A brand is essentially emotional and ambiguous, what David Ogilvy called “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.”
That said, there are ways to make the intangible more concrete, and to make sure your brand identity isn’t left to chance.
Write It Down
The first step is to write down what your brand stands for. This could be in the form of a mission statement. It could be even shorter, in the form of a few words. One exercise is to ask employees and/or customers to describe your brand with three words.
Pass It Along
Writing a statement about your brand articulates its identity, but that’s just the start. The next step is to communicate what your brand is about, especially to employees. They’re your greatest brand assets; if they know and believe in your brand, its power will grow. There are lots of ways to communicate brand identity, including employee newsletters and workshops. It can even be as simple as including a statement in the signature of your email.
Consistency has two aspects. The first is strategic, to create products and make business decisions that align with your brand identity and mission statement. The second is logistic, to identify the assets and collateral that communicate your brand (such as logos, taglines, colors, etc.) and use them consistently.
Enforce Proper Use
If you write down your brand’s idenity and the policies governing the use of assets, such as logos and taglines, then the last key to brand management is a matter of enforcement. Perform an audit of where and how your assets are used, at least once a year if you’re a small company, and once a quarter if you’re bigger.