Recently, when our company decided to refresh our brand, I got to thinking about what a brand really is. Most people are inclined to think that a brand is a name, or a logo or a website. Sounds simple, right? But a brand is much more than any of these single things. Your brand is your reputation—how customers feel about you, what partners say about you and what your employees experience in the workplace.
Immersed in all things brand-related, I remembered David Ogilvy, considered the father of advertising, who described a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” So really, it’s what people think of when they hear your company name.
Hear: “FedEx” and think: speed and efficiency. Hear: “Target” and think: affordable and trendy. Hear “Apple” and think: innovation and design.
So, how do you communicate intangibles like reputation, experience or emotion? Your audience—including employees—builds a connection with your brand through many touchpoints. Let’s look at 5 things to help you build your brand and see examples of how Davis & Company shares our brand with the world:
1. State your purpose
Tell the world why you exist. What makes your brand tick. Your purpose sets you apart from your competitors and is your promise to your audience. Find ways to weave it throughout all your collateral so that everyone sees your commitment to this idea. Davis & Company’s purpose is simple: to reach, engage and motivate employees. We believe that employees are hungry for information and we want to help internal communicators meet this need.
2.Define your personality
If your brand was a person, what would the description be? Choose attributes so that your audience can relate to and connect with that description. This personality is the human side of your brand that people become familiar with.
We describe Davis & Company as the helpful, trusted, older sister who is approachable, friendly and fun. We’re not the pompous uncle who drones on at family dinners. Since employees want to feel that their leaders and managers are people just like them, we suggest using personable, straightforward language that everyone can relate to.
3. Speak in a consistent voice
The words you use when you write and talk about your company should mirror your personality. This tone sets the stage for how people experience your brand. Develop messaging that is easy to understand, relevant and believable.
At Davis & Company, we use a voice that is authentic and conversational, and demonstrates our clever and witty personality. Since we know that employees prefer simple language, we craft internal communication this way.
4. Maintain a cohesive visual identity
A visual identity comprises all the components of your brand, including its logo, color palette, shapes, images and typography. Create guidelines that show how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums. These guidelines ensure that the identity is consistently applied which in turn, reinforces the brand. For example:
- Emphasize your brand colors on both internal and external documents
- Showcase images on your brochures that have the same style as those in your e-newsletters
- Use graphic elements on your website that are used on your social media pages
Davis & Company’s primary colors are orange and grey so they appear more often than do our core colors (which are used in support) or our highlight colors (which are used sparingly). Overall, our palette is bold, energetic and vibrant, in keeping with our personality and voice.
5. Involve your employees
What better way to showcase your brand than with the help of your employees? These brand ambassadors are key to developing your presence in the world. They are surrounded by your brand every day: in workplace signage, on your internal social network, during presentations and through email correspondence. As they consume the brand internally, and feel pride about its meaning, they can bring it to life externally as well.
Davis & Company’s employees are our best advocates! They blog, post images and develop learning materials that communicate best practices for internal communication. All their efforts reinforce our brand and remind the world that we are here to help them reach, engage and motivate employees.
If you create memorable experiences, make emotional connections and establish your reputation, you are well on your way to building your brand!