promise they commit to delivering to their clients. No matter how clever or memorable their brand image, if they fail to comply on that pledge, they fail. And those promises represent what the brand stands for. Feelings and emotion, as Freemantle states, are critical in the way customers are influenced.
Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.
How to be heard in a world too busy to listen and with too much to hear
Invest the time and money into a professional picture, and it will be worth its weight in gold for your brand. Make sure you smile.
Why? Because a smile can build trustworthiness.
Failure to deliver on your promise or to be what you stand for is like a politician promising no new taxes. Mark my words. Those kinds of promises are a prescription for a marketing disaster.
So here are a few great thoughts and super examples on how to create a smashingly effective brand design:
Corporate image design … importance of brands
We like to quote from the book Funky Business Forever when we discuss brands or branding with our clients:
The ‘surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality.
It is not easy being different, is it? But all the more important.
The key to a good brand is being different. There are four critical things to remember about brands and branding:
Every business has a brand, whether explicitly defined or not. The important question to be answered is how good the brand is?
Brands deliver an emotional connection to a business’ products and services. Most purchase decisions have critical sensitive components.
Your brand represents a collection of your customer’s perceptions of how they see you, how they feel about you, and what they say about you.
Your brand communicates every time it touches a customer. This makes you, as a marketer, responsible for this communication ‘moment of truth’.
Most brands sell products or services. GM sells cars. Borders sells books. Real estate brokerages sell homes. Killer brands, however, satisfy desire to get at the emotional heart of the matter.
Corporate identity design inspiration … differentiation
A great brand example of differentiation? There is none better than JetBlue. JetBlue’s brand success centers on the achievable – the simple things – they knew would make a difference for their guests. This set the stage for direct TV and XM radio, the provision of first-class seats to everyone, more legroom, great snacks and high-end service at lower end pricing. No other airline others these value propositions. They are different, and their brand stands out because of those differences.
Simple. Attainable. Targeted. They delivered.
Solving customer problems
“For the past 18 months, Best Buy’s U.S. marketing team has been working to reframe the retailer’s brand proposition. Now it’s ready to unveil its efforts. Best Buy’s new tagline is ‘Making technology work for you.’ Best Buy sells high-tech electronics and is a leader in applying technology to help be a leader in customer service.
Ben and Jerry’s have a progressive, nonpartisan social mission that seeks to meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into their day-to-day business activities. The focus is on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.
Much has been made of corporate America’s propensity for internalizing the fruits of doing business while socializing the costs. Ben & Jerry’s, by contrast, is dedicated to what they call “linked prosperity,” which primarily recognizes the possibility that business can and should be a dominant force for the betterment of society.
They don’t sell shoes. They provide that extra dose of love we all need from time to time. There is no secret here. Zappos became Zappos because of the positive customer support it offered. That is the company’s brand. As Tony Hsieh, the CEO, puts it, “Back in 2003, we thought of ourselves as a shoe company that offered excellent service. Today, we think of the Zappos brand as about great service, and we just happen to sell shoes.”
Lifestyle brands march to a different drummer. They have a clear and distinct point of view, are outspoken, and inherently polarizing. For many brands, this polarizing effect is precarious, but for brands seeking to be disruptive in mature categories or sectors, it can be the path to huge success and bear high dividends. Whole Foods is a textbook case.
When brands have a clear, distinct point of view, it forces choices that may forfeit short term gain for long term benefit. It is a conscious decision to invest in the brand. The values of the brand permeate the behavior of the organization, the customer experience and, ultimately, public opinion. The result is a very powerful appeal to a much smaller audience.
Magical, fantasy entertainment is what Disney is all about. Be bringers of joy, to be affirmers of the good in each of us, to be — in subtle ways — teachers. To speak, as Walt once put it, “not to children but the child in each of us.”
Disney does this through great storytelling, by giving our guests a few hours in another world where their cares can be momentarily put aside, by creating memories that will remain with them forever.
The bottom line
So is this what killer branding is all about for companies?
We think so.
Making promises and keeping them.
Some organizations work very hard to weasel in the promises they make. They imply excellent customer service or exceptional results or spectacular quality but don’t deliver. No, they didn’t lie, but they came awfully close. The result: angry customers and negative word of mouth.
It’s very easy to overpromise. Tempting to shade the truth a little bit, deliver a little bit less to save a few bucks. Who will notice?
The customers see. If you need to overpromise to make the sale, don’t bother. It’s not worth it.
The best way to generate killer branding is simple: over deliver.
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is entirely up to you.
It’s up to you to keep improving your branding and brand marketing. Lessons are all around you. In many situations, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that struggle gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy to improving your continuous learning for yourself and your team?
Do you have a lesson about making your brand marketing better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
More reading on continuous learning from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:
What Everyone Ought to Know About Rebranding a Business
How Creative Branding Helps Your Business Marketing
A Crash Course in Creative Branding by Using a Distinctive Voice