Brand Evolution – What Lies Ahead: Chapter 1

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll

This is a three-part series about brand strategy that addresses the brand and naming process. The following are recommendations that lead to successful brand, nomenclature and lexicon development. I hope you find it useful. If you have any questions, comments, or you just want to talk, send me a direct message either here or via twitter @RiverDogJeanie. I’d love to hear from you!

First, get to the truth and know the bones of your business

Perform a brand equity study before you name your product, rebrand or change your image. It will reveal the real status of the company in the eyes of your customers, partners, employees and potential markets. It exposes disconnects within all groups – and sheds the clear light of reality on the strengths and weaknesses of your company and its brand promise.

Customers are smart, feeling, expectant and motivated beings

Nurtured, abandoned or abused: depending on how customers are treated, they act accordingly. Conduct business on a human level and design with full intention the best customer experience possible.Worry about a funky logo later, your first priority is to find out how your customer can engage in a committed way with your offering.

Consider the power of customers today

As the world becomes more digitally connected

  1. Decisions hinge on personal brands and brand promises (That is, I am a person that has a specific perception associated with me; ergo, my personal brand carries with it by reputation and connection, a specific brand promise) +
  2. Emotional isolation is on the rise as more technology tools emerge (Customers need more than an empty calorie product) so figure out how you can nurture them =
  3. People don’t buy because of the product, they buy because of their brand perception, experience, and the promise: “customer experience trumps product reality”
    (Customers buy for love)

Short cuts can short circuit

There is hard work ahead, but skipping it means more costly work later. By the time this is over, you’re going to feel like you just walked through a silly string forest, but please don’t be tempted to jump in willy-nilly with your best guess at iconography or naming without completing the steps outlined in this series.

It’s good to be king… or is it?

CEOs are first in line as champion of the brand. This is a bold step which requires leaders to be open to discovery and accept the whole truth about the brand, the company, and its products. And, it will require a willingness to lead in the best direction. I have tremendous empathy for founders. For those who have grown deeply attached to a logo or name, this will be the hardest step. Letting go may be exactly what is needed in order for the company to survive.

It takes courage to respond appropriately to the real perception of the brand. It can affect whether or not competitors can be overtaken, if the company can be positioned for a blockbuster sale, or if the right talent can be attracted that will, in turn, propel the company to a successful future. It will certainly inform companies how to best name products, services and offerings.

Lastly, allow a brand professional a view into all areas of the business. Ask them sign an NDA, swear their undying allegiance, cross their hearts – whatever it takes for you comfortable with this. The more transparency you allow, the more empowered the brand professional to be, and therefore do a better job.

Take a deep breath and head over to Chapter 2 – Brand Equity Study

About The Author

Jeanie Walker
Longtime brand and marketing professional with a special fondness for delivering the best customer experience design and a zest for helping local companies build strong communities.