Your Brand: It May Not Be What You Think It Is

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On April 14, 2014

Companies have historically spent a lot of time, effort, and money creating, establishing, and promoting their brand. Why is that such a big deal? A brand is much more than a logo or a look. It’s that thing that identifies your company without a word. You could say it’s the face of your company.

You know the companies that have pulled this off well. When someone mentions Nike, Apple, or Virgin you immediately have an impression of what the company is about. It’s something that goes far beyond a “swoosh”, an iPhone, or Richard Branson’s smile.  You have an expectation. Your brand isn’t just about being known—it’s about being known for something.

Even those of us who don’t compete directly with the likes of Nike, Apple, or Virgin need to pay attention to our brand. As a leader you’ve identified your target audience. You know whom you’re trying to reach. It doesn’t matter whether your focus is local, regional, national, or international. You still have a clear picture of who your potential customers are. But do those potential customers have a clear picture of who you are? What is your brand?

Branding is not creating a cool logo, picking pleasing corporate colors, or coming up with a catchy tag line. It’s not even about having a great mission or vision statement. As a matter of fact, your brand has very little to do with what you say about your company.

Your brand is what your customers say it is.

Thank about that for a minute. When one of your customers talks to a colleague (a prospective customer for you), what does he say? Does he sketch out your logo? Does he quote your tag line? Nope. He talks about what it’s like to do business with you. What your customer says to others creates the image that prospective customers have of your company.

What are your customers saying about you? Are they saying the kind of things that will bring new customers to your door? Or are you a commodity—a faceless entity that doesn’t get talked about at all.

Often, when we look in the mirror, we see what we want to see. We gloss over imperfections and faults. But that’s not reality. We need a clear picture. Do you have a few clients who will give you honest feedback regarding what they really think of you and what you have to offer? Maybe it’s time to find out what your company face looks like to those outside your company.

What’s your brand? It may not be what you think it is. But you can’t afford not to know.