Understand Your Brand is the book (to be published in 2016) that captures my process of how I help clients with brand development and brand expression.
Marketing is the business of sharing ideas. It is the business of influencing thoughts and behaviours. Marketing is a narrative, an act of storytelling, and it benefits companies, churches, nonprofit organizations, political parties, and individuals. If you have an idea to share, then you are a marketer.
Understanding your brand is fundamental to successful growth. The book is grounded in the premise that a “brand” represents the sum total of all ideas and impressions that an individual has about a person, a product, a company, or an organization. Your brand already exists in everything that it has built prior to this moment. Overall impressions of a brand can be shifted by changes in packaging, graphic design, staff changes, physical relocation, and customer service – everything touches and influences outside perceptions. Everything is relevant, but at this moment, understanding your brand as it currently exists will secure its foundation for future development.
Your brand is the platform that all marketing builds upon. You have to understand your brand as it currently exists before you can market it effectively - no other marketing concepts matter if you don’t fully grasp your core brand assets, and use that knowledge to your benefit. Advertising, internal communications, public relations, digital marketing, content marketing, permission marketing - they will all be better when you are fundamentally clear about your brand and the components that define it.
Your brand is so much more than just a logo – every conceivable asset you have contributes to it. Your brand communicates expectations and trust. It establishes fundamental, foundational connections that will determine interest, choices, and engagement.
Branding is the art, science and craft of understanding your brand impressions, and leveraging them to your benefit. Branding is the foundation of effective communications, and "Understand Your Brand" strives to help you understand the core elements of your brand so that you can accurately define and clearly communicate your brand identity. There may be thousands of elements that you can speak to about your company, your organization, or yourself, but progress is about choices - it is about eliminating other options to reveal your best and most fundamental truths through an informed, measured process.
Understanding your brand as the sum of your assets, and its value as your primary asset is critical to achieving success and growth in whatever it is you do. Whether you are championing a product, a company, a community benefit organization, or yourself, you need to understand what your brand represents, so you can effectively represent your brand.
People process information by putting ideas into language. Ideas must be shared before they can move into action. Words matter.
Writing is our core in-house competency. We have years of experience with technical and business writing, and members of our extended team are published writers of fiction, literary non-fiction, and recorded music.
Excellent written content is required for internal communications, human resources, sales collateral, customer service, advertising scripts, and investor/stakeholder relations. We write content that is concise, compelling and interesting as possible, but fully congruent with your brand assets. We help you to understand your brand to ensure authenticity, and we align this authentity with your marketing communications. We then help you to share that understanding. Your communications tools should look great (and they will), but your written and spoken content must be great first.
Rob McLean (Principal at Kazolu) teaches marketing and business communication at the University of Guelph. He has published various documents about branding & marketing, and he has literally written the book on brand asset analysis: "Understand Your Brand" is launching in 2018. The book is a guide to clear, consise, consistent communication. It demonstrates how to audit the assets, attributes and equity that support every brand, regardless of its size or scope. Understanding the impressions and expectations that people have about a brand will set the foundation for all future brand-building effrorts. It is a fundamental, often-overlooked step, and "Understand Your Brand" tells the story of how it can be done, no matter what your goals are.