Much in the world of advertising has shifted over the years. The way we interact with customers is completely different from 5 years ago – not to mention the paradigm shifts from 40-50 years ago. As advertising professionals, we have to think faster, more creatively and more strategically. We have to get messages across in a shorter time frame because consumers are always on the go. We have more technology at our fingertips than science fiction could have ever imagined. However, through the years, one thing still remains the same – the importance of a brand. As consumers, we are still surrounded (and at times, inundated) by the brands around us. We receive information from and interact with brands on an almost minute by minute basis. We are exposed to brands in the mass marketplace, our company’s brand, our favorite brands that we choose to represent, and even the personal brands of the individuals around us. Everything has a brand and every brand has a purpose.
Today, your company’s brand is the soul of who you are. Your brand dictates everything you do, down to the strategic way you think. Over the course of time, things can shift and what you’re saying and what you’re doing are no longer aligned with who your brand says you are. Whether you find yourself in this situation or are proactively avoiding this situation, it’s time for a brand gut check. It’s time to answer one really important question: Am I who I said I was years ago? Take the next five minutes and introspectively look at your brand.
Challenge yourself to truly look at how you present your brand – Is what you’re saying, what you want to be heard? Is what you’re presenting, how you want to be perceived? Is what you’re thinking, pointing you in the direction you want to go? Is there a consistent and common thread tying what you say, think, feel, and show together? Do your logo and corporate identity and tone match what you want to be seen? Does your tagline still define who you are?
If you can’t answer YES to all of those questions, it’s time to realign your brand to fit who you want to be. Your brand is who you are and if your brand is distorted so is the perception of you. Understand that a well-established brand should not be confused for market presence or brand awareness. You don’t have to be Nike or Apple to have a strong brand. At the end of the day when you are able to establish a strong brand, you have established a strong foundation for success. Although times have changed and will continue to evolve, a brand is still what a brand was – a vital tool that defines that very core of your business.