It’s been said before, but it bears saying again: Your brand is not your logo. It’s not your color scheme, or your tagline, or even your principles or your market segments or your penetration. Your brand is the gut feeling regular people get when they think of your company.
This includes your customers, suppliers, partners, employees, investors, enemies, and general public. It is shaped by the way you interact with them, in every phone conversation, transaction, and problem escalation.
These are the only things that matter. The other stuff people normally call “branding” is just window dressing that clarifies and can enhance your brand value. But the real branding is done in your day-to-day operations, not in the marketing, PR or design department.
People love Amazon because you can get just about any piece of media or media equipment you want at the best price anywhere, and it’s easy and fast – despite how bad the logo and Web site look.
People love Netflix because it emancipated millions of us from video-store slavery with its free mailing system, easy online queues, and no late fees. Its “branding” people think of is nothing more than a reminder (in the form of a red envelope) of the joy of escaping from video store hell.
People love Macs because they don’t ask you to tell the computer when you connect a camera. It just knows. And they don’t make you hunt and search for drivers with every new printer or piece of software. They just install automatically. Compared with people’s traditional experiences, that’s a welcome relief. The fact that they’re prettier is just window dressing on that key benefit.
To really stand out, you need to deliver your product or service like no one has ever done before. It’s not enough to be a “leading provider of ___ solutions.” You need to change their expectations of the entire market.
Why do people love your company? Do they know? Do they have a reason?