Why is branding important?

In a recent post we considered the complexities of human perception and discussed its influence on customer choice. It’s not easy to know exactly why customers use your brand or organisation or how they view you. In fact it’s very hard to assess this without gathering direct feedback.

As a consequence, we find many organisations have no clear idea of how they are perceived. Every organisation needs to know not only how they’re perceived, but how they need to be perceived in order to recognise their strengths and weaknesses. Lack of understanding makes a business vulnerable, particularly during periods of rapid change.

Managing and surviving change  

The disability and aged care sectors are experiencing transformational reform. There’s a shift to consumer-directed care. ‘The customer’, they say, ‘is king’. So how, in these challenging times does a company manage ground-shifting change while maintaining focus, functioning successfully and even growing their customer base? One answer lies in their brand.

What does branding do?

Intelligent brand communications persuade customers, staff and other stakeholders.

A brand is much more than just a name or a logo. A well-researched and designed brand delivers a captivating message that resonates with its audience on an emotional level.

Intelligent brand communications drive improved business performance and assist with managing change. Successful brands are focused and convincing to their market. They build trust and clearly articulate why their organisation exists and how it’s different.

Articulating the ‘why’, ie your organisation’s purpose, along with ‘what’ your organisation provides, is fundamental. An organisational vision is an important tool for your organisation to articulate its major goals and greater sense of purpose. It provides your employees with direction and a vision of the future.

Organisational values should act alongside your vision and value proposition to provide the trust and appropriate behaviours needed for organisational and team success. They should be authentic, engaging and the bedrock of organisational culture, providing staff with a real understanding of what the organisation stands for. An organisation’s values must communicate how the organisation is different and how it goes about its day-to-day business. If an organisation’s people are to cooperate, perform and succeed they need to understand the brand, and believe in it too.

Why? Because the staff are the brand. From the receptionist to the carer, to the account handler, the actions of every staff member impact the brand.

Last year we interviewed a group of long-standing nurses employed by a successful nursing agency. We needed to know how they viewed their employer and what they liked most about working there. Our results revealed consistency across the three focus groups – what they valued most about their organisation was linked directly to the company’s founding vision statement. The organisation’s vision resonated strongly with staff because it truly reflected what the company stood for and it was integrated across all aspects of the agency’s actions – from the management team down.

Conclusion

  1. Knowing how your brand is perceived exposes areas of strength and weakness – key determinants for future positioning, for how you want to be perceived in the future.
  1. Organisations need to undertake effective research to fully understand their perception and exactly why their service sells.
  1. When developing your communications, think carefully about what your brand stands for. Consider your vision statement – the core vision of your business, and get that vision out to your staff.
  1. Make sure they understand what your brand represents, and the values that are important to bring it to life.
  1. Good communications engage not just your customers but, importantly, your staff too. Articulate clearly and consistently why your organisation does what it does, how it’s different and how it adds value.

Please feel free to share and comment.

For more branding and strategic marketing insights:

Five essentials for great brand communications

Organisational identity – why it’s important and how to achieve it

 Photo sourced from www.iStockphoto.com.