Everyone wants to stand out in the world and every brand wants to pave the way to be cutting edge, different, and memorable. How we go about doing that can have a big impact on how the brand is perceived and above all, it’s important to have a solid structure to build upon. Whether you are building your brand image or developing your online marketing plan, your brand structure is the foundation of who you are.
Steve Jobs said, “To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world; it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” And he was right. In a world of information overload where technology moves faster than a speeding bullet and it’s the age of consumer driven content, it’s up to us to forge a path between our companies/our brands to the public that is memorable and valuable. So just how do we do that?
The structure you set within your company lays the groundwork for who you are and who you want to be – but even more importantly for what you want people to know about your brand. Process docs and roadmaps with structure and guidelines are key to any company’s success and online marketing is no different. Be it an in-house department or an online marketing agency, there is no doubt that having clear set documentation is a benefit to all involved in your company’s (and client’s) marketing efforts, as well.
Some of the things to consider documenting are:
Industry best practices – a quick, easy referral guide for what to do for those newer employees can be an invaluable resource in any company
Communication guidelines – how do you interact with your coworkers and clients – both internal and external – is incredibly important as you define the voice of your brand
Social media policies – what are your employees saying and posting on the web? It may sound like a lot but your people are your day to day representatives of your brand. Think about the different privacy settings as a means to control what your customers or clients see about your employees. No one wants to find out that their Account Director was on a 5 day bender in Vegas when the company they represent sells religious gifts (yes it happens, and it MATTERS to your customer).
Hiring and firing processes – never a fun topic, but arguably one of the most important ones. I can’t stress enough the importance of documenting information on how you bring on board a new employee to ensure there are no miscommunications on expectations and work hours or pay rate, to parting ways with someone who just isn’t working out. Being clear in your expectations from the start can make bringing someone on board easier, and letting someone go far less painful.
And anything else that is at the core of who you are as a brand and how you want people to remember you.
The list doesn’t stop there. Determining what you document can set the stage for success. It makes expectations clear for both internal employees as well as clients and customers, and it lets the world know what you stand for. While there are tons of things that you can document, you don’t want to overdo it. Make sure that whatever processes or guides you develop fit within your work environment and brand image. No one wants to be buried in paperwork reading miles of process docs before they are allowed to get to work, so finding the balance between what to outline and what to let people figure out on their own is definitely key.
It is important to have trust in your employees and agency partners knowing they have your best interests at heart, but having a clear set of brand guidelines can provide a structure for that creativity to work within. Setting expectations can help everyone – internal and external – meet goals and be aligned with the brand image, which makes it that much easier to carry over in your marketing message to the world. And at the end of the day, being really clear about what you want the world to know about you, will help you be remembered. So just what does your brand image say about you, or your company? Share your feedback in the comments of some of your most memorable brands and why, and let us know if your company is among them.
You don’t have to be a national – or international – brand to be memorable. Sometimes those small local companies do a great job of sticking close in your mind because of what they stand for. Keep that in mind when structuring your company and think of your audience and how you plan to stand out from the crowd. Happy branding!