The branding journey always starts with a problem. Quite often, a business will approach our agency as they believe their website is holding them back and they want to take their business to the next level. Usually, they are looking for a refresh or to update the look and feel. They understand it has something to do with their brand but they can’t articulate exactly what needs to change.
The triggers that sparks action
One company that we worked with recently decided to take action after losing a major and long-standing client of nearly 30 years. The company directors wanted answers into why they lost the client.
Their understanding of why they lost the contract to a competitor was because of weakening client relationships or a few incidents that had occurred or maybe something to do with their brand. After being in business for decades, they also believed poor communication may have been part of the reason.
It wasn’t until their Business Development Manager joined the company and wanted to start talking to new clients about their business and highlight their points of difference that they found they lost the contract for different reasons. With no documentation or brand guidelines helping the manager to market the company to prospective clients, they realised they needed to look at their brand and its future. They asked themselves who they were? What was their direction? What did they stand for and how are they different? Unsure about how they would answer these important questions, they approached Liquid for help.
The key to solving a branding problem
The initial stages of helping the company was to ask the CEO and executive team questions about the business and also gain a different perspective from their employees and clients. Often there is a gap between how a business thinks they’re perceived and how they’re actually perceived.
We understand that it’s difficult to ask these types of direct questions if you work for the company and are invested in the relationship with clients. At Liquid, we can have fair and objective conversations with staff and clients and can balance the needs of everyone involved. Through our discussions, we determined that there was a gap between the company’s perception of the problem and the needs of their client.
The reasons why they lost the contract in the end was not about relationships but more about the company not being innovative. Their client said he used to view the company as the leader in their field, but the opposition had surpassed them over the last five years. The client also pinpointed what areas the company needed to change to be an industry leader again.
The client suggested that the company needed to:
• update and invest in their IT systems
• update their reporting method
• offer more expertise and training to managers
• understand what the industry needs
• demonstrate their vision so clients know the company’s direction
• invest in mechanical equipment and technology
• improve the culture in the filed
• be transparent
Valuable insights to improve your brand
These specific insights along with feedback from staff and other clients helped Liquid to present a clear outline of what clients were looking for in the company and a branding pathway to meet their needs.
As a result of the consultations, the company determined their key objectives were to:
• Have strong proactive relationships
• Be an innovative supplier
• Be good problem solvers
• Be a supplier with good systems
• Deliver on what they say
Understanding what’s important to clients and closing the gap between how you’re actually perceived and how you want to be perceived is key to any branding process. By understanding these needs, we could help the company communicate more effectively to their clients. The more you can find out about what your business is doing well and how you can improve, the more you can closely align yourself with your clients. This amounts to better connections and engagements with existing clients and helps you understand how to attract new clients with the same needs.
The company now understands the power of conversations and communication with their staff, suppliers and clients. By keeping them all happy, companies can retain and attract the right staff and their ideal clients. These insights help articulate why, how and what they do.
How well do you really know your brand
A business can talk about their brand internally on a daily basis but the discussions are usually about what they provide, their internal processes and how they can improve these processes. They often don’t see the brand from their customer’s perspective. Do you know what they think of your brand? What is their understanding of your business and what do you offer them? What is your website and brand really saying to your clients?
Similarly, do your staff members really understand who you are and what you do? How are you helping your staff fulfil the needs of your clients? What is your company really about?
Is there a divergence between how clients talk and feel about your brand compared to how it’s represented on your website? If you’re feeling that your company needs to refresh the logo or website, you may need to start having a deeper conversation about your brand.
Where would you like to be in the future?
Start by understanding where you would like to see your brand in 3 – 5 years. This helps you develop your objectives for the future. From there, it’s easier to work out a pathway to achieve them. To meet those objectives, always start with an understanding of the current brand from a personal perspective – talk to staff, suppliers and clients. It’s a different, but effective way to look at your brand. Focus on how you would like to be perceived and how you’d like to position your brand in the market.
Ask the important questions of your brand:
• Have strong proactive relationships
• Who are your customers?
• What are their needs?
• How are you different from your competitors?
• Who would you like to target?
• Who are your ideal customers?
This conversation is the foundation for your brand. If you have difficulty clearly answering these questions, you have identified the areas that need assistance. This is where a branding consultant or agency like Liquid can help.
Build your brand from the foundations
Once you have a deep understanding of your brand, what it stands for and the needs of your clients, the next stage is to communicate this brand knowledge through different marketing channels. Your new brand will help grow your company with a new customer perception that truly reflects your company.
If your business is thinking about taking your brand to the next level, talk to us and let’s maximise your branding’s potential.