There’s an old folktale that says “Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a Turkey instead of the Bald Eagle", causing many “dad jokes” about how Americans could have been eating Bald Eagles on Thanksgiving. While the tale of Ben Franklin and his turkey is false, the American Bald Eagle is part of the U.S.A. brand.
The brand of the United States has been around since 1776, with the Bald Eagle chosen to be the centerpiece of the seal in 1784. With the same seal, same brand colors, and a slight variation of the flag from 1784, how does a brand maintain its consistency and integrity for centuries? How can a brand grow with the times but remain true to its roots?
A brand’s identity isn’t just the colors, logos, or flags that represent them.
A brand identity for customers is the company’s image and why those customers choose them over the competition. Below are a few great ways of maintaining your company’s brand identity.
Develop a Brand Guide
Developing a branding guide for employees outlines key messages, how to communicate about the brand, and guidelines for visual components like logos, colors, fonts, and imagery. This guide helps employees understand a brand’s voice, making it easy to remain consistent and recognizable.
Know the Audience
Maintaining trust with the target audience is critical to maintaining a brand identity. Products or service offerings should feel consistent with the overall brand identity. Thinking about what the customers who are receiving or using products need rather than what the company thinks they need keeps your brand relevant to the key audience.
Make Customers a Priority
Put the needs of the core customers first – deliver on the promises made to them. Give customers a product that works as advertised and makes them feel excited. Focus on the real benefits of your products/services rather than a get-rich-quick gimmick. Customers will respect the integrity of the brand and will maintain loyalty to the brand.
Honesty goes hand-in-hand with making customers a priority as an honest brand delivers on their promises. Being truthful in advertising and in customer communications shows respect for customers and upholds the brand messaging. If a customer trusts the message, they’ll trust the business.
Values and Ethics
Brands that are in it for the long haul take the high-road and stick to their core values. The values and ethics that reflect the culture of a company go a long way to create an authentic brand image.
The integrity of a brand is the value it has with its stakeholders – taking the time to learn about the customer and making them a priority while honestly upholding high ethical standards will maintain the integrity of the brand for decades to come.
Even as the times change, things like honesty, consistency, and number-one customer service never go out of style.