Building a great brand that resonates with your customers is hard work. The last thing you want to do as a marketer is watch the brand you worked to build get defamed by the rest of your company. This is where a lot of the chasm between sales and marketing comes from. What if I were to tell you, however, that you could create brand identity guidelines that people won’t want to break?
Far too often, marketers believe that branding begins and ends with them, but the truth of the matter is, whether you want to believe it or not...
Your brand’s real job is to make the company money. That may sound harsh, but without revenue, your brand is worthless. This means that your brand is no different from any other aspect of the organization. Everyone and everything, from the CEO to the janitor, is really only there to help the company make more money.
So with the end goal of revenue in mind, take another look at your brand. Your responsibility as a marketing professional is to protect the brand from misuse, but you also need to build a brand that you’re comfortable taking out of its glass case. If every aspect of your brand has to be micromanaged by a marketing professional, you’re handcuffing the rest of the organization to a giant bottleneck.
So how can you build a brand that other people can use effectively? Step number one sales and marketing alignment. This needs to happen before you start building your brand out. If you do this effectively, you can build a brand that supports your sales staff, which is important because...
Listen, I love a great brand. Effective branding work has a giant impact on the bottom and top line that’s nearly impossible to quantify, but at the end of the day, the best branding work helps the people who are responsible for selling the brand.
Your sales staff is what justifies the existence of your marketing staff. Marketing’s main job should be informing the salespeople so they don’t look stupid. In that same vein, your brand’s job is to make your salespeople look like rock stars. Unfortunately, far too many marketing departments build brands that are impossible for a sales team with no design experience to implement, and therefore make them look stupid in the process.
So how can you align your sales staff, your marketing staff, and your brand identity?
We’ve talked at length about building a brand identity that resonates with your customers, but what about a brand that your sales team can actually implement? At the end of the day, the brand book shouldn’t be resonating with customers, the brand experience should be resonating with customers. If your entire team, from your receptionist to your CEO isn’t living your brand’s mission and values, your brand doesn’t exist.
In order to prevent this, try to involve sales as early and as often as possible in the branding process. Make sure that the brand messaging is just a more polished version of the type of language your team already uses. Make sure that any visual elements you incorporate can be easily replicated by a team member without Photoshop or Illustrator. If artists are supposed to hold a mirror up to society, marketers are supposed to hold a mirror up to the company. When working with sales, ask these questions to find out how you can best integrate with them:
If you work with your sales team and do an effective job of listening, your brand identity should help sales do their job and ultimately, make you look like a branding master.