A company’s brand should be strong, clear of purpose, concise in expression, and perhaps even infallible. However, the humans operating it often are not. It is often simple human error, indirection, or even emotion that can start to show the cracks in your brand. Here are a few ways you and your team might end up sabotaging your brand and what you can do about it.
Make sure it’s well and truly defined
Your brand should be perfectly and clearly understood by anyone who has to make a tweet, contribute to an advertisement, write a piece of content on the site, send a press release or express it in any way at all. Define your core brand values in the simplest terms and create a brand bible that includes everything from which logo and visuals to use to the details of the voice that helps content sound consistent. If you give your team room for expression, expect them to express your brand in different ways.
Enforce it constantly
Once it’s defined, make it easier to apply the brand evenly across the board. Company-wide brand control means ensuring the brand resources, like logos and images, are available and visible to everyone creating content. Ensure that everyone knows to the check the brand bible to ensure that their content fits every one of the requirements listed.
Be ready to put out any fires
Of course, mistakes will be made. A customer may feel mislead by a piece or branding or a member of the team might not handle a complaint or feedback well. Repairing brand reputation damage is not impossible. Own up to your mistakes and go one step further. Show your customers, if possible, a way in which you’re going to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Even if the customer isn’t necessarily always right, it’s counterproductive to try and convince them (and the many watching on social media) of anything different in most cases.
Be engaging, don’t engage
You want to start conversations and evoke emotion, but if you get caught up in them, you could be making your worst mistake yet. Some brands get away with sass. However, many of the people operating corporate social media accounts take this as license to be rude to customers, or to start online feuds with competitors that simply look petty and ugly to onlookers. Unless you have someone who can master that sassy online persona (and that is rare), it’s best not to try.
Don’t let just anyone use it
Finally, a simple reminder that you need to invest in protecting your intellectual property from theft. You might not be the one misusing your brand, but if you’re allowing it to happen, it’s still your failure.
At the end of the day, you have to remember that while your brand may be perfect, you and your team aren’t. Don’t rely purely on instinct and individual reading of the brand. Systematize it and create a process that catches and eliminates errors before they happen.