Be the Brand: Congruency=Believability
Remember the Great and Powerful Oz from The Wizard of Oz? He built quite a brand for himself. Don’t kid yourself, it took a lot of hard work and consistency to have everyone believing was great and powerful. To those who don’t see the man (or woman) behind the magic, it all looks easy.
In any company, co-workers may have a little envy for the marketing and branding folks. It all looks like so much fun…so easy…even, sexy! Everyone wants in the game. They want to put their own spin on how the brand is displayed. “Hey can we get some shirts for our softball team? I doodled a baseball cap on the logo. Can we get those made?” “At the tradeshow, let’s change up our logo color—I’m bored with blue.” “The logo won’t fit in my Excel sheet, so I stretched it. Is that okay?” Unless you are Google and doing fun things with the logo is part of your brand standard, the answer is “NO.” No. No. No.
And, although the logo is what we see most often, other representations of the brand should also remain congruent with your brand style: how you answer the phone; the style of your email signature; the way you respond to customers.
Why, you ask, can’t I make the logo my own? How come I can’t put my own personal stamp on it? Why does my department have to use the same business card layout as everyone else? Here’s why.
Your brand is a hard working entity. It is out there making an impression on everyone it encounters along with millions of other brands. It is competing for space in the viewers’ brains. It wants to be remembered. It is positioning itself to be the go-to brand for whatever it represents. It needs your help.
Let’s say you are dating. Every time you go out with your date, you dress in a different, random style and act completely different each time. The person would have a hard time getting to know what makes you special and why he or she should pick you. If you don’t know who you are, no one else can either. (And, they’ll probably assume you are off your meds and should be avoided.)
If you fail to be congruent with brand value and consistent at every touch point, those who encounter it will be confused and uncertain. Confused people don’t understand what you are about, can’t remember you, don’t trust you, and, thus, don’t do business with you.
It’s essential that you be the brand: understand what makes your brand special and the value it brings to its target customer, then make sure you take action that is congruent with what it stands for and be consistent whenever you represent it.
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