Brand 101


What is Brand?

At the risk of getting a little metaphysical, just for a moment, think of your business as a person. It's brand would be the best version of itself. Who it aspires to be and it's search for meaning in the marketplace. Just like any of us your business is seeking out meaningful relationships and to establish a great reputation throughout it's community. But, more than anything, your brand will thrive on what it does, not what it says.

In some respects brand is what the French might refer to as "Je ne sais quoi". Something that cannot be adequately described or expressed. but it triggers an emotional connection to an appealing quality.


Why is it important?

Brands help consumers choose you from an overwhelming number of options. They reassure customers about  the quality of your product or service. They encourage potential customers to identify with you and trust you, and repeat customers to be loyal and believe in your superiority.

Brands make it easier for customers to buy and for your employees to sell or deliver consistent, high quality service; as well as build your reputation, public awareness, and company value over time.


who Controls your Brand?

Although it's true that every business, organization and person has a brand, i.e. reputation, you are the only one that can navigate your brand in a way that is truly aligned with your vision. Notice I said navigate, not control. In a time of the internet and social media no one has complete control over their brand. The very best you can hope for and work towards is navigating your brand through a volatile marketplace.

One of the primary tools to manage your competition is to be actively engaged by creating an intentional brand and navigating it through the obstacles of the market place. Brand guidelines and filters will help your company discover, communicate, and creatively express what your business does and why it’s here, while providing tools to influence and manage it.


What is Branding?

It is the "process." The process of being intentional and strategic in shaping the experience people will have with your company; about taking every opportunity to express who you are, what makes you unique, what value you offer, and why they should care. It includes researching and clearly communicating what you stand for, expressing it tangibly, creating a long term strategy and guidelines, and then managing the daily interactions and touch points that customers have with your company in all their many forms. This is where the deep work is done. This is branding! Strategy over tactics. This is what elevates a business into a brand.


When Should you Rebrand?

These are just a few of the top reasons that might prompt a rebrand:

  • When it's no longer a good fit, your  business goals no longer align with your brand.
  • When introducing a new product or entering a new market
  • When changing your name
  • When you do not present a consistent image to customers
  • When you’re no longer attracting customers, or
  • When you’re attracting the wrong kind of customers
  • When you’re your competitors are better positioned in the marketplace
  • When you’ve grown organically without a brand strategy
  • When you’ve become irrelevant, seen as out of touch
  • When there is a significant change in leadership
  • When you have a new strategic partnership
  • When your market or category is evolving around you
  • When introducing a new business plan, raise capital, or position for a sale, merger, or acquisition
  • When relocating, building a new facility, or introducing a new, fleet, signage program, etc.
  • When you need to create a sense of renewed purpose and culture internally (staff morale and buy-in, attracting great talent that is aligned with your brand's purpose and mission, etc.)
  • When you’re embarrassed to give out your card or send people to your website

What does it cost?

Great question, and not to be vague, but it's a little like buying a car. The variables such as make and model, power windows, stereo system, etc. make a fixed sticker price impractical. Our process and creative product is customized to the needs of your business, and the size and type of clients vary, but most would expect to invest $8,000-$50,000 on strategy and brand identity development. Clients with multiple sites or a lot of physical implementations (signs, fleets, print collateral, etc.) could invest much more simply in execution costs, so it’s extremely important to outline needs ahead of time.


Where Do I Start?

  • A Business Model review is often the right place to start for many business owners. Our discovery process and framework produces a very clear foundation and direction with a well developed outline for your business strategy moving forward.
  • If you want to explore the idea and scope of rebranding, but are undecided about your need or timing, our Brand Audit is a great fit for you.
  • Our Half-Day workshop is also a great way to gain some insight and a hands-on critique of your current business model our branding and communications in a low-key, interactive setting.
  • Or, if you know you’re ready to rebrand, call 414-378-2747 today or schedule a consultation to discuss your unique needs.