Branding is an expression of the purpose and values that shape a business, not only through what is said, but how it is said.  It is a distinct identity, ethos and visual language that can differentiate from the competition, if done well and applied consistently.  Good branding is far more than just a logo; it is the creation and management of all the experiences people have with you and your business at every point.

Ultimately a brand is a promise to perform.  Essential to successful brand management is remembering that your brand’s reputation exists purely in the mind of the customer.  Successful brands will have a high recognition among customers who find what is on offer to have appeal and credibility.  However, if customers see that the brand does not live up to its promise to perform, and no longer believes in its authenticity and reliability to deliver, it will fail.  Managing your brand is therefore vital to business and personal success.

Here are eight tips to help create and maintain a stand-out brand:

  1. Train your people to live the brand.  Explain what behaviour is required and why.  Communicate successes and review things that go wrong to learn the lessons.  Reward the actions that you want to see consistently exhibited by your people.
  2. Behave the way you say you do in your communication.  Brand reputation can be damaged or enhances the reality of the service experienced by the client.
  3. Always remember that in a service business your people are your brand. Treat them well.
  4. Be consistent.  Successful brands deliver consistently what the marketing promises it will do.
  5. Listen to clients by putting service right in the heart of the brand.  Encourage your people to pass on feedback – good or bad – then deal with it in a timely fashion.
  6. Organise your operations around the brand.  Everyone has a part of play in delivering the experience of the service brand.
  7. Every detail matters because the detail is what people live by and notice.  You can’t eat, drink or sit on vision and value statements.
  8. Lead by example from the top. Think Richard Branson of Virgin or Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook.

Consistently put these actions at the heart of your business and your brand stands every chance to succeed.