Coincidentally, I’ve worked on a number of corporate branding projects recently that threw up a similar problem. Although the brand statements and guidelines were developed with intelligence and insight, their implementation was haphazard at best.
Put bluntly, the disconnect between the two is a disaster. Why spend so much time and resources on re-branding if the communications just plod on regardless? Your audience or customers get two different messages. Their expectations are heightened by the brand’s mission statement, but disappointed when trying to actually deal with the company.
Branding is more than a lick of paint
Never forget that the brand perception is what people say of you when you leave the room (or when they visit your website). New graphic charters are important, but they won’t help if the basic communications are wrong.
Simple real-life examples:
- the mission statement talks about cooperation and working together, yet the images on the website or advertising are of single people or – worse – generic images;
- the brand mission talks about innovation, but the site looks like it was built in 1995;
- the brand mission talks about innovation, and the site also talks about innovation. But what does innovation mean? What are the examples? It’s a classic case of “show don’t tell”. Why not inspire your visitors? Make the clients and talented young engineers rush to call you. Ask them for ideas. Copywriting can lay a big role in this – as can interactive applications;
- the mission statement talks about working together, but a genuine contact is hard to find. Don’t overlook these elements, and also the career pages.
Branding is not a lick of paint. It’s something which has to be incorporated at every level of a company. The mission statement, production, communication and HR policies all have to be aligned. Don’t forget to develop an activation plan that covers everything from the copywriting to the signage and service.
Can you think of companies where the alignment works? My clients often mention Apple; what do you think?