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How to communicate your brand’s integrity

Do you understand your company’s brand? Do you know how to consistently communicate it?

Or perhaps your branding guide is gathering dust on a shelf or buried deep in your intranet?

I have a treat for you today as I’ve got news of a new book Let’s Get Visible! Get Brand Clarity, Stand Out in your Industry and Supercharge your Business Growth, by Sapna Pieroux, which is out now.

I’m thrilled to tell you that All Things IC’s readers can grab the Kindle edition today (23 January 2020) for the launch price of just 99p!

No Kindle? No problem, you can download the app for free to your smart device. Get your copy.

Sapna’s 25-year career has spanned design, marketing, advertising and media sales, I invited her to write for my blog to share what IC practitioners can learn from her book, which has already been shortlisted in the Business Book Awards 2020.

It’s hot off the press and provides a framework so you can analyse what’s working and what’s not. You’ll know the questions to ask and how to make informed decisions and communicate your brand’s integrity.

Regular readers of my blog will know this mindset is critical for IC practitioners. We often talk about integrity in terms of the MacLeod Report and not having a do/say gap between what our organisations do and what they say. I highlighted this during my talk at the recent PRWeek Strategic Internal Communications Conference in London.

Only this week I was talking about branding as part of my How to be a Comms Consultant – Momentum Masterclass. It’s a constant conversation for Internal Communication practitioners and Comms Consultants. This book will provide you with some clarity so you can formulate your thinking.

The book will help you to:

• Gain brand clarity, visibility, recognition and cut-through in your industry
• Feel more confident, look more professional, credible and successful
• Attract your ideal clients and inspire their confidence in your promise
• Save you and your team time and money
• Charge your worth and increase the value of your business.

I’ll hand you over to Sapna…

How to communicate your brand’s integrity

I run a branding agency that specialises in working with ambitious impact businesses that want to make a difference. Most of the time I work directly with the business owner themselves, and in my time I’ve worked with 100s of entrepreneurs, running companies from start-ups to established 6 & 7 figure businesses.

Over the years, I identified a repeating pattern in how they built their businesses and seen the big mistake that so many of them made.

Talking to Rachel about the IC world we realised a lot of the same problems were being repeated across the IC industry by brand guardians and communicators at every level.

This mistake was damaging the brand they were in charge of and holding them back from or at least slowing down or reducing their chances of success.

I developed my ‘DoSaySee’© model to help all brand guardians understand the three important pillars of building a successful brand with integrity:

1. What you Do

2. What you Say

3. What people See.

Do: It is natural for all business founders, CEOs or MDs to first focus on what the company does. The company’s ‘do’ is ultimately how it will make money and how it will make a difference, so it is vital to get this right.‘Do’ is the problem you are solving; the products or services that your company sells. What makes you different from your competition, your USP. Your customer experience. ‘Do’ will also include your business plan, target, target market, vision and values, method of delivery, technology, processes, premises and staff.

Say: next, the company will focus on how to tell the world what you’re doing. This encompasses the written or spoken word and can involve your creative agency, copywriters, marketing and of course anyone in communications. Say includes everything from your business name and strap or tag line, to your company positioning and pitch and how everyone communicates this internally and externally. It’s the copy on your company website, brochure, social media, in the blogs, articles, white papers, PR and books. Your ‘Say’ will also include your brand voice – the language you use (and avoid) to convey the right brand tone to your ideal customers.

See: is the what people see when they first come across your company brand. This of course will include your logo, but ‘See’ incorporates everything visible about your company: your brand colours, typography, imagery, website and brochure design and business cards, even the paper stock they are printed on. Your ‘See’ the first impression a potential client gets – so it is also how you present yourself and the environment you conduct your business in.

If you’re going to impress a client, would you take them to Starbucks to close the deal or a nice restaurant? Is your office smart and professional (like Rachel’s!) or scruffy and messy?

Like a three-legged stool, your DoSaySee elements need to balance, align with and support one another to build a strong brand that resonates with your target market. Take any one leg away, or even if it’s a bit wobbly and the stool is at risk of toppling over.

The red areas in my diagram highlight the ‘danger zones’ when any one of these elements is wrong or out of sync.

