Over the years, I’ve led several rebrands. And, as a consumer myself, I’ve observed many companies that have changed their brands. “Rebranding” has become a common occurrence. In fact, I feel it’s a bit too common. I understand there are situations when taking steps to change one’s brand make the most sense. But, I also feel that there are times when it can hurt a company – having a reversed effect from the objectives originally intended. There have been some great rebrand successes and plenty of disasters. If you can’t think of any great versus not-so-great rebrands, conduct a quick web search and you’ll find plenty.
My goal as you read this is not to talk you out of leading a rebrand at your organization if that’s something that you’ve been considering. Rather, I hope to provide you with some points to consider as you deliberate whether or not attempting to change your brand is right for you.
Understand your Brand vs. your Branding.
Before determining if it’s time to rebrand, you need to know the difference between your brand and your branding. Understanding the difference can help you determine how to best reach your brand’s goals and/or fix the problems you feel are associated with your brand.
A key distinction between the two is that your customers own your brand; whereas, your organization controls your branding. Your brand is how customers perceive your company and products, while your branding is the story that your organization delivers and promises.
What a rebrand really means
While the process of changing your brand’s name or logo is commonly referred to as a “rebrand”, I feel that calling it “rebranding” is more accurate. That’s because you can’t change your customers’ perceptions (brand) without first changing how your organization delivers its story (branding). With “rebranding”, you’re making changes to the branding strategy to modify what people think about your company. This may include changing the name and/or logo; however, it doesn’t always need to since those are just one component of your branding. In fact, simply changing your name and logo is not enough to entirely alter how your company is perceived by others. If you don’t believe this to be true, think about it in another way. Have you ever met a person with a name that didn’t initially match their personality? At first, the person and the name may not seem to pair, but as you get to know the individual, their name takes on a new meaning. That’s because names usually only make initial impressions. People are what make the emotional connections. The same holds true for your company’s branding.
“You can create a name and logo that make the initial impressions you desire. But, without all staff executing a strategy (consistently delivering the company mission, attributes, benefits/features and competitive differentiators that support the name/logo), the preliminary feelings associated with your brand will be replaced by your customers’ emotional responses, which are driven by the experiences your staff creates.” Heather Dowell, Break Ice Marketing
So, back to should you change your name and logo? There are many factors that can help you decide this. Outside of legalities and company politics, you should base your decision on what your potential and existing customers think. If there are no issues with how they’re perceiving your company, why go through the time and expense of making this change to your branding? On the other hand, if your name and logo are not making the first impressions that you want, then perhaps it’s time for a change. But, don’t make this change too quickly or with little thought. Spend some money on hiring a branding consultant. You need someone that is not already emotionally connected with your branding to help lead you through the process. Take time to do research. Collect the thoughts of your current and prospective customers. Don’t rely on your own emotions and assumptions.
When you change your name and logo, you should plan on using them for the long-term. You also need to be consistent. If you’re unable to make the change across all channels and with every interaction with customers, then don’t do it. I’ve seen many companies fail at effectively changing their name and logo by not consistently delivering all components of the new branding. This almost always results in customer confusion and branding that’s even weaker than before.
Ultimately, a rebrand successfully occurs when customers begin thinking about your company the way that you want them to. “Rebranding” is a process that sets the stage for this. Despite what most people think, a rebrand does not happen on a specific date. Your organization has the ability to decide when it launches its new branding, but it’s your customers that control the launch of your new brand.
Ready to rebrand? Or, do you still need some help in deciding if rebranding is right for you? Contact Break Ice Marketing to schedule time to speak with an expert brand strategist.
Around this time of year, fitness centers and gyms are the busiest. In fact, the volume of gym-goers is 33-50% higher in January than any other month of the year. It’s not hard to understand why. Exercise is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions – and it’s also one of the shortest-lived. By the second week of February, most of the increased volume drops.
While exercising is a great resolution that can help you be happier and healthier – relieving stress and giving you more energy to achieve more personally and professionally, there are four other resolutions that you should make - and commit to keeping.
These four resolutions can help you be more successful in 2016:
The four resolutions mentioned in this article are those that can help employees in all professions. Break Ice Marketing specializes in helping organizations increase sales, gain more leads and reach more customers through strategic branding and marketing. Contact us if you’d like help in creating and fulfilling resolutions in these more specific areas.
We wish all readers a successful and prosperous 2016!
It’s the week before Christmas and staffs of all levels are hustling and busting to get things wrapped up before year-end. As hectic as this time of year may be, the holiday season provides a great opportunity for all businesses to prepare themselves for more success in the upcoming months within the New Year.
