Think about Coca-Cola. What is the first sensation that comes to your mind? Probably refreshment and a satisfying feeling of having your thirst quenched. The object? A glass bottle took straight out of an icy fridge or a red can that you crack open and dry out in minutes. Where are you? Probably with your friends in the sun having fun! It’s not a coincidence that all these things come to your mind. These are all elements of a brand identity, which exploit the assets of its product! What exactly is it and how to apply it to your company? Read below!
Let’s imagine now that there are three new companies opening in your city. The first one is a law firm employing top class lawyers with impeccable resumes. The second one is a hip restaurant designed in a modern, yet homely way. The last one is a one-person company – the person behind it has some serious experience in his field.
Each of these companies wants to get their name out there and attract as many customers as possible. What strategies should they use? How should they act and what features should they utilise? In this article, I will present you with three imaginary cases and outline their probable asset-based strategy for the creation of a consistent brand image.
FIND YOUR ASSETS AND USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
The law firm is located in a newly constructed skyscraper on one of the top floors. It had been been set up by one of the major players in the law game known for her incredible work on one massive corporate scandal. She not only put it out, but also managed to avoid a multi-billion penalty to be put on her client.
The people behind the restaurant found an abandoned building, bought it for a ridiculously low price and turned it into a cool, hip place. They have vegan and gluten-free options on their menu, craft beers, and chemex and drip coffees. One of the founders makes delicious cheesecake – the restaurant is slowly getting famous for it.
The one-person company is an established professional providing high class services to his clients. His portfolio is filled with recommendations from high profile individuals who previously used his services and expertise.
I’ve introduced the three companies to you. Now I would like to pose a question: how can they develop and grow their brand? How can they utilize their potential to become even more attractive to the customers and, what’s even more important – to stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in business design! In the next couple of paragraphs I will present the assets that all three companies can utilize to achieve success.
Let’s focus on the law firm first. Their obvious asset would be the position and recognition of their founder. She gives the firm instant legitimacy – a sort of a stamp of approval that makes all the firm’s actions trustworthy. It would probably be a good idea to make the founder the face of the company. Her figure would represent professionalism, experience and ability to solve issues that seem impossible to solve (she closed that one massive corporate case after all!). A person such as herself would also be expected to pick only the best to work with her, thus increasing credibility of her firm.
The major asset of the restaurant seems obvious – their location, which reflects their fashionable, bottom-up and DIY approach to business. They renovated an empty building, created jobs and gave something for the community – that’s gentrification 101! They also serve food that is friendly to people with various allergies and preferences, which makes their potential customer base much wider. The restaurant has one more trick up their sleeve – the cheesecake! Paired with a coffee it makes for a great after-work treat. Paired with good promotion practices it is likely to bring more people to the restaurant!
The one-person business is most likely going to find his assets in his experience, portfolio and a network of contacts. He is most likely going to find new customers via online promotion and word of mouth (from his previous customers).
MATCH YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR ASSETS
Identifying assets is surely a step in the right direction, but that alone is not going to bring you a lot of customers. Businesses need to develop a language of communication with their customer base – a language that will suit the character of the particular business, be authentic and unique, and finally, suit the customers themselves!
The law firm, for example, would use sophisticated and formal language to match their professional and mature approach. They might abstain from social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter and focus on Linkedin. Their website will be designed in a way that will reflect their experience and the reputation of their founder – toned colors and a clear message of reliability would be a big plus! A logo of the law firm would also have to express years of expertise and specialisation. It can refer to a milestone in company’s history or to the figure of the founder herself!
The restaurant on the other hand can fully utilize the possibilities of social media. Sharing pictures of food, new pieces of furniture or generally showcasing a day to day life in a restaurant – these are only some of a myriad of possibilities to engage with customer base. A cool restaurant in a renovated space can work out a very personal way to communicate with their followers not only by colorful social media presence. A cat visited your restaurant? Take a photo of it and post it online! Your cook invented a new dish? Invite your social media following to come and try it! Are there any painters, performers, musicians or poets in your city? Why don’t you invite them over to showcase their work in your restaurant (a renovated DIY space would suit such events incredibly)? The possibilities are endless – your imagination is the only limit!
When you’re managing a restaurant such as the exemplary one, it’s okay to curate a quirky, fun and colorful content as opposed to a toned and professional approach of a law firm. Do what suits you and your business!
The approach of a one-person company would have to showcase his prowess and experience in the field. A blog filled with well-written analytic pieces shared on social media as well as a website based on a portfolio and experience would probably be the best approach. It will garner the customer base of professionals looking for professional services. A freelancer may not limit himself to more professional social media channels. He may use all the available resources in order to reach the biggest number of potential customers. However, his social media presence will have to be completely different than the one of the restaurant. A freelancer like himself needs to remain professional. He cannot share pictures of cats, instead he can post his own articles or other articles related to his field. Use of tags and keywords is also crucial as his work is based online!
Summing up, creating a consistent brand as well as your company’s image, requires some attention to be paid to the little details that make your business stand out from the crowd.
There are several steps a company needs to consider in order to make their business consistent. These are:
- To define company’s best assets,
- To define company’s customer base,
- To utilise and design communication channels so that they showcase the character of the company and appeal to the appropriate customer base.