Let’s work our way round each one…

No Do

These are the companies that look amazing (gorgeous website, glossy brochure, swanky offices) and they promise you the world (slick pitch, enticing brochure and website copy, clever social media) but then fail to deliver.

One of the craziest recent examples of this was Fyre, the biggest ‘luxury music festival’ that never happened. Billy McFarland defrauded investors, ‘influencers’ and festival goers of over $27million using glamorous Instagram images of supermodels and rap stars on yachts and tales of luxe accommodation. He was later imprisoned for six years. A business that consistently or knowingly disappoints its customers is ultimately not honest or sustainable, and once the bad reviews start flooding in, you’re in trouble if you do nothing about it. This is what I’ve called an insincere business and is probably the worst of all three scenarios, but each one will lose you business.

 

No Say

Ever been on a website and you can’t understand what they do, or if they can help you or you can’t easily find the information you need? What do you do? Of course, you’ll look elsewhere. Another scenario might be that you go to a website and the homepage has typos on it. What impression is that giving to your clients? I’ve rejected hiring designers in the past if their websites say they design ‘stationary’!

This is what I call an incoherent business – one that may have a great product or service, looks the part, but the communication don’t quite make sense, or articulate your value clearly enough or quickly enough to grab the attention of your target market.

No See

Here, you might havethe best product or service and crystal clear comms, but you are being let down by what your client looks at. The wrong image means people won’t be attracted to your brand. Apparently, you only have six seconds to make an impact on someone.

In fact, in today’s fast-paced tsunami of information coming at us on every platform, I would say six seconds is probably being generous. We are genetically wired to be visual creatures – good looking people have been proven to be hired more quickly and tend to be more successful. Look at Hollywood for the most obvious example of this. And companies with less professional-looking branding may their lose business to their more attractive-looking competitor.

You can turn someone off immediately when you hand over a badly-designed business card or they’ll click away in seconds if your website looks dated or loads slowly.

External and internal comms are taken more seriously if they look professionally designed rather than just shoddily put together in Comic Sans.

These things almost imperceptibly, even subconsciously, cast doubt on the credibility of any company communications. This is what I call an invisible business. For it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not being seen (or noticed), you might as well be invisible.

The big mistake I see businesses make, time and time again is that their ‘See’ is so often not aligned with or given the same attention and importance as their Do and Say.

Poor ‘See’ is not prioritised, not properly considered, done with no strategy whatsoever, left to someone untrained to do the job, done on the cheap rushed last minute or treated like an afterthought.

So if you provide a fantastic service, say you do, and then your ‘See’ looks like any of the above scenarios, it will consciously or subconsciously put doubt in people’s minds.

You know what it’s like when someone tells you they’re fine, yet their voice is flat, their arms are crossed and they can’t look you in the eye? Inconsistency and incongruity bother people.

In How To Make People Like You In 90 Seconds Or Less, Nicholas Boothman observes that ‘if you want others to believe that you can be trusted you must be congruent’.

Align your See to support and strengthen your Do and Say, and you will find that your message resonates and ‘lands’ far better as there is a congruence between everything you do, everything you Say and what people See. This leads to increased understanding, less confusion and ultimately a more successful outcome.

This is how you build a brand with true Integrity.

Boothman also referenced Albert Mehrabian who famously discovered that:

• 7% of people’s understanding comes from the words you say (your copy)

• 38% of understanding comes from the way you say it (your brand voice or tone)

• 55% of understanding comes from your facial expressions and body language (i.e. the visuals)

I was delighted to realise that my DoSaySee model mirrors human behaviour!

Customers are attracted to a business first by what they See, just like they are with people. It’s only once you like the look of someone that you may decide to speak to them (Say)… and only once you speak to them will you find out what they Do.

This is how any relationship is built – including those with your customers:

1. Do I like the look of this company?

2. Does it speak to and/or understand me?

3. What does the company do?

See, Say and Do, in that order. See?

Want to know more? My book will help you. Don’t forget the Kindle version of Let’s Get Visible! is available on 23 January 2020 for just 99p.

Grab your copy today.

Post author: Sapna Pieroux.

Thank you Sapna, I’d love to know what you think of the model. You can find her on Twitter @sapnapieroux or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Further reading about branding on the All Things IC blog

Thank you for stopping by

Rachel.

First published on the All Things IC blog 22 January 2020.

 

 

 

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