Below, is some of the season's best business advice.
Deck the halls with good, strong branding
During the holidays, your brand may not be forefront on your customers’ minds unless it offers a product or service that coincides with an item on their holiday lists. But, don’t let this dissuade your team from preparing for the after-season rush when your customers are less distracted and ready to hear from you. Be courteous and visible to your customers throughout the holiday season. So, when it’s over, your customers will remain loyal to your joyous brand.
'Tis the season to be branding
Fa la la la la la la la!
We now send our best direct mailings
Fa la la la la la la la!
Songs of joyous branding wonders
Fa la la la la la la la!
See the blazing brand before us
Fa la la la la la la la!
Your customers are going online
At the moment, your customers may be spending most of their time online, shopping for the type of gifts that your brand may not offer. Whether they’re going to your website or not, don’t stop giving your digital presence the attention that it deserves. Use this time to ensure that all web content is current and relevant. This is also the perfect opportunity to make those back-end site updates that will help improve SEO - and to evaluate and respond to any customer reviews made about your company and brand.
You better watch out
You better update
Better not sit
I'm telling you why
Your customers are going online
They’re making a list
And checking reviews;
Gonna find out who’s worthy and right
Your customers are going online
Have a holly jolly company
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it can be easy to give less focus than you should to your staff. Don’t just have a holiday party and then check your team off your list. Bring cheer to the office by openly communicating next year’s strategic goals and objectives so that your staff can start planning and preparing now. Greet your employees with a smile and don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate them.
Have a holly, jolly company
it's the best time of the year
I don't know if there'll be cash
but have a cup of cheer
Have a holly, jolly company
and when you walk down the halls
say hello to staff you know
and everyone you meet
The twelve days of selling
Between now and the end of the year, there is actually less than 12 business days available to sell. But, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to close a few more deals. Depending on what you’re selling, sales are either at their annual peak or they’re slowing down until the first of the year. If you’re the case of the latter, this is the time to make sure that your CRM is updated and current so you’re ready when things start to pick back up.
On the first day of selling
my sales team sent to me:
12 Responding Prospects
11 New Decisions
10 Leads Awaiting
9 Replies to Emails
8 Completed Demos
7 Returned Phone Calls
6 Quotes Requested
5 Customers Converted
4 Contracts Pending
3 Answered Phone Calls
2 People Talking
and another Goal that Has Been Met
Make the most the most of the time you have left in the office, but then be sure to take time and enjoy the holidays.
Break Ice Marketing wishes each of its clients, followers and readers a season of good health, happiness and much success.
No matter who you are, where you work or what you do, you have a personal brand. Your brand is how others perceive you. Like a business brand, a personal brand requires purposeful branding and marketing to earn awareness, credibility and referrals. Investing in your personal branding helps ensure that you are perceived the way you want to be.
Personal branding is not just for people in the public eye or that are in the market for a new job. While a personal brand can be what sends a recruiter your way, it’s also what can help you grow your business, get better reviews and achieve bonus goals.
Personal branding is more than appearances.
Just as a business brand is more than a name, logo and design, the same concept is true for a personal brand. While your visual identity may be an essential component of your personal branding, it’s meaningless without an executed strategy that connects you to others in a meaningful way. Many people that have a personal branding strategy may market it via LinkedIn and on resumes, but fail to actually deliver it.
Your personal branding strategy should define and consistently deliver all the points below:
Strong personal branding requires consistency. Inconsistent delivery of your personal mission, features/benefits or attributes will frequently result in a loss of credibility. So, when defining your personal brand standards, be sure that you consistently deliver them. This practice is what helps you gain personal brand advocates.
Marketing your Personal Brand helps build awareness.
Marketing your personal branding helps increase awareness of all that you have to offer so that more people want to do business with you. This, of course, can help improve your sales, performance and ratings.
How and where you market depends on your goals. Utilizing LinkedIn and other social channels is an excellent way to gain exposure. Even if you’re not trying to gain more connections or followers, you should still ensure your social profiles represent your personal brand well.
Tips for Marketing your Personal Brand on LinkedIn and Twitter:
Tips for Networking:
I recently met someone that gave some good networking advice. He believed that everyone should have five categories of networks. These categories are intelligence, innovation, revenue, industry and influence. The goal for building your networks should be to build relationships with people that fall within these categories. Essentially, having these quality network relationships is more important than the quantity of connections.
Invest in 5 Categories of Connections:
While building and maintaining your networks of relationships, remember to be a giver as well a receiver. Provide value back within your groups so that your personal brand is also looked at as a thought leader and expert, giving you more credibility.
