The Branding Myth

How many times have you heard or seen advertising for a graphic design company that indicates they do branding?

If you think branding is a logo, letterhead or a web design with same appearance, and colours, then you have already encountered a lot of branding. Let’s find out if it’s true.

Let’s explore one of the world’s best-branded companies, McDonalds.

You may not like the food, but if someone says “golden arches” you know what institution they are talking about. Mickey D, McCoffee and Big Mac all bring the same familiar name to mind. You may each have a different reaction to the thought of eating there, but any one of their many product names will trigger the bigger picture.

Think about the things you know from your own McDonalds experiences: You know they have salty fries, the food is fast, and there is a system to everything they do. The staff often say the same things to you. You can get the same core menu items all over the world. If you take the time to consider it, there is a huge list of features you can count on at McDonalds.

Doesn’t that make the term “branding” when applied to just a logo, look and colour seem a bit of a misnomer?

We know that the McDonalds concept was born in a single location in San Bernardino in 1940

How do you think McDonalds developed their brand?

The secret?

It’s all about organizational culture, a culture that manages the experience your customers have each and every time they do business with you.

Brand is the personality and style your business has developed through your leadership and the systems you put in place. It’s having a customer know that each time they go into your business they will be treated the same way they were last time they visited. They will also see some of the same products. The staff will say hello just like they always do. The business will have the same policies and procedures…in other words…a customer can rely on you to be who you were during their last shopping experience.

You need to live the brand when you run the business, set the policies and standards, and write the operational procedure manual to reflect the same principles.

Many businesses start small, with the owner doing most of the work…that’s the time to write the procedure manuals, when you are actually doing the work and can see what brings the best results.

If everyone ran their business like a well-run franchise, there would be more successful businesses with stronger brands.

Having a strong brand means that everyone who works in your business has a clear picture of why they are there. The business could run without you, because everyone would know what they were supposed to do and how they were to treat both co-workers and customers alike.

Decide who you are as a business and be the best you can be at it every day. Write down the things that you do. Decide what your goals are. Share your vision with your employees…and you will create a brand.

Oh… and don’t forget…you need a logo, letterhead and a web site that all convey the same message….but they are not the brand….YOU ARE!

The One BIG Idea Branding Workbook has great information, questions and exercises to get you started.

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