Notes On A Branding

After a week of meetings on our own brands, we reflect on some important lessons in branding as we look at growing bigger with Hustle and our sister brands.

So this week was an interesting lesson for us in branding our business. We set up a meeting with Gillian Horan from The Pudding Branding Agency as we have a new and not so new business looking at improving our brands.
Whatever concepts we thought knew about branding were quickly blown away as we discussed just how to improve the new and change the old. Branding and finding the right brand for your company is not simply about logos or colors. It is an extension of who you are and what you believe in.

Gillian Horan and her team
Gillian Horan from The Pudding explains brand audits

So here is what we learned from our first discussion with Gillian and her team about brands.

Leave what you think you know at the door
When you are immersed in your business it can be hard to see when something isn’t working. So leave what you think you know about your brand at the door. Wipe the slate and be prepared to reflect honestly on what it stands for and what it means. More importantly how others see it and associate it. How strong is the brand really and what do people associate with it?

What do you believe in?
We’ve said it many times in writing on business that unless people believe in what you’re selling they won’t buy. At the heart of your business needs to be core values, things that make you come to work every day and put your heart and soul into what you do. People need to know these values exist and they need to see them. When they go to your website they must see it. When they meet you they must see it. Unless you show what you care about, don’t expect them to care about what it is your bringing to their door.

customer service
Customers need to see your core values in action

What customer do you want?
Many businesses spend a lot of time looking for customers, very few spend time looking for the right customers. In our own businesses we made a sort of New Year’s resolution to change our customer base from many, to 4 to 5 key customers with a continuous workload from them. So the new branding needs to reflect that customers’ needs in what they expect from us. This premium customer will make workflows much easier for us and in return allow us the time to create individual platforms tailored to the customer. Unless they see that we can offer this and we believe in this better way of being more customer orientated then they won’t be our customers. What customers do you want?

Brands aren’t sales, their relationships
Branding and re-branding are about getting you sales in the long run. They are about getting inside the minds of customer as a name to trust. If you think of the biggest brands you use every day or every week there are reasons (other than price) that you use them. You have an association with them, a trust. The purpose of the brand is to become a part of that trust, when people need the service they think of you. When the trust is earned the sales will follow. ‘Build it and they will come’ hasn’t worked since Field of Dreams and Kevin Costner. The art of selling is trust.

Branding products brands shopping
We put our trust in brands every single day

Personality goes a long way
Brands also need to reflect your own personality. We don’t know how many times we’ve see a website or a business card that’s bright and colourful, only to be met with a person who has all the brightness and personality of a slowly dying fish. Everybody in your organisation needs to reflect the brand and what your offering, from the top to the bottom of the organisation. One bad experience for a brand, is bad experience for the company. Branding matters.

This appeared in The Irish Examiner on 25/01/16