What’s Your Real Brand?

People spend loads of money on getting their branding perfect — and rightly so, since your branding really is the personality of your business. But did you realise that actually, you’ve got two brands? The brand that you spend the money to develop … and the one you develop naturally based on how you interact with your customers.

Any inconsistency between these two brands is terrible for your relationship with your customers, so if you haven’t thought about it lately, then let me ask you:

What’s your real brand?

You can have the sharpest copywriting, the most attractive graphic design, and the cleverest courses in the world, but if your customers have a hard time getting a hold of you when there’s a problem, then that’s what they’re going to remember — that will be the ‘brand’ that sticks in their mind.

This is one area where very small businesses have a big advantage.

When you’re just starting out, or you only have a few customers, then it’s easy to keep interactions with your target market personal and in line with your branding. The key here is simple: do what you say you’re going to do, and interact with your customers in a way that’s consistent with your branding. For instance, if you’ve got a website that’s laid back and friendly, any emails that you or your staff send should be written in that tone.

But what about when you grow?

Once you get to the point where you can’t keep that personal relationship with every single customer, then you need to get systems in place to make sure that their brand experience is still great and consistent. You’ve also got to train anybody you contract work out to or hire what the ethos of your business is. And I don’t mean that you should just give them a sheet with your mission statement on it! You need to make sure they really understand what customers have come to expect from you so they can deliver it.

Checklist: are you on-brand?

It can be really hard to see whether you’re on-brand from the inside out, so here are a few things you should check for tone and consistency:

Your blogs

Your social media posts

The copy on your website

The graphics and colours on your website

Your email campaigns

Any ads you create or buy

The images you post on your blog or on social media

Any emails you or your staff or contractors send

Your pricing

Your return policy

I’d love to know … is your real brand consistent with the branding you pay for … or do you have some work to do? Tell me below in the comments!