Start with these five ways to improve and protect your brand, so competitors can’t duplicate and create a brand that connects with customers like you do.
Your company’s brand is like a calling card, a bio, and a unique identifier all rolled into one. It is a way to help define your company in the midst of competition and bring your business to mind more easily for customers.
This recognition can be down through a slogan, color palette, product packaging, or your company’s “voice” – the words chosen in marketing and communication materials. Apple is a great example of an iconic brand that is synonymous with easy-to-use products and sleek design. Their advertising, whether online, print, or in-store, all returns to this branding consistently.
Branding, then, is a huge part of company identity and helps to establish now how your customers feel about you and your relationship to them (are you an authority? A guide? A mentor? These things can all be established through careful branding), as well as helps customers more easily remember you and distinguish you from other businesses. It’s important, then, to protect your brand to help it remain as effective as possible.
Five Best Ways to Protect Your Brand
1. The Best Defense is Always a Good Offense
If part of your brand is to have a unique product name, for instance, or catchy slogans like a “30 Day Drive Better Guarantee,” make sure you’ve got the trademarks and registrations to be able to use these phrase, names, etc. These phrases or product names can become an integral part of your branding and you want to make sure these assets are protected for further use.
2. Have a Good Brand or Style Guide
Consistency is one of the most important pieces of brand defense. Inconsistency makes for bad branding and doesn’t add to your customers understanding of who you are and what you can do for them. Having a book of guidelines that includes things like logo use, appropriate colors, tone to be used in copy, and more. This is a great resource for both your internal creative and any agencies that you outsource advertising work to, to ensure that everyone is always on the same page.
3. Host a Training
Once you decide the elements of your branding, share it with your company. Branding is an enterprise-wide effort and it should be understood by all teams from sales to accounting to HR. Sales people, human resources, and other parts of your company are regularly involved in customer facing roles where there are opportunities to continue consistent branding and storytelling about your brand.
4. Understand the Meaning Behind your Brand
Branding should be memorable and communicate a story about how your business can serve or help your customers, but it should also communicate something about the “why” behind your business, and not just the what. Branding can certainly include elements such as choosing red in your logo to more effectively capture customer attention, as well as a brand voice that’s very personable as opposed to academic.
Brands that include meaning – like a mission statement as part of their core brand messaging – often outperform brands that have less meaning focused messaging for their brand. One of the best ways to protect your brand is to infuse it with meaning to protect it from imitators; establish a brand mantra to stand out. It can also help you grow trust with your customers, protect you from declining sales, and increase customer loyalty.
5. Treat your Employees Well and Create a Great Work Atmosphere
Most businesses assume that branding is customer facing marketing. But there’s a strong case that protecting the brand from the inside is important, too. Sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn give employees a way to offer their reviews on working for a company and enough negative press might deter customers from wanting to do business with you. This is why it’s important to have an employee branding strategy as part of your overall brand protection and defense approach.
Protecting the integrity of your brand is a fundamental step in successful marketing and effective business growth. When it comes to how to protect your brand, you want to make sure that it’s well defined and well understood. What are the integral steps of your brand protection process?