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Your brand is the foundation of your business. Whether you're launching a startup or already have a successful business, brand alignment matters. When everyone on the team knows what the brand stands for and who they're talking to, you can build trust and authority in your market.
Branding is all about consistency. While you may need to pivot from time to time and rebrand, a cohesive story creates credibility and loyalty. Before we dive into what is brand alignment, why it matters, the consequences of misalignment, and how to get back on track, let's focus on understanding the core of your business - your why.
Visuals help build trust with your target customer, but branding is more than just a logo, fonts, photos, and colors. Branding is about defining your values, mission statement, and the reason why you're in business. By establishing brand guidelines, you're creating your brand story and brand personality. A brand style guide will help you and your team decide what content, images, and graphics to share to connect with your audience.
Loyalty translates into sales. That's why first impressions and consistency matter. Brand alignment is about getting all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. It's about making sure everyone on the team understands how to communicate with your audience and deliver a consistent message throughout all avenues, including social media, content, and the overall customer experience.
When customers interact with your brand, it's important that they get what they came here for. Are you delivering the brand promise? Do your clients and employees understand your purpose and why your brand exists?
The Disconnect - When Brand Values and Culture Fail to Align
If you're saying one thing, but your team is answering emails in a completely different tone, you might be sending mixed messages to your ideal clients. Remember those brand guidelines we talked about earlier? Use them to keep everyone on the same page.
To get your brand back on track, you might have to go back to square one. Review your brand style guide and have conversations about your brand's purpose with the team. There is no better time than right now to get started.
Create a Brand Style Guide and Brand Book
Once you decide what your logo, fonts, colors, and tone will be, it's a good idea to keep all that info in one place. A Style Guide helps the people inside and outside of your organization use brand assets correctly and consistently. Not sure how to create your own brand style guide? Download our free Lytho guide example to help you get started
A Brand Book, on the other hand, helps people grasp the essentials of what a company means and stands for. It is an inspirational document that tells the story of your brand in a compelling way. It’s not only a motivational tool for employees, it’s also a way to implement, guard and manage your brand from the inside out. Whereas a Style Guide gives guidelines on what the brand’s visual look should be, a Brand Book communicates what your brand’s vision, mission and story is so that all interactions align with the company values.
Start with the team
Once you are clear on your purpose and your brand's visual guidelines, connect with the team to make sure they have a clear understanding of your brand and what you can deliver to your clients. This is where the Brand Book will come in handy. This way, you can delegate tasks with confidence, knowing that your team is equipped with the right tools to keep your branding consistent.
Talk to your audience about their experiences
When was the last time you asked for a testimonial or checked in with a past client to get feedback? If you're noticing that customers are turning elsewhere to get the help they need, find a way to get to the root of the problem. Establish processes that automate requests for feedback so you know what's working and what you can improve. Keep your customers happy, and they won't be able to stop raving about you!
Schedule time to take a look at your brand alignment every few months to ensure your business is on the right track. These checkups help you and your team evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. Keeping your brand aligned means making sure your business is performing the way you envisioned. If your content, graphics, and messaging aren't consistent with the brand style guide, use this time to figure out what's the next best step. A brand audit is a great way to figure out how to move forward.
Brand alignment is making sure you are delivering on your promise while staying consistent with your mission. A brand can be many things, but it should never be inconsistent. To achieve brand authenticity, listen to your target audience's needs, stay true to your core values, and don't be afraid to evolve or pivot in a transparent way when you need to.
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