There is more to branding than just the look of your material. Branding is also the experience that your customer has with your business. Even this must be consistent, recognizable and memorable too.
Peter Sickles, from AlphaSearch, added some thoughts on Google+ regarding my blog post yesterday. He said the following… ” The biggest mistake people and companies make about branding is they think it’s all about image… logo, colour scheme… blah, blah, blah. But, the simplest way to look at what “brand” is, is that it is who and what you are, and how you conduct business. This is where most companies FAIL the branding exercise.”
I agree with Peter on this one. Branding is more than graphics and look. The graphics and look need to be consistent, recognizable and memorable across all your customer touch points; but branding is so much more than that. Branding is how your customer experiences your service or your product.
When I think of experience, I think of Zappos.com. Part of the branding for Zappos.com is how they treat their customers. Customers are wowed by the ease on online shoe buying. And when there is a problem, Zappos.com is noted for their awesome return process. So when I think of an easy online shoe buying, I think of Zappos.com.
Part of your branding could be your paper cup and lid at your restaurant. From my personal experience, McDonalds makes an excellent cup of coffee. I have never in all my time had a bad cup of coffee. But I have had many problems with their coffee cup lid. That lid has leaked on me and my pants so many times.
Yet the people at McDonalds are usually pleasant and friendly. Part of the McDonalds brand is a friendly greeting and a great cup of coffee. Maybe they will take the experience for me to a higher level by fixing their coffee cup lid.
McDonalds is a good example of branding with logos, colors, restaurant look and experience. Their brand is more than an online web site. Their brand is more than similarly colored buildings with a giant Golden Arch. Their branding includes a consistent, recognizable and memorable customer experience for me as well.
So if you only think of branding as logos, schemes and colors; you are not seeing the big picture. The logos, schemes and colors are important. But they should only be one part of your brand. As you set up your brand, remember that your customer is the one who will be affected by your brand. Your job is to make it a great experience.
So what do you think of your experiences with other brands? Were they consistent? Were they easily recognizable in your mind? Were they memorable?