Thursday, March 5, 2015

5 Questions to Ask About Your Brand

Where should your organization start when it comes to your social media strategy? A strategy? Channel recognition? Best Practices? Content Calendars?

Before you come up with a social media strategy, a content calendar or corporate best practices, you have be confident with your brand identity. Your brand is more than just your name, logo and product line. Your brand is the mission, vision, story, purpose and personality of your entire organization. It's how your organization operates, communicates and even feels to its employees and clients (and it includes your employees and clients too!). Even though organizations in the same/similar field might have similar missions, visions and values their unique story and unique people give them a unique brand (even for churches!). 

Social Media is a relevant and dynamic way to establish and share your brand with the world. Your organization's strategy, content and policies should match your brand identity and flow out of it.

Here are 5 quick questions you can ask about your brand to help you get started:

1. What is our organization's story? This question helps explore the history of your organization. By answering this question you can consider reason your organization started, the problem that the organization was created to fix and the people who made this possible. Organizational stories regularly include a long journey from idea to reality and are similar to individual life stories of struggles, dreams, suffering, achievement and hope. Tell your organization's story!

2. What is the purpose of your brand? Beyond the story of your organization, the answer to this question gives the reason for your continued existence. This is what your employees and customers will become passionate about. This is the driving force for your day-to-day activity and should be able to be articulated in just a sentence or two. Your company's purpose is often articulated in your mission statement (does anyone in your organization know your mission statement?).

3. What does your organization feel like? Answering this question will give you words that evoke emotion and connect to the realities of life. Think through what a stranger would feel if she or he would walk through your building and meet your people. What is the experience of your customer? What happens to people who use your product? Excited? Innovative? Special? If the answer to this question is negative, then it should give you the feedback you need to change your organizational culture.

4. Where is your organization going? This is often articulated in a vision statement. Unfortunately, too many organizations have strong vision statements that very few employees actually know. The vision statement, together with your purpose, must propel you forward to achieve new things. This vision also helps establish strategic goals and your target market.

5. What is your brand's personality? A more technical term for this might be brand perception. How do your consumer perceive your organization? Are you the laid back, "cool" business or the professional, straight-laced group? A lot of people have a hard time thinking an organization has a personality. However, if your company is going to interact with people on social media, it better have a persona that connects with your customers. How you interact with your constituents will establish your brand perception.

Once you've answered these 5 questions, you will have a great concept of your brand identity. In reality, you've also already identified mission, vision, values, target audiences, and strategic goals. From here you can start developing your social media strategy, content and best practices that match your brand identity. In doing so, you'll be much more successful at creating brand recognition and loyalty. 

Need help getting started or have some thoughts on the subject? Holla at me.

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