Brand: the two questions you need to ask before you rebrand.
Two of the most powerful questions to ask when rebranding are also two of the simplest. Unfortunately for many businesses, the simplest questions also tend to be the hardest. As always, with brand, it involves digging deep, getting into your head (and your customers’ heads) and shaping your brand’s perception.
The first million-dollar brand question is this: how do people currently see or perceive you?
Knowing how other people currently see or perceive your business provides a marker and a gauge for your current perception and potential brand positioning.
The same answers can also determine the strategy and scope of work required to achieve your ‘desired perception’. This can be referred to as ‘the perception gap’ – where someone’s perception of their own brand differs significantly from the perception that others in the market have.
e.g. If you believe your brand is ‘premium’ or high quality but you’re offering coupons to your customers? This is not only incongruent but diametrically opposed to the brand personality and promise. This disconnect creates a misalignment with your customers and can potentially repel them.
Nevertheless, a review of your brand at this stage can be a valuable exercise to gauge, develop and outline a brand action plan required to manifest your business and marketing goals. You’ve got to start somewhere.
In many ways, identifying the perceptions that other people have of your business can be a highly personal, confronting and revealing experience. Many times business don’t want to know the truth. Reality can bite. On the plus side, a heightened awareness of your brand can be an extremely useful and powerful experience to not only bridge the competitive gap but also ‘outbrand’ your competition for a unique (an unfair) competitive advantage.
The fundamental problem with this thinking, of course, is that we don’t always know what people truly think of our business or how people perceive it – because people lie for fear of offending. More importantly though, a brand is never what you say it is – it’s what everyone else perceives it to be.
Once these insights are gathered and collated (usually by asking existing customers directly – yes actually speaking to them – or through forums, surveys and questionnaires etc..), what this clarity does is enable you to start building a brand based on your perceived credentials, reputation, trust and/or unique personality.
For example, is your business seen as having a dynamic culture, proactive to staff with an engaging employee training policy? Is your business good at engaging with the marketplace through social media while championing a worthy cause? Are you a specialist niche in your field? Or is your business more reserved, but seen as a solid, reliable operator by your peers and clients? These are worthy traits to embrace and build a brand upon. Remember that brands can evolve just like people.
The second million-dollar brand question I ask all my clients is this: how do you want to be perceived?
There is, of course, a world of difference between how you are perceived and how you’d like to be perceived by the market place. Ask yourself what are the general public’s and your ideal customers’ expectations of your business and wider industry? What ingrained or preconceived perceptions do they hold that you can either leverage or may need to overcome? More so, how can you alter those perceptions over time to achieve business growth? What action steps need to be taken with your brand to achieve that change in people’s perception? Does your business ultimately need to redefine how the market and others see you to secure a strategic positioning or strategic advantage?
To conclude, defining how your business is perceived is essential for business growth because its your starting point to determine your brand positioning in the market as well as in your customer’s head. It can also help as a strategic reference tool to get your brand moving in the right direction and aligned for business growth.
Be your brand.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to help businesses create an identity, visualise their vision and find their voice. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories that get them ‘in sync’ with their tribe.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur