In Branding

A brand is more than a logo, a symbol or a tagline. Every great brand—whether a product or a service—is a living entity with a collection of perceptions and beliefs that reside in the hearts and minds of its customers.

Like a person, a brand builds relationships based on its characteristics and reputation. Defining the elements of your brand is essential. It’s the basis for communicating who you are through your ads, website, sales materials, PR efforts…in fact, everything—even how your employees talk about your company.

So where do you begin? Use these questions as a brand standards checklist to reveal where your brand needs support, maintenance or extra work.

1. Do you know your brand’s place in the market? Research the market and your competition and understand the threats and opportunities. How do you fit into the mix? For instance, is your brand geared to the budget-minded or luxury seeker? How will that impact your brand message and image?

2. Is your brand trying to be all things to all people? Identify the distinctive elements of your brand and pinpoint the advantages you want customers to associate with your brand. When defining your brand’s position, use this as the litmus test: is it unique, believable, desirable and deliverable? The worst place to be is the “me too” position.

3. Is your brand establishing an emotional connection? Well-managed brands elicit an emotional response from customers, and that fosters loyalty. Does your brand tap into freedom, inspiration, security, creativity, the bonds of family or another emotion?

4. Does your brand message keep it simple? It’s hard to boil down your brand message when there is so much to say and show. But test yourself: can you define your brand in the time it takes for elevator doors to close? If not, start editing.

5. Is your brand message and image consistent? You will always tire of a brand campaign way before your target. Don’t confuse them. Say and show the same message across all channels and marketing platforms. Make consistency a key part of your brand strategy. Create a standards manual that guides consistency in messaging as well as graphics.

Need a brand standards guide? Have questions of your own? To learn more about how Dana can help you build a powerful and consistent brand, contact Lynn Kaniper at 609-466-9187 x 117 or email

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