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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CAEDC Action Report

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What is your Brand?

I am often amazed that many businesses or communities have no idea what their brand represents. When asked, "What is your brand and what does it represent?", their responses range from "I don't know," to a long-winded recital of their mission statement. The next question needs to be "If I were to ask your customers or your citizens this question, how would they answer?"

What they may not understand is the importance of seeing their brand as it is known (or unknown) by people outside the company, business, elected official or city office. It's easy to assume that outsiders see your company or community in the same way as insiders, but that may not be the case. They may have a different opinion or no opinion at all.

Your brand, which is in essence your reputation, hinges on a promise, either broken or kept. Through your advertizing and other marketing communications, you make claims and promises. Through your actions, you either keep them or break them. A promise is good only if it is kept. If you fail to keep promises, your brand position and sales will eventually suffer. If promises are kept or exceeded, your brand and sales will soar.

Often, businesses and communities use a tagline, which is a short phrase associated with the brand, to say a little more about the brand than it can by itself.

Consider such companies as BMW (The Ultimate Driving Machine) conjures up the vision of performance and comfort in your automobile. Avis (We try harder) conveys that we will perform better than our competition. General Electric (Imagination at Work) expresses innovative products with functionality. Over many years, these companies, through promises made and kept, meet and exceed expectations. Customers know exactly what to expect.

Locally let us think of Wilson TV & Appliance (The Business Service Built). Their brand is that they will outperform the big box stores to provide you with service. Steve has to make sure he meets that with every delivery and repair. The reputation and success of the business is built upon that promise.

Adopting a brand and a tag line must be done with thought and commitment, because a brand is a promise. It is much more than claims made in ads, brochures and web sites. As mentioned above, it's about promises made and kept.