This is my checklist for starting to look at any branding project, in order to capture where the business and the brand already is.
As I’ve said in my work for Purple Circle Branding and on many occasions, branding is not about logos, it’s about a whole raft of ideas that come together to create an overall branded experience. Think of the logo as the marker to know you have arrived at the correct place and you’ll see its context. For me, the brand experience covers every aspect of an interaction or even a potential interaction – so therefore manage it.
In some particular order with the most important first.
1. What are its values and are they published for all to see. More importantly, is there evidence of them actually being lived throughout the organisation?
2. Is the merchandise/product/service supporting the brand experience and actually making it more positive or undermining it by not being as brilliant as it should be?
3. How does the brand speak and look visually? Is it on brand and consistent in every application that’s out there?
4. Has it defined its customers. Can you see from what you are looking at who it is they are expecting to engage with/sell to – and is it who they are actually targeting?
5. How does the website work. Does it look the part, publish the values and really live them?
6. Are the logos being used of a consistent feel. Not necessarily all in the same place and at the same size (as this is just consistent logo usage) but creating the same sort of effect wherever they appear?
7. Are they practicing CRM or MCR (maximising Customer relationships) by engaging with customers in every positive way possible?
8. Is there evidence of customer feedback. Do they use a product such as Feefo to ensure they are constantly engaging with their end users. In effect, are they engaging in dialogue or just giving them diatribe?
9. Are employees engaged and leading at every level. Are they ‘chattering’ externally in a positive way using social media platforms? When you meet or speak to them are they brand advocates, or sales prevention officers?
10. Does the marketing collateral also talk the talk or does it drift towards the desperate in its sales message or continue to reinforce the brand, create the tribe and sell the dream.
11. Is the SEO on track too? A brilliant brand understands writing for SEO and is employing the best techniques throughout the experience.
This is all well and good. There are now only 11 things you need to manage to make a great brand but from this, you need to define three more final things.
1. What are the problems caused by low scores in any of these areas?
2. What does success in any of these areas look like?
3. Conversely, what does failure in any aspect look like?
These are obviously only rough guidelines and there ill need to be a variation for any specific sector but as a brand owner if you manage all of these well, you won’t be far off a great brand.