“Brand” is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot these days. We often associate brands with celebrities or other highly influential people, or we think about “brand names” like clothes or cars from a particular company.
Yet when asked, most people struggle to define what a brand actually is. If pressed, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a company’s name or logo.
A brand, however, encompasses so much more than that.
A brand is the experience a company gives to anyone who comes into contact with it.
It’s the feeling you receive when interacting with a business, whether you’ve purchased something from them or not. It’s the relationship that’s built between a company and their past, present, and future customers—continuously and over time.
The best brands are the ones who’ve thought long and hard about what experience they want people to have when they interact with their company, and they make sure they give that experience to people every chance they get.
These “chances” are called consumer touchpoints.
Consumer touchpoints are the transactions—big or small—that your brand has with a potential (or current) customer. Consumer touchpoints include things like:
- How you answer the phone
- The look, feel, and message on your signage
- Your visual displays
- Your website
- The tone, message, and layout of your receipts
- How you respond to emails
- Your return policy
- Where and how you advertise
- Who you advertise with (think guilty by association) 😉
If you strategically and thoughtfully provide a great experience for people at every consumer touchpoint, you’ve got yourself a really memorable brand.If you strategically and thoughtfully provide a great experience for people at every consumer touchpoint, you’ve got yourself a really memorable brand. Find out how to build your brand and your business: Click To Tweet
And that’s important because memorable brands attract loyal customers.
Loyal customers are the lifeblood of any thriving business. Not only do they love the products they’re buying, they—more than anything—love the experience they’re getting. Simply put, they love the way a company makes them feel.
So, what experience is your brand providing? What feeling are you giving your current and future customers?
If you’re not sure, don’t worry. A deep dive into branding is a step that many companies overlook, but one in which you can easily see quick gains if you give it some focused attention. Here are some things you can do right now:
1. Think about the feelings and impression you want your business to leave people with.
What kind of business do you have? What transformation do your products or services provide? What feelings does this transformation evoke in people? Whether it’s serious, spontaneous, adventurous, inspirational, or any other emotion, nail down the ones that best represent your business. If you’re stuck, good questions to ponder are: If your brand walked into a room, how would you introduce it? Or, if your brand was a person, how would you describe him/her?
2. Identify every consumer touchpoint you have.
This goes way beyond someone handing over their credit card—this is every single interaction you have with a potential or current client, from the minute they hear about your business or first walk into your store or virtual headquarters, to the very last time you connect with them. Think through the entire customer journey and write down every touchpoint. Then, begin thinking of ways you might be able to infuse the emotion(s) you noted above into those touchpoints and WOW them.
3. If you haven’t already done so, dig deep to uncover the essence of your personal and business brand.
The foundation of a great brand and business is knowing who you are and what you stand for, both personally and professionally. If you haven’t already done so, take some time to dig deep and uncover the cornerstones of your business, like your mission, your vision, and your core values. Having a firm understanding of these will help you tap into your brand and business at an emotional level, making it far easier (and more authentic!) to connect with your customer on a deeper level as well.
When you start to think about a brand—your brand—as a holistic concept and not just a name or logo, you’ll be able to create an experience for your customer that’s both emotional and memorable, keeping your business top of mind for years to come.
About The Author
Rachel Gogos is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for people, the web, and creating strong personal brands. She started her career at the United Nations headquarters in New York city, where she helped create the look and feel for the organization’s first website. Today, in her current role running brandiD, Rachel channels over 15 years of marketing and communications experience into each and every website for brandiD’s clients. Find out more!