Many service companies suffer from outdated and out-of-touch identities. Business owners often think they invested in branding when they founded the company, and that one-time investment should last forever. However, just like you update your hairstyle and wardrobe, you must also update your company’s brand essence. So how do you know when it’s time to update your company image? Easy. Have 10 years passed? If so, it’s time. Can your employees easily answer what makes your company better than any other in your market? If not, it’s time. The bottom line is, you want to tell your people how and what to think about your company so you know they are not making stuff up. Building a brand for your company is the first step to letting others sell for you.
Giving your employees and customers a well-defined brand makes them feel better about the time and money they spend with you. Consider it a little gift. Many owners feel that they don’t have time to focus on their brand essence and core values, but just remember, it’s the difference between being in the driver or passenger seat of your business.
You might think that building a brand just happens organically, but it doesn’t. It takes a thorough examination of the marketplace and follows a six-step process.
- Brand audit: The first step is to conduct a brand audit. Review your core audience, assess company strengths and weaknesses and evaluate current messaging.
- Industry analysis: Examine competitors online, conduct customer surveys, one-on-one intercepts, focus groups, secret shopping.
- Core values: Identify themes from brand audit and industry analysis to determine company core values.
- Positioning statement: Define the essential quality that sets you apart within your industry.
- Tagline: Develop an anchoring statement that grounds the company to an aspirational or current goal.
- Logo: Using the research you have conducted, create a visual identity that speaks to your audience.
Once this six-step process is in place, you are ready to develop marketing initiatives to carry the brand in a way that will have a ripple effect from your employees outward to your partners, customers and the general public. If you don’t have this solid foundation in place, all of the marketing dollars you are currently spending will be a waste rather than money wisely spent.
In 2001, Jennifer Lester co-founded Philosophy Communication, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Since then Philosophy has brcome an award-winning marketing and public relations firm serving the needs of big-name clients such as Sub-Zero Group, Inc., Smashburger, Quiznos and Caribou Coffee Company. Her primary roles in the firm are business development, marketing campaigns and media relations. Under Jennifer’s leadership, Philosophy Communication has become the first agency in the US to provide marketing expertise to all channels of the luxury appliance industry, including manufacturers, distributors, dealers, servicers, installers and parts suppliers. Her deep understanding of the many marketing nuances of the appliance industry and of the aspirations of the upscale homeowner have helped Philosophy’s appliance industry clients increase sales by nearly 95 percent.