Expressing who you are—your brand—is an essential component
of your communication strategy.
Your brand is not your logo. It’s not your company’s name, and it’s not your website. It’s not even your product. It’s all of these and more.
You can’t touch it.
Back in the day, a brand equaled a trademark of sorts, inspired by the marks burned into cattle by ranchers so herds wouldn’t be mixed up. But today, probably the best definition of a brand comes from the advertising titan David Ogilvy, who described it as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” So, for our purposes in the 21st century, a brand is not something you can touch or even point to—it’s in people’s heads, it’s what people think when they hear your company’s name.
You need to make people see it.
When it comes to your communication strategy then, your focus needs to be on conveying the promise and purpose your brand offers. This is a long-term strategy, not a one-off affair.
For Wal-Mart, as an example, the brand promise is everyday low prices. The brand purpose is helping people live better lives.
Making money is great, don’t get us wrong—we like it a lot—but the Benjamins aren’t going to be what set you apart from the other folks in your field that do what you do. By all means, pay attention to function, but don’t neglect the intention.
You must be consistent with it.
Once you have determined what you want the tangible results of your brand to be, as well as the good vibes you want it to promote, you’ve got the framework of your brand and your communication strategy. That’s a big, important deal.
But also big and important is what’s next—staying true to your brand and its message. Whenever you post anything on social media, start a new endeavor, launch a new product, you must ask if this new thing is consistent with your brand and communication strategy. We recommend a style guide to keep you on message (and we even tell you about them here). If that post or communication doesn’t fit with your brand, then it needs to be changed or removed.
Trust us. We know it’s a huge challenge keeping communications from an organization consistently on brand. But in today’s world, conveying a unique point of view is critical for success.