There’s confusion about the difference between brand and branding. Many equate brand to mean the company’s mark or logo and the reality is, it’s not that at all. The company logo is a design that represents the brand, but it’s not the actual brand.
A company’s brand is its personality and how that personality makes people feel.
I’ve earned the reputation as the ‘clean bathroom guy’ as I’ve spoken about our industry’s dirty toilets for years, but part of the reason I’ve harped on this topic is not just due to the unpleasantry of holding your breath when entering a bathroom, but because of what it says about your brand.
If a business’ management doesn’t care about something as simple as maintaining its bathrooms while its customers pay in excess of $200 for an experience, then how do you think you’re being perceived? Imagine dating a girl (or guy) who never flushed the toilet. Your regard for that person would probably come down just a notch. Add a few more weird quirks and your perception of that person would continue to decline until there was a breakup. That peculiar analogy can be applied to your business. To generate word of mouth, these details can’t be overlooked – our customers are making a judgment on us at every point of interaction from our logos, websites, employees, bathrooms, jumpsuits etc. These details matter.
If I were to meet with an entrepreneur to discuss company branding, I would ask to know the values of that owner as well as the adjectives he/she would want people to describe the business. This discussion is at the heart of your company’s marketing strategy – what the company represents and how we want the company’s employees and customers to feel is what makes up the brand.
Too often, entrepreneurs begin with little thought about a company’s personality and the messaging we want to convey out to the world. This is where logo design, web design, jersey designs etc, come into play. These elements are super important because it’s sending a message about your brand. A logo that looks mediocre says something about the company – even if the product or service you offer is of a five-star level. There is much truth to the expression, “You only have one chance to make a great first impression.” This is especially true online.
A great example of a logo representing a brand and how it’s perceived is with UBER. You may have noticed that UBER has been through a couple of logo changes in the past few years. The most notable change was made in September of 2018 just two years removed from their last logo transformation. Why did they do this?
To signal change with its brand personality.
In the last couple of years, the personality of UBER had taken a dark turn with allegations of sexual harassment at their corporate headquarters. With the firing of their CEO, Uber’s marketing department needed to make a statement that the personality (brand) was changing. You’ll note that the 2016 logo feels high-tech, sleek and advanced. 2018’s logo represents simplicity or humility. This logo upgrade was necessary to help change the perception of Uber especially as the logo is the face of the company on its app.
Have you given much thought to your company’s personality? The personality of the company will be a reflection of the company’s ownership. In light of this, have you taken the time to write out your values and what you stand for? If not, I’d recommend it. It’s an exercise we’ve taken and have boldly published, as our values serve as our north star or put in another way, as our company’s morals. Our core values help us determine everything from who we hire, how we market ourselves, the clients we wish to work with and the culture we’re trying to nurture. Our brand is in our values and that’s our company’s personality. We’re by no means perfect, but having these values makes it easy to recognize when we make a mistake and allows us to own it.
Our goal as business owners is for our guests to fall in love with our company’s personality which means we have to build that relationship in how we make people feel when they interact with us. Have great branding, but be sure to understand what you want that branding to represent.