Your brand is more than just a logo. Your brand is the meaning your organization holds for your audiences, and your place in the landscape of other organizations that are doing the same or similar work. Maintaining your uniqueness in your landscape of peers requires constant curation, communication, and contextualization.
When we are engaged by an organization to do brand work, we’re effectively trying to find out what makes it special. This process requires an organization to take a good hard look at itself in the mirror and what it finds out isn’t always something that it wants to hear. Communicating uniqueness sometimes involves confronting the hard truth that where you are, the space you occupy in the minds of others, isn’t where you want to be. This is because sometimes organizations get off track, lose their way, and forget who they are.
Here are a couple of things that you can do to improve your brand story in your communications starting tomorrow.
Figure out who you were, where you are, and where you want to be. To be clear this isn’t just three things; it’s one thing. Going forward requires going back and setting out on a voyage of rediscovery for your brand. How did it all begin? What was the message then? Where are you now and what has led you to this place? Get it all out and write it all down. Who are your peers? Where are they now? Do they hold a unique position in the minds of your shared audiences? Is there something they aren’t doing that you are? Use it as raw materials to chart a path for your brand.
Document your plans and stay on message. Don’t get spun around by racing to react to or be a part of everything that happens. Playing the long game involves following the course you have charted and being true to your brand; even in the light of a seemingly endless series of news cycles, tectonic shifts in the industry, or being a part of current memes, trends, and fads.
As a communication professional at an organization, the brand work you do every day is cumulative and is compounded over time. The net impact of long term messaging means that you might not be around to see it come to fruition. Brand strategy can take years or decades to show real impact. So when thinking about measuring the results of a campaign or communications, you need to be equally concerned with the results you’re seeing as well as laying the groundwork for any successors to chart the results over time. Stay the course and build a brand that lasts.