If someone says Coca-Cola, what immediately comes to your mind? Probably the same image that comes to everyone else’s mind—A red can with that classic script. With Google, everyone thinks of the colorful Google logo. And with Nike, you undoubtedly think of the iconic Nike swoosh (and probably Michael Jordan). That’s the power of brand identity.
The Halo Effect
A well-established, positive brand identity will give your company a competitive advantage over companies that are inconsistent with their image and reputation. This is referred to in marketing as the “halo effect.” In addition, the halo effect increases your mindshare. “Mindshare” is another marketing term used to describe the brand awareness and popularity of a product, service, or company. It is when people know that something will be high quality because a particular brand makes it.
The Horn Effect
The horn effect is the opposite of the halo effect. When a company does a poor job of managing customer expectations, social media, or public image, people will have a negative impression of the brand rather than a positive one. For example, what do you think of when you hear Monsanto, the NFL, Sprint, or the Trump Organization? These companies once had glowing reputations eventually tarnished by scandal, poor public relations, or lousy customer service.
Can You Overcome a Negative Brand Identity?
Yes! But whether you are trying to establish a brand identity for the first time or overcome a negative one due to a public image disaster, you must be intentional. Remember, your brand image isn’t what you say it is. Instead, it’s what others perceive it to be. Shaping it or reshaping it takes time and diligence.
Amazon recently began a campaign to improve its image as an employer. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen. However, the fact that they are concerned about this despite thriving economically shows they know how fickle the public can be and that even they could be toppled if they don’t repair their image quickly.
But brand identity is just as important for smaller companies as it is for gigantic ones. So how do you go about establishing a positive brand identity?
Make the Core of Your Business Brand Known
First, you must establish what the core of your business brand is. What’s your:
- Purpose: Why do you get up and do what you do every day as a company? What is the Goal you are all working toward if you had to boil it down to one main thing?
- Values: What are the guidelines that you work within? Do you value family? That means valuing your customers’ families and your employees’ families, as well. Values are a big responsibility because people know whether you are living up to them or just talking.
- Vision: What is your vision for the future? What steps are you taking to make that vision a reality? You can’t say you want to lower pollution without actively changing how your company uses energy and deals with waste. Walk out your vision with precision!
- Mission: Write a mission statement that encompasses your purpose and your values to show how you will make your vision for the future a reality.
Then you must consistently deliver on your promises to your customers. Go above and beyond. Your reputation is your most valuable asset, so hang on to it tightly.
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