A lot of people assume that branding is just about having a “great looking” logo. So, they come looking for a nice logo, with matching stationery and posters, all things that are part of “branding” but fail to realise that they are only telling a small part of the real story.
Branding is not about pushing yourself onto others and shouting about who you are. Rather, it’s about pulling others towards you and maintaining that connection. It’s about establishing commitment to a cause, or loyalty to your products and services. It defines the essence of who you are, as an organisation or a business or a service provider, because it takes your personality, your promise and your attributes, and explains who you are to the outside world.
It’s about being authentic and true to your values.
Say you are selling shoes made from leather sourced from organic farms and you want to attract clients to your brand. You may decide to advertise that you run a paperless office in line with being environmentally conscious. Or, you could use leather for business cards to showcase the quality of your leather. Or, you could make sure that your leather is only sourced from within a 100km radius to reduce your carbon footprint. These decisions show that your values are represented in not only the way your company looks, (e.g. your logo) but also, the way you run your business. Customers are then attracted to your brand, because they can trust it to be good, and honest, from beginning to end. They understand and appreciate the distinct value they are getting from you.
Another example could be with an NGO working on sustainable livelihoods issues, and wanting to better design their interventions. They could decide to choose a local radio show as a platform to host an interactive show where communities themselves call in and give their perspectives of the issues they are facing. The NGO could then incorporate these findings into their programme design, knowing that these are the issues that communities need help tackling. They would then be able to develop a more effective program, creating more impact, because it responds directly to the needs of that community. Their effectiveness in solving social issues would then be a core part of defining and maintaining their brand: simply because they listened before they acted.
These are tiny examples. But, how do you figure out your brand?
Start with asking yourself the bigger, tougher questions…
Who are you? What are you trying to do? Who are you doing it for? How are you going to do it? How do you want people to feel about it? And then talk to your potential and existing customers. What do they think about your company? And be prepared to listen. We can help you ask the right questions, analyse your findings and put together a branding strategy and identity that helps you be your best self. Trust us, it’s worth the effort.