Your brand is the experience that customers have with your company across all touch-points, e.g. entering the store, visiting the website or the buying experience itself. The brand is composed of the signals that you send to your customers and how the customers interpret these signals. This creates a brand from two aspects:
- The perception you have of your company and the measures you take to convey it
- The perception that your target audience has of your company
If these two don’t match, your branding is misaligned. The consequences for your business can be vital— decreased revenue, damage to your reputation, or customers you don’t want to work with.
How is branding misaligned?
A few reasons lead to imperfect communication between your business and your customers:
- You haven’t built your brand on a solid strategic foundation. You don’t know which attributes and values your brand should be known for. You may not even know which customers to attract and how to approach them. Therefore your branding is inconsistent.
- Your customers and your business are developing in different directions. It is not uncommon for your company to get to this point. This is a sign that your company is growing and that you should align your branding.
- You didn’t communicate clearly with your team how your brand should be communicated to the outside world.
These four signs indicate that your brand is misaligned:
- Your customers are confused. Your marketing material does not convey clearly and consistently who your company is and why it’s unique. As a result, customers turn to your competition.
- All team members describe your brand differently. If your brand is unclear to your team, they cannot carry the message out into the world.
- Your company cannot differentiate itself. Every company is unique, but it takes effort and courage to define your niche and communicate it clearly.
- You have difficulty attracting talent that fits your corporate culture. This is a strong indicator that you haven’t defined values for your brand or that you haven’t communicated them clearly.
Get your branding back on track
Misaligned branding can be fixed. First, you should create a solid foundation for all your brand’s actions to build on. Determine the direction for your company to go forward (vision, values, target audience, unique offer). Examine the needs of your target audience and your competition’s offer. This analysis will help you to determine your unique position in the market and to define attributes your brand will be known for. Try to involve your team in all steps. If you feel overwhelmed, a brand strategist has the right toolset to guide you through this process.
Once you’ve set the strategy, it’s time to bring the brand to life. Everything from your website copy to the visual identity should represent the personality of your brand. Ideally, customers can recognise the brand they are in contact with from text, image or action alone.
As I said earlier: You need to align your customer’s perception with how you want the business to be perceived. You do this when you speak in a consistent voice across all of your brand’s touch-points. This makes your business relatable and makes people fall in love with your brand.
Do you need help building your brand from the ground up? Just get in touch to have a conversation.