What’s all the fuss about?

So…Why all this fuss about branding? Why do I need to have a brand? Why do you need to have a brand? It’s talked about in the news and media and you may have even heard your friends talking about it, but do you have it? and do you need it?Well the truth of the matter is – if you already have a company, or you’re a freelancer, you probably already have a brand, you just may not know it! Branding comes in lots of different forms, from personal to business to weak to strong. (strong doesn’t necessarily work in your favour!)

But what is it exactly?

Well your brand is lots of things. You may believe, as a lot o people do, that your brand is your logo, and to a degree you would be right, but also wrong! You see your brand is YOU, or to put it more clearly, it’s you your company, your staff, your produce, in fact everything about you and your company is your brand. If a member of your staff answer the phone to a customer they are directly affecting how that customer perceives your brand. To put it another way, your brand is similar to your image, but more so.

I had a interesting conversion recently with a friend who works for the NHS. He was talking about a small action group that he is part of who deal with absenteeism and basic lack of care for work. Members of staff who are always late, take a lot of time off and don’t really care about their job. Believe it or not this is partly down to the poor brand management of the NHS. This is relevant to any company. If your brand is strong and your values are honest then this should be reflected on your staff. It’s no good having lots of wonderful brand promises and values if these are not believed within the company and more importantly by individual members of staff. What better feeling must it be than when you over hear one of your employees talking about your company and how much he/she enjoys working there. And what a worse feeling that overhearing another employee saying the complete opposite!

Getting your staff on board is essential to creating a great, honest, believable brand.

‘But I can’t force them to be happy!’ I hear you say. No, you can’t. But what you can do is nurture them, train them and support them so that when they go to work each day they WANT to go to work each day. It’s not easy, there are always going to be one or two individuals who want to cause trouble and go against the grain, but at the end of the day you want your company to be successful and in order to be a truly successful company you need to keep your employees (and your customers) happy. You may need to make a few difficult decisions and consider letting these awkward people go. Maybe they would be happier working some where else. These one or two individuals can make life difficult for your other ‘happy’ employees and ruin all the good work you and them have put into the company.

I’ll go into what affects your brand in more detail a little later, but what makes your brand, your image so important, or what makes branding and image so important in general is it makes it easier for potential customers/clients to make that choice. Branding -good or bad – makes choosing easier.