If asked what the most valuable business asset you have is, you might say your clients, your services or your expertise. But you’d be wrong. Your most valuable business asset is your brand. It’s what sets you apart and what makes your company what it is. Your brand is more than just a logo and a business name, it’s how your business interacts with the world around it.
What is a brand?
If a brand is more than a logo and business name, what is it? Your brand is the overall perception of your company and the culmination of the assets that create that perception. David Ogilvy, one of the masters of advertising, described it as ‘the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.’ In this case, the product is your business and service.
What that means is that your brand is what people think of when they hear your business’ name. It includes experiences, images, messages and the feeling that people conjure when your company gets brought up. For example, Tesla likely makes you think of innovation and pushing boundaries, Disney brings up feelings of childhood and wonder and Patagonia makes you think of adventure and wilderness.
The reason that these brands consistently make each of us bring up the same feeling and images is that they are clearly defined and well managed. Apple, for instance, has a very dedicated brand management strategy that includes not allowing their phones to be used by any villainous characters in a movie.
As mentioned above, brands that have a dedicated brand management strategy can really make a particular ethos shine through in everything that they do. But you don’t have to be Elon Musk to create a brand that packs a punch. Even the smallest of mortgage broker firms can benefit from brand management.
A good, well-managed brand can make your business look bigger, more professional and unique. Your brand should tell the story of who you are and what you excel at throughout everything you do. It should communicate your values and make it clear what you can offer that no one else can.
By keeping your brand consistent across all channels and assets, you provide your clients, prospects and audience with a cohesive experience that will stand out. It also helps make your business feel relatable and keeps it top of mind for clients. In fact, studies have shown that brand perception can be the deciding factor for over a third of clients!
To manage it well, you’ll need to ensure that everything you produce is in line with your brand. This is true across all assets from email templates to social media posts to sales assets.
To create a consistent brand that works for your business, there are some key elements and assets that you’ll need to work with. You may even have some of these elements in place already! The important thing is to review them and ensure that they convey the same feelings, ideas, and messages across the whole set.
These key elements are:
Your values - These are a set of guiding principles that your brand lives by (eg. honesty, transparency, creativity). These should guide everything you do.
Your mission - This is what you want your brand to achieve, such as ‘to be the best mortgage broker in our area’ or ‘to always put clients’ needs first.’
Your Unique Selling Point (USP) - This is your point of differentiation, what makes you different from your competitors. Why should clients come to you instead of someone else?
Your positioning - This is how you want your audience to perceive you and what behaviours will encourage that image.
Your brand guidelines - Brand guidelines are a set of rules about how your visual brand can and cannot be used. It includes: logos, typography, imagery, iconography - anything that is part of your visual language.
Your tone of voice and style guide - Your tone of voice and style guide are what you need to refer to when writing anything for your brand. Like brand guidelines do for visuals, these documents dictate what you can and cannot say within the brand.
Once you have all of the critical elements of your brand and have reviewed them for consistency, you have everything you need to begin creating assets that stay true to your brand no matter where you use them. This will help you ensure your brand is always conveying the right messages and attracting the right audience.
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