Brand integration is a subject that many business owners talk about, but few feel they really control. This is because it is a rather abstract idea. However, you can gauge your brand integration by asking yourself the following five questions.
1. Do I have a professionally designed logo and brand? The first step to brand integration is having a brand that is strong enough to be the basis of your business. You will need to have not just a professional logo design — although this is very important — but values, a personality, and even a promise. These ideas will form the basis of your brand integration.
2. Do my products and services fall within the scope of my brand? If your brand promises a certain type of goods, do not offer anything that is not overtly and obviously not in line with this. Doing so weakens your brand by implying that your brand promise is at least a little disingenuous.
While some items seem fun or like they would be an ‘easy sell’, they will hurt your business over the long run if they end up undermining your viability but damaging your brand image.
3. Do my physical locations and materials match my brand? This is not just about fonts and color schemes, either. Your displays, stationary, and even your shopping bags need to be recognizable parts of your brand. This will make your business feel more professional and also help customers take the crucial first step of associating your brand with your actual brick and mortar location.
4. Does employee behavior reflect my brand? You must interact with everyone you meet in a way that is integrated with your brand identity. Dress and appearance suddenly become very important because they are communicating the details that set you apart from the competition.
If you haven’t already, it is time to begin implementing employee policies about how phones should be answered as well as how and when customers should be interacted with. This may seem like micromanaging, but it is in actuality an essential part of creating a consistent brand experience that is identifiable with your overall brand.
Retail giants such as Macy’s train employees to wear certain clothing and use certain phrases in their customer interactions; your company must have similar training in order to get the same brand integration.
5. Does my customer experience match my brand promise? This is the last and often most important part of brand integration. Your brand promise gives customers an idea of what to expect when interacting with your company.
Because your customer usually is initiating contact with your company based on this promise, breaking it will only disappoint and annoy them. Make sure your customers entire experience with your company is congruent with your brand promise, and you will have achieved complete brand integration.
Do these questions seem difficult to answer? If so, your brand likely needs more fine tuning. If you find yourself answering no to any of these questions, it is time to talk to a branding consultant about how you can improve your brand integration. If you can not afford to hire a professional brand strategist to help you, you can get on the path by implementing the Brand Immersion Marketing methodology.