How to sustain that brand identity of yours?

Coming up with a brand identity is one ball game and sustaining over the years is completely a different battleground for most brands. To maintain the identity while being in touch with the users requires frequent communication through emails, advertisements, social media activities, billboards and other Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) tools. Marketing frequently puts organizations at the risk of overdoing it, which could lead to misinterpretation at times. We have seen brands going wrong with their positioning numerous times as they jump in at every social media trend. 

We will discuss some ways to keep the brand identity in good shape even after years of brand establishment.

Staying connected

You don’t want your users to forget your presence even if there is no business happening. Numerous brands go out of their way to remind people of the previous engagement and future prospects when there is nothing happening at present. When the world was under rigid lockdowns and we stopped moving then also brands kept the communication going. Brands like Myntra were seen sending the newsletters giving positive vibes even when there was no scope of buying and delivering the products. As a result, the wish list kept getting bigger and when the markets reopened people ordered their favourite products.

Source: Times of India

New experience

Sometimes, it becomes crucial to stand out and create a buzz around the initiatives you take as a brand. Doing this helps in maintaining that brand image, which was developed by the brand managers. Microsoft has come up with a new Taj Mahal based office in Noida that corresponds to the heritage of India and creates a talking point for every person. Taking initiatives like these helps strike a chord with the local audience and creates human connection going a long way.

Logo placement and hygiene

A brand serious about its brand guideline and image will never let anyone use its logo, inappropriately. Even the slightest of tilt, which is not in correspondence with the brand guideline is not acceptable if you look at the big picture in terms of brand identity. The most important brand asset for any organization is its logo, and its usability on numerous occasions is always mentioned in the brand guideline. Logo options like square, round, rectangular, night mode one, logo to be used with other brands etc. are mentioned along with the dimension range, colour pallets, fonts, typography and several other instructions. A company must make a strict policy against inappropriate brand asset usage to minimize the chances of moving away from the established brand identity.

Brand coherence

To achieve the milestone of successful brand coherence, organizations need to make sure that every component of the brand including products, services, communication, appearances, CSR, should fit together and come out as a distinct, single unit carrying brand identity at large. Taking an example, if you look at the strategy of ‘Volvo’ you will see that every aspect they portray is related to safety and security. Due to the same reasons, Volvo is even joked as the brand of elderly because it’s so safe while driving, and youth prefer aesthetics over safety in most cases. This brand coherence never hurts Volvo as they are targeting a specific segment, satisfied with their offerings.

The target audience

You will be making that innocent yet sizeable mistake if you start branding for every target group in the market. Every brand, irrespective of its size, goes for set target audiences that correspond to its product or service. In the same way, branding is also targeted at every instance irrespective of any other variables. To bring in more perspective, take an example of ‘Royal Enfield’ and its outreach programs that are always targeted towards their target audience of bikers, who love adventure sport and activities related to bravery, and athleticism. The below tweet validates our statement; Royal Enfield was promoting its product ‘Interceptor650’ when the post was shared by a user. You may see the person with a surfboard along with Royal Enfield, which corresponds to their positioning of fearless lifestyle. Every other post will also offer you a similar perspective.  

Source: Twitter

Standing with a cause

Every company has some values and beliefs that are the driving force of their organization. On similar lines, brands must be seen taking a step forward for the real causes that are crucial for the public. If brands start speaking up for the cause, a lot changes in the perception of the administration as well as the public. Like many other brands, Netflix spoke out for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ initiative with a black background in an Instagram post. Not only that they have made numerous contributions to the cause like, co-founders of Netflix donated $120 million to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).

Source: Instagram

Social media interaction

Social media is the most efficient and dangerous way of positioning yourself for building the desired brand identity as it doesn’t require much budget nor a team of many human resources(mostly). At the same time, it leaves a tremendous amount of space for misinterpretation and weak communication. Many brands have failed at times, the founder of Dolce and Gabanna posted a photo of sneakers that had the text “I’m thin & gorgeous” and was not taken well by the Internet users. He was seen as body shaming, tarnishing their brand image back then. We should learn from brands and only communicate after checking for several interpretations.

Source: Teen Vogue / Instagram

Following a consistent tone

Every single communication medium, be it a presentation, comment on social media, tv commercial or a public appearance, has a tone of your brand. This tone is to be embraced with utmost care so that it is consistent every time. Your brand must be having some values, approaches and opinions about the world, the same must be reflected in every single statement being made. Successful brands can maintain consistency from top to bottom in their communication, even the sales executives follow the guidelines if they are laid out for the employees. Here is the example of Coca Cola and their approach of using the brand colour ‘red’ everywhere possible that gels perfectly with their brand identity.

 

 

Robust approval process

Amongst every step to be taken strategically to position a brand, the approval mechanism stands out due to its critical impact on the outcome. The company may execute a perfect guideline, but implementation is in the hands of several employees being human and subject to honest mistakes. To minimize these instances, there must be a resolute approval process in place so that every single bit gets checked numerous times before getting out in the public. We have seen ‘Samsung’ tweeting from ‘iPhone’ and several instances like these, which could have been avoided if a strong process was followed. Though this could impact the timelines, the brand must make sure that only the responsible people are the stakeholders for maintaining the accountability and quick turnaround related to brand communication.