Personal branding is an investment worth making. Those committed to their personal branding are the ones that reap the rewards of loyal co-workers, staff and clients.
Contact Break Ice Marketing for help creating a social media cover/header photo for your personal brand. Mention this article and receive a custom social graphic for only $75.
Around this time of year, we begin thinking about the things in life that make us feel thankful. While family, friends and health are common reasons for gratitude, so can be the value that some brands deliver. Brands that show they truly care about their customers are those that give us another reason to feel thankful - this time of year and all year round.
Here are a few traits of brands that generate thankfulness:
Brands that show they APPRECIATE their customers.
Some brands are especially loved because they make us feel appreciated. They’re quick to say “thank you” because they understand that it’s their customers that provide value to them, which makes us appreciate these brands even more.
There are many ways that a brand can show customer appreciation. It is these acts of kindness and displays of gratefulness that also helps promote a brand. One example that stands out is a time that my dad and I were visiting Stags’ Leap Winery during an annual father/daughter trip. After enjoying tastings and a tour of the winery, we purchased our favorite bottles of wine. One of the employees that had been helping us recommended a restaurant that we might enjoy for dinner and even offered to make reservations. The restaurant was about 15 miles from the winery. During dinner, we were surprised by a quick visit from the employee, who presented us with a thank you card and an extra bottle of wine. This above and beyond act by Stags’ Leap Winery made us feel appreciated, and for that, we felt thankful.
Brands that DELIVER what their customers want.
These are the brands that use research and customer feedback to consistently deliver what their customers want. They’re also the brands that are willing to make changes to keep their customers happy. Netflix is an example. For the past few years, they’ve used customer insights to ensure that they deliver their brand promise. After listening to their customers, Netflix made important changes that have resulted in substantial growth and increase of profits. These changes include giving customers anytime/anywhere access, making their interface more user-friendly and providing people with what they want to watch. By delivering what their customers wanted, Netflix added 30% more subscribers this past summer than what they were expecting.
Organizations that GIVE BACK TO THEIR COMMUNITIES.
We’re grateful for the organizations and brands that give back to their communities and we often enjoy it when we’re given the opportunity to be a part of it. Target is an example of an organization that has given back to the educational communities. Over the years, Target has donated and ran several campaigns that have benefitted thousands of schools throughout the nation. Earlier this year, Target ran a six day social media campaign that asked the public to submit thank you notes to their schools and teachers onto the campaign’s website. As a result of this campaign, Target donated $6 million among over 50,000 schools.
Brands that say “THANK YOU”.
Yes, this goes along with showing appreciation, but it’s important enough to note again. A simple “thank you” goes a long way. It’s sometimes all it takes for customers to feel appreciated and valued – and to keep them coming back. We thank the brands that thank us because we know that expressing gratitude is not always the norm. The brands that give thanks are the ones that most stand out.
Cheers to all the brands that show appreciation, deliver what their customers truly want, give back to their communities and never fail to say “thank you”. These are the brands that give us another reason to feel thankful as we enter into the holiday season and beyond.
Break Ice Marketing is thankful for each of these brands, its clients, connections and readers.
Please provide us with feedback on how we can continue to best serve you.
A couple of days ago, I took my kids to Disneyland. I was hoping that by taking advantage of my kids’ day off from their school’s in-service day, it’d be less crowded. For extra assurance that we’d get a few hours without the long lines, I booked us a room at a hotel for the night before. My plan was to get to the park shortly after it opened and I didn’t want the morning traffic to slow us down. Luckily, my “strategy” worked. It ended up being a relatively un-busy day and we were able to enjoy the magic that the Disney brand promises.
Whether you’re a huge Disney fan or not, it’s hard to deny that The Walt Disney Company has done many things right when it comes to their branding strategy. Looking at the key elements of a branding strategy, which was shared in Branding vs. Marketing: Knowing the Difference Can Increase your Bottom Line, it is evident that the brands under the Walt Disney’s Park and Resorts business segment have tackled them all, which has helped make Disney the 11th most valuable brand in the world.
Disney’s holds true to its mission.
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world."
Disney delivers its mission by having a clearly defined company culture with a set of values that do not waver. They hire employees that are committed to innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency.
I have never experienced a rude employee at Disneyland. And, while I haven’t yet been on a Disney cruise and it has been years since I visited Walt Disney World, I’m sure the same holds true. This is because Disney understands that branding is about creating actual experiences. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I visited Disneyland on a Saturday night (yes, we’re Disney pass holders). We got there at 7:30 PM and it was still 91 degrees outside. It was also an extremely busy night. Yet, we only encountered smiling, happy, helpful Disney employees. I was impressed and reminded of what makes Disney different from other family entertainment brands.
