Conversations, communications, and actions all contribute to how your brand is perceived. Recognizing this is key to managing your brand and maximizing its potential. Here’s a closer look at 5 ways to protect your brand image.
1. Tell an authentic brand story.
Think about your longest-standing friend. The only thing you probably know better than your friend is the stories he or she tells. That’s because people tend to tell the same stories about themselves over and over again. They’re not trying to bore you, rather they’re trying to make a point about who they are and what they stand for.
In other words, they feel the stories characterize them well. Brands are no different. The stories that are told about brands tend to say a lot about their character, what they stand for and why they’re special.
Brand stories are valuable because they package and portray brand personality and meaning unlike anything else. And people love stories, so keep telling them.
2. If you want customers to like your brand, employees must like it first.
Brands are brought to life by everyone in the organization, but perhaps most notably is how they’re brought to life by business owners and employees in key leadership positions.
Think of your personal interactions to date; if someone tells you a negative story about the company they work for, does that impact how you feel about that brand?
Employees can be your biggest brand advocates or critics. If employees are to champion a brand, they must have a favorable image of the brand and feel a strong connection to it.
If employees champion your brand inside and outside the office, external parties (your customers, partners, or vendors) are more likely to have a positive impression of the brand.
3. Consistently uphold brand values.
Companies are often quick to tout core brand values such as integrity, respect, and innovation to gain favor and confidence with customers, but to be credible, brands must live these same values when it comes to interacting with employees.
Internal interactions and actions influence how employees feel about your brand. If a brand claims to be honest but fails to be transparent with employees, its brand promise falls short. If a brand claims to be innovative but fails to update its hiring practices, its brand promise falls short.
The importance of this should go without saying because you rely on your employees to accurately represent your brand to customers on a daily basis. Wisely branded organizations begin with their core values in mind to determine how they treat and recognize their employees. It’s yet another way to promote a positive brand image in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
4. Every interaction matters.
Brand messaging is easy to control in marketing content and sales collateral. But what does your team say about your brand when they’re off script? Casual conversations between employees and others no doubt impact your brand.
The reality of this can be daunting because a brand can’t control what is said about it, but the truth is brands can make a concerted effort to guide what is said. The best way to do so is by making sure your audience and employees both know, like, and trust your brand.
5. Watch the company you keep.
At some point during your childhood someone likely pointed out a simple truth – the company you keep reflects on you. The same is true for your brand which is why it’s critical to align with partners, vendors and third parties that hold their brand to as high of a standard as you hold yours.
You can make sure this is the case by creating brand standards or guidelines to which you hold third parties accountable. This ensures that your brand is not only well represented by your company, but also by the company you keep.
How do you protect your brand image? Any other tips to add to this list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.