Customer service

For an organization, this goes without saying that customers are the most integral part. Every activity is centred to attract more customers and retain the existing ones. Often brands forget to service the customers effectively by neglecting a complaint or failing to resolve their issues. When that customer starts tweeting, brands come in action and come up with a solution straight away. It would be better on the part of brands if they resolve the issues before customers start to criticize them on social media.

Conclusion

At the start, every brand looks to ace the game of branding and maintain consistent brand identity, but with time, they lose track and deviate from the original positioning. There could be several reasons, but sustainable communication strategy lacks in most cases. Often, companies aim for the highest peak and end up as the brand with no identity of their own because sustaining the same brand language over the years demands constant and novel efforts. The brand should take a reality check at regular intervals and aim for the achievable positioning to grow consistent with their brand language.

Role of Presentations in Start-up Journey

It is easy to dream big, have aspirations. But to live that dream requires a lot of effort. As it has been rightly said by Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, “Dream is not that you see in sleep, dream is something that does not let you sleep.

Similarly, the creation of a start-up is all about giving shapes to somebody’s dreams which resides in the mind of an entrepreneur and flourishes. But it becomes a reality only when he works on it. This job cannot be done by one person. When that one person is able to share his thoughts with others and plant the same seed of the dream into their minds, the vision is shared. They all work together towards improvising the idea and starts building on them. This whole process is not a single day job. Sometimes it takes few months and sometimes few years. The basic hurdle for creating a start-up is to stay focused and building on the dream which requires lot of determination. And once all these work out in favour, well we all know the stories about the journey of Google, Apple or Flipkart.

So where is the need for presentation in this whole journey? – one might wonder.

Well the answer is, it is required in each and every step one can think of. Here’s a quick list of the phases that an entrepreneur goes through in the initial phases which cannot be done away with, without proper presentations in today’s world.

Business Idea Deck

The first and foremost need of an entrepreneur is not only having an idea to work on but also to filter and process the idea till it becomes attractive enough. So in the initial days, an entrepreneur is required to prepare a presentation which consists of the important details of his business plan. The idea deck should be attractive enough to bring in more stakeholders which include co-founders, investors, employees and customers. If you are going to make a business idea deck, remember people like to hear stories. So build your presentation such that it tells the story of the journey a successful organization, only then your vision will become a shared dream of many. It is not easy but not impossible either!

Investor’s Pitch

Once you have the details of your story, make it more realistic by adding on more data. Investor’s will only give you money once they see potential returns in future. So the next task of an entrepreneur is to build on investor’s pitch deck. Majority of entrepreneurs create using PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote to give a quick overview. The investor’s pitch must include the following:

  1. Introduction: Prepare a small introduction about your whole idea and introduce your team members and their role.

  2. Area of interest: Tell the investors what problem you are going to solve and how. This point is extremely important. Unless investors see a good amount of value proposition in your plan, they are unlikely to pump in money in your business.

  3. Product: Introduce your product or service. Tell them how your product is having an edge over others (if any) and in case it is a new product how it is going to solve the targeted problem.

  4. Traction and target market: Traction is having a measurable set of customers to show the potential of the product or service being offered. For this you should know the approximate size of your target market in order to prove the future sustainability of the product.

  5. Competition: What are the alternative solutions for the problem mentioned and what is the risk associated with the competition in the market. This makes your business proposal look more realistic once you know the associated risks and have a plan B.

  6. Business model: This is the most important part of the entire presentation. You must have a schedule for your business model showing the required budget for your plan as well as a revenue schedule to give a brief idea of when it will reach the break-even stage.

All this should be included in the presentation that you are preparing to sell your idea.

Market Research

This might be done before investor’s pitch or after it. A product or service is only successful when it has the customers. So you need to conduct a market research to know your target customer segment to know the demand for your product or service. This will require you to have a test market survey. Once you acquire the data, the interpretation is required. All information about market research should be presented in a precise form.

Product Catalogue

Next step is to describe your product or service. As mentioned earlier, it should be very clear in the presentation, how your product is going to solve the problem of a consumer. All other necessary details and attributes regarding your product should be included as well.

Sales and Client Deck

Sales deck is inclusive of the selling strategies and unique selling proposition for your product or service to be presented before your prospective clients. There is no standardized sales deck. It has to be customized according to the needs and expectations of customers. The tips here would be: highlight the attributes of your product/service/company but keep it sweet and simple.

Staff Trainings

In order to successfully market your brand, internal marketing should be done first i.e. train your employees. It is essential to train and motivate your employees enough so that they work towards the success of the organization. Without motivated workforce it is impossible to climb up the ladder in corporate world. In order to conduct effective staff trainings, role of explanatory presentations is vital as people are more visually influenced.

Corporate Presentations

Last but not the least, corporate presentations! Needless to say the importance of this one in the journey of a start-up. The survival of a start-up company depends upon the professionalism and competitiveness which is reflected in their corporate presentations, whether it is for a seminar, client, venture capitalist or another corporate. Corporate presentations are needed throughout the lifecycle of a business.

So in general tips for successful corporate presentation for a start-up would be

  • To keep a consistent look in the presentation to maintain professionalism

  • Get a hold of the key metrics before you give your presentation. Without valid data to support your idea, no presentation is going to work

  • Limit the number of slides. Remember, time is the most precious element in the busy world of corporate

  • Finally, never go unprepared

A company may cease to be a start-up as it reaches various milestones, but the need for presentation which is born with the idea of the business itself, never ceases to exist.

Concept by: Aayush Jain

Written by: Sudeshna Roy