My daughter and I after getting wet on Splash Mountain
(her favorite ride).
Disney consistently delivers features and attributes that differentiate it from competition.
Reliable characteristics of the Disney brand include safe, clean, quality and fun. And, while those may be traits that many brands market, Disney actually delivers it. It’s a reason why so many people visit the parks each year even though they're higher priced than most competition. As of October 2015, a one-day Disneyland ticket for ages 10+ is $99. That’s 25-40% more than other amusement parks. But, Disney’s global recognition and trust keep people going (despite ongoing price increases).
What other brands can learn from Disney:
1. Do what you say. Your brand is like a person. If you say you’re going to do something, you better follow through or you won’t be trusted in the future. A branding strategy needs to be marketed and executed. Told and delivered.
2. Value and train your employees. Whether you’re an entrepreneur of a one-person company, a manager that leads a team or a CEO of a multi-billion organization, your brand would not exist if it weren’t for the employees. Set high expectations, but ensure your staff is well trained. Your employees are the ones creating most of the experiences that define your brand.
3. Be consistent. Brand recognition and credibility happen over time - and only after providing consistent experiences. This goes for all aspects that define your brand: visual, personality, features and competitive differentiators.
While we can’t all be Disney, we can have successful brands that become recognized and trusted, which lead to growth and customer loyalty. We do this by believing in our brand and delivering on what we promise. Then, others will believe in our brand too.
For help developing and executing a winning branding strategy, contact Break Ice Marketing.
Get updates on Facebook:
Branding and Marketing are NOT the same.
During a recent business lunch, I was speaking to an executive that has been interviewing candidates for an open Director of Marketing position. Although this role will be responsible for executing strategic marketing, advertising and creative services, a large part of the job is branding. In fact, the first sentence in the job posting states the Director of Marketing will manage the corporate brand.
Although several professionals with years of marketing experience have applied for the job, very few candidates have been able to make it beyond the first interview. This is because most people (and marketers) don’t clearly understand the difference between branding and marketing. Fortunately, this company recognizes the importance of hiring a marketer that has a firm grasp of both.
The two terms are often used interchangeably, yet branding and marketing are NOT the same. And, if you don’t fully understand the difference, it’s nearly impossible to be effective at both. It’s strong branding with good marketing that makes companies the most successful.
Understanding the difference is important.
Before examining the differences of branding and marketing, it’s helpful to know the definitions of each:
Attracts and retains loyal customers by consistently reinforcing and delivering a promise that creates memorable experiences. Displays attributes that build a reputation among the people that your brand touches.
Helps drive sales through activities and processes that promote your brand to reach and engage customers. Communicates value to keep your brand and products top-of-mind among the people that you want to do business with.
As stated above, your branding should always come first. Marketing without branding is a waste of time and money. You’ll confuse your customers and have little credibility. Most people think their company is branding first – they have a name and logo that’s always on the marketing. But, branding is more than just this.
Branding is more than a name, logo and design.
While your name, logo and design are an essential component of your branding, they’re meaningless without an executed strategy that connects your brand to your customers in a meaningful way. Many companies that have a branding strategy may market it, but fail to deliver it.
In addition to the visual identity, a branding strategy should include all the points below. Execution of the strategy relies on all staff within the organization. While the marketing team may lead the branding, it cannot be the sole executor.
- Clearly defined (and delivered) company mission.
- Clearly defined (and delivered) benefits/features of products.
- Clearly defined (and delivered) attributes of company.
- Clearly defined (and delivered) competitive differentiators.
When all components of a branding strategy are executed, the name, logo and design will begin to have true meaning. For example, when you see the Apple mark, you think about technology that is innovative and makes life easier. A red and white Coca-Cola can represents a quality drink that is tasty and refreshing. These brands have a reputation of delivering their promises, which led to trust and customer loyalty. Branding guidelines that are enforced throughout the entire organizations helped make these brands strong. Fonts, company attire, email signatures and phone greetings are all a part of leading brand’s executed branding strategies.
Marketing is what helps build awareness of your brand.
Marketing is a variable group of activities that promote your brand. Unlike your branding that generally remains constant, your marketing will change depending on short-term goals, trends, audiences and other factors. While your customers ultimately own your brand, you control your marketing – making it easier to adjust and modify when necessary.
Although branding and marketing are different and separate, they’re both needed and have to work together.
For help with your organization’s branding or marketing, contact Break Ice Marketing.
Get updates on Facebook: