Think of some of the most iconic brands in business right now – Google, Netflix, and Facebook. You can visualize the colors, logos, and services they provide within a matter of minutes; You probably use at least one, if not all three, of these services yourself.
But these brands also deliver a high-quality product with consistent messaging that keep their names in their consumers’ minds. That’s the power of brand integrity at work.
As a brand manager, you are the architect behind the cultivation and management of your brand’s identity. It’s paramount to maintain a consistent, positive image of your brand – it’s services, core values, and philosophy – while telling your story in a unique and authentic matter to stand out from your competitors.
Staying True to Your Customers – And Yourself
Brand integrity can be a foundational piece of a business that’s difficult to manage, but even harder to cultivate. Before your business can ensure trust from your following, you need to have brand integrity established with your following.
This involves understanding the ins-and-outs of your brand and finding what makes your business unique from the competition. Your brand integrity will then involve the creative means of following through with your value propositions and philosophy to convey your story with your followers.
Adapt to Survive
Social media has seen tremendous strides in the past few years as a facilitator for conversation, news aggregator, and e-commerce solution. It is viewed as the ultimate equalizer, empowering brands to tell their story at a fraction of the cost seen in traditional marketing efforts.
It’s never been more vital to leverage social and digital media to bring the eyes of your next customers to your brand. But as we continue to traverse a digital-first environment to market to our next consumers, have a digital presence – or lack thereof – can be a difference-marker from whether your brand thrives or fails.
Previously, the lack of a social presence has already killed off brands like Sears and Toys-R-Us; If your brand isn’t operating on social media, you can be sure that your competition is already taking advantage of its impact on business. Don’t get caught slipping.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
For as many months or years it may take to develop your brand’s image, a few mistakes can ruin its image in the blink of an eye.
For instance, Coca-Cola took one of the biggest risks in its history in April 1985 when the company announced “New Coke,” the first departure from its original formula in 99 years. The shift, first announced as a marketing effort to re-energize the Coke brand, led to a swift marketing firestorm – only 13% of soda drinkers liked the new formula.
In attempting to re-energize its brand, Coca-Cola committed a cardinal rule in switching a long-lasting formula with proven success in the soft drink industry. Nearly three months of criticism later, the company returned to its original formula – “Classic Coke” – that we’re all familiar with.
Brand beware: even the most subtle of changes thought to improve your image can have a devastating impact on your brand’s integrity and reputation.
Your Brand’s Integrity Should Take Precedence
At the end of the day, you’ll want to leave a positive lasting impression on your customers. But remember that branding is a marathon, not a sprint.
By investing in honesty, staying current with how your brand is conveying its message on social, and taking careful steps to be true with your brand, you can ensure your brand is at the top of your followers’ minds.