The red polo with your company logo looks great, and so do the business cards, but your sales manager (with the polo on) was drunk at the ballgame. The address on the building is missing a number, and the front door creaks. The receptionist in the foyer has a frown on her face most days and keeps customers on hold forever.
These conditions are all a part of your brand. Your brand is the soul of your business and incorporates every component of your internal and external messaging. Yes, your brand is just that deep! The good news is that you have the power to change these conditions to reinforce the quality and trust that your company stands for.
To test your brand depth, conduct a brand audit. Ask a trusted, impartial colleague to search for voids or deficiencies in your brand based upon your mission and values. Some of the benchmarks might be:
External image consistency: Does everything (stationery, business cards, advertising, etc.) with your logo look the same, down to the color and font? Do you take pride in the external and internal conditions of your workplace? Do your key employees conduct themselves professionally when they are at public events? What about social media? Are the messages accurate, consistent and aimed at the target customer? Have you selected a set of keywords to describe your product or service?
Corporate knowledge: Do all of your employees know the history, mission and goals of the company? Could they stand in for you at an external meeting? Do you have regular staff meetings to keep them current on company matters?
Community alliances: Does your company support a community cause that lets the public know that your business goals transcend net profit after tax? Is it obvious that you and your employees care about others? Do you have an advisory board or an influential mentor?
Media emergency plan: If a serious communication problem occurs, would your employees know how to handle it? Who is the spokesperson if a TV reporter knocks at your door? One credible voice is the only way to treat an emergency. What happens if your information system is hacked or breached?
Brand reinforcement: What happens regularly to reinforce the brand? Staff meetings, company outings and retreats can help to build pride in the brand and loyalty from the staff.
Customer connection: Does your brand align with the values and goals of your customers and, if so, how and when?
A Christmas card from the dollar store with a stamped signature is shallow and crude if that is all you do. Your brand is the personality and character of your business, so investing the time to measure its depth is necessary for sustainability.
So again, I ask, how deep is your brand?
Iris Cooper owns JustAskIris, an entrepreneurial coaching firm, and she founded Glory Foods, a multi-million dollar food marketing company. Contact Iris at email@example.com.