One of the most basic, and most essential, tents of branding is clarity. It is imperative that everyone involved knows exactly what you’re aiming for, without a hint of ambiguity muddying their perceptions (or the future of your brand).
What does it mean to be clear in branding? And how does that translate to different aspects of your brand as you build, maintain and grow it?
Read on for the answers to these questions, and more.
There’s a perception in some branding advice circles that in order for your brand to be unique (and therefore competitive) it must be innovative to the point of eccentricity. Some believe the more abstract your brand is, the more intriguing it will seem.
There are some brands that claim their fame by creating a sort of secret club, where only those in its inner circle really understand what’s going on; however, trying to build a brand this way, from the beginning when no one knows about it, will prove to be challenging, at least. Consumers have ridiculously short attention spans (something like eight seconds), and if there’s any question in their minds about why they’re wasting those eight seconds trying to figure out what your brand is about…well, then you’ve lost them.
You see, there are a number of things that must be evident to prospective customers from their first contact with your brand. Those things include, but are not limited to:
- the reason you’re in business (your WHY)
- benefits they can expect
- your corporate values
- the net value they can expect to receive
- the personality behind the brand
Let’s delve more deeply into how you can communicate a crystal-clear message through every process and touchpoint:
- Be clear with your business name. The trend of using ambiguous terms to name businesses has passed. We know what Nike, Xerox and Zappos are…but do you have that much time to build your brand? Do you have the time to explain to your audience what your brand does—every time—or would you rather your brand name did that for you? Dunkin’ Donuts, Naturalizer, Entrepreneur and How to Build a Brand are a few examples of business names that pull their weight in descriptive clarity. Do this right, and you may not even need a strapline.
- Be clear with interviewees about your goals and values. How many new employees really know what they’re getting into? And how many look back and think that if they would have truly understood what your brand is about, they would have passed on the job? Don’t let this happen to your brand. When you’re up-front and clear about what your brand has been created to do, you will attract team members who share your values and who will want to work to further your brand.
- Be clear with your team about expectations. If employees aren’t clear about what is expected of them, they will almost always under-shoot your expectations, and in some cases, will do what they think is right and get it wrong. On the surface, this looks like failure on the part of the team member, when in fact, it is a failure on the part of management. Be clear with every employee, no matter their role. Never assume.
- Be clear in your marketing language. When the public reads your marketing campaign(s), are they sure about whether the message pertains to them? Are they sure about what you’re offering, what problem it solves, what pain it relieves or what benefit it holds for them? Your marketing messages should leave no room for question or imagination. They should call out, specifically, to your ideal customers and speak to them in a language that feels easy and familiar.
- Be clear as you “do the net value math” for them. Every consumer, either consciously or subconsciously, performs an equation when they consider making a purchase or getting otherwise involved with a brand. They subtract what they expect to spend (in time, money and energy) from what they expect to receive (in benefits). If they end up with a net positive result, they will consider making the purchase. Save them time and possible miscalculation by highlighting, in simple terms, how their purchase investment will be a lucrative one.
- Answer questions with blunt clarity. Watch a political news interview for five minutes, and one thing will become clear: Politicians do not answer the questions they’ve been asked. They rattle off canned answers that serve their own needs. And the result? A confused audience. Please don’t put your audience through this. When a question is asked of you, answer it directly and succinctly. If you have something you want to say, but that isn’t often asked about, write a blog post.
Being clear goes far past the avoidance of rambling, flowery language. It’s about knowing what you want to say and then saying it in a way that will reach your audience in the most direct manner…without the fluff.
Would you like some help with your brand communications? So that you can communicate your brand message in the most efficient and effective way possible? Then visit our website to learn more about the programmes offered by How to Build a Brand. Start-Ups click here. Brand builders click here.