It’s Not Strategy Until You Brand It (Part 2)

October 18, 2012
Develop your brand

Last week we shared the value of building your brand and focused on three key deliverables: logo, brand message, and brand tagline. This week we continue that conversation to bring your brand home to you and your customers.

It’s not rehearsal, it’s your voice

Your brand voice is not only heard, it’s seen. Your voice is applied to everything you communicate: the spoken word, print, and all things electronic. Visual imagery speaks through all of your product materials and in how you present your services.

McDonald’s does a great job of integrating the voice of its brand. From the welcoming glow of the Golden Arches to the commercialized message of family, togetherness and value, the McDonald’s brand consistency speaks to internal and external audiences.

When films like “Supersize Me” and investigative reports on CNBC showed that the Arches may have dimmed just a little, McDonald’s stayed consistent and focused on nutrition and the well-being of its customers.

The company amended its voice to include the combined values of wholesomeness and nutrition. These changes allowed McDonald’s to continue to thrive while addressing public perception of its shortcomings. They did this successfully and the brand has never been stronger.

I’m lovin’ it, and so are the billions of customers they serve each year.

Start with I and end with rate - integrate

Consider how integration of your brand brings your company’s message and values together. Is your brand formal? Then be professional. If your brand is relaxed, be friendly. How you integrate is just as important as what you integrate into your brand.

Every aspect of your business is influenced by this integration. It’s the way you sign your email, answer the phone, and the manner in which you and your staff dress and present themselves. This integration helps set your customers’ expectations, even when considering what to wear when meeting with a client or presenting at a trade show. Everything is impacted, so how do you standardize? How would you rate yourself? And where can you improve?

McDonald’s is a global company with a presence in over 100 countries. Yet, with all that global exposure, the look, feel and experience at McDonalds remains the same. It’s this consistency that sets up customers’ expectations and allows McDonald’s to deliver on that experience.

From websites to supplies to the restaurants themselves, no matter the locale, they all share that integrated experience.

Thick or thin, it’s all about the consistency

Being consistent is the final and most crucial key to branding. Dropping the ball on consistency will lead only to failure.

Create brand standards across your company. Using the same logo placement and color palette will give you the same look and feel throughout. From milk cartons to your marketing materials, this consistency conveys the thoughtfulness you put into each and every effort.

You have the look, now follow up with the action. If you promise quality and convenience in a bun and in three minutes, do it. There is no mistaking the level of effort and attention to detail in being consistent. McDonald’s knows this and their customers experience it every day and at every interaction.

The last thing to remember is to be true to your brand. If you cannot deliver on your brand promise and every order is served with an apology, you’ll have more than customer satisfaction to worry about.

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[Image: ChicagoGeek