By Daniel O’Mahoney
There are very few companies that can truly describe themselves as unique. We all operate in highly competitive, price-driven markets where differentiation is very difficult to achieve. For many, brand identity is to do with the corporate logo and the development of coordinated materials – web, brochures, exhibition support etc.
Uniformity and consistency in terms of the application of the corporate identity is important as it is the ‘shop front’ that a company showcases to the world. However, a company’s brand is nothing to do with how a company officially presents itself, it is all about its ‘behaviours’ and how these are perceived by those key ‘stakeholders’ it needs to influence – e.g. existing and potential customers, existing and potential staff, supply chain etc.
In essence, it is not you but other people that define your brand.
The advent of the digital age has brought all of this into much sharper focus and created boundless opportunities for companies to provide ammunition which will assist others to draw positive images of it.
The advent of the web, blogs and social media provide companies with the opportunity to project the brand story behind the corporate identity. It allows them to communicate in depth about their culture, the journey the business is on, the challenges (and yes, even the ‘difficult’ challenges) that it has overcome along the way. People are not drawn towards products and services, they connect with people and emotions and this is what the internet now allows. So, the digital age provides a company with the platform to communicate its own unique DNA, to build a personality and to demonstrate those behaviours that customers will come to associate as being special only to that business.
However, this does come with a caution
Stakeholders increasingly wish to identify behaviours that demonstrate openness, authenticity, honesty and trust. They no longer wish to be sold to, they want to sense a connection, an empathy. Those that demonstrate the ‘human’ side of the business will be those that people will remember and keep returning to.
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