Your brand should be a clear and well-defined overview of what your product, service or company ‘stands for’ and where you fit in your marketplace. Developing an effective brand can mean the difference between successfully engaging with your customers or flopping!
No, that’s not a very technical term.
However, it’s the truth and leads nicely to another important issue with branding. You can fail to hit the target if you are baffled or overwhelmed by the jargon.
Marketing – especially digital marketing – is a bit of a science these days and involves a lot of careful consideration. That doesn’t mean it has to involve some mysterious new language only understood by brand strategists and techies!
So, let’s strip down some of the brand jargon, to make your life easier.
One of the most common terms used in developing brand statements and identities is ‘USPs’. It’s an abbreviation of Unique Selling Propositions, which may still be a little unclear. USP refers to the benefits of your product or service that are special and specific – such as cheapest, strongest, or most quirky!
You need to define some unique characteristics or selling points to have a competitive edge. This is also sometimes referred to as a process of ‘differentiation’.
This links to the above. These are a series of short pieces of text that sum up your product or service benefits. ‘Our beans are hand-picked then lovingly cooked in a sun-dried tomato puree.’ That positions a rather posh, expensive tin of beans.
These can be attached to your brand to help your company to define where it wants to be in the future. It tells your staff and customers what your business goals are and that you have a forward-looking brand.
Once you have a clear perception of what you are selling – and what sort of words and phrases will get your customers' attention – you need to ‘package’ that all up visually.
A brand identity is things like your colour scheme and preferred fonts, as well as your high-impact logo design.
Designing a brand is not something you should ever do behind the closed door of your office!
You must check it works with your target audiences, and then re-evaluate its effectiveness regularly. This involves testing brand awareness – do customers remember it? Also, research brand experience – do customers understand what it’s about?
Quantitative and qualitative research
These are often used to establish a brand, and then make sure that awareness and experience remain high. Quantitative research looks at numerical data while qualitative research digs deeper on the way your customers engage with your brand (or not!).
If you’ve invested in a brilliant brand, you need to make sure it is used consistently and to maximum effect. Brand guidelines inform your staff and any contractors and agencies. They are a road map of what must be done, and what must be avoided. Such as no changing your logo colour on a whim!
On-brand refers to when your company is successful in making all its marketing activities dovetail with its brand statements and identity. This can be everything from the colour of staff uniforms to the way your sales team refer to your products or services when speaking to customers.
There are many more aspects to understanding branding and the terminology around it. We can help demystify it even more, and make your branding clear!