We often meet clients who say, “We’re not sure our customers know us. As in, really know us.” What we say to that is, “Well – do you know you?”
Many businesses go straight to market without answering that question. It means they haven’t found out what their ‘Brand DNA’ is. The thing is, until they know what their Brand DNA is, they won’t be able to communicate with their audience in the right way.
If you think that might be you, then it’s time to take a DNA test…
First things first—what does ‘brand’ mean?
Let’s get some definitions out of the way first, because ‘brand’ is one of the most misunderstood business concepts out there.
Firstly, there’s a difference between ‘brand’ and ‘branding’.
Branding = what your customers see and hear about your business, e.g. your name, logo, imagery, colours, tone of voice, storytelling and routes to market
Brand = the entire end-to-end revenue stream of your business
So brand is a much broader concept. It encompasses everything that your business is and does. It’s your story, your vision, your purpose. It’s how your offerings are productised and how your key messages are expressed and tailored to your target audience. It’s how and why you sell. And, most importantly, it’s why people buy from you.
Brand is you. Branding is your toolkit for being you.
So what’s ‘Brand DNA’?
Real DNA contains genetic information for how you look, behave and the things that make you different. DNA is the essence of you.
Brand DNA is much the same. It’s the vital components—the essence—of your brand. It includes the purpose, personality and positioning of your business in the market, along with your promise to customers. Your audience won’t necessarily see your DNA, just like we can’t see people’s real DNA. But it’s what guides how you express yourself as a business.
Unless you don’t know what your Brand DNA is, of course. Many businesses don’t. But it means that their business model is based on taking shots in the dark.
Time to turn a light on…
The Brand DNA Test
Asking these four questions will help you establish whether you know what your Brand DNA really is, i.e. who you really are as a business.
1. Is your marketing expensive and not bringing the results you expect?
A lot of companies dive straight into producing a standard set of marketing assets without ever considering their brand. Then, after spending thousands of pounds on websites, ads, brochures and press releases that don’t get the results they expect, they assume it’s a marketing problem.
It isn’t. It’s a brand problem. It’s usually that your messaging isn’t clear or relevant enough. Perhaps your copy is too complicated and it takes too long to understand what you’re really about. Maybe your imagery is confusing and doesn’t seem to align with what you offer, or your tone of voice doesn’t reflect your values. Whatever it is, people aren’t getting you.
These days people have the attention span of a goldfish with concussion. You have to get the right message across—and fast. Defining your Brand DNA will give you the clarity you need to communicate with your customers in a way that really resonates with them. Here at Focus7, we constantly see increases in brand awareness and marketing performance just by getting the messaging right.
2. Are you attracting the wrong sort of people?
We all hate wasting time. Going after people whose requirements don’t match what you’re offering is just that. It means you may struggle to close a sale and, even if you do, the customer won’t see the value of the product/service you’ve sold them. Cue a sky-high churn rate.
If your marketing is generating lots of unqualified leads, it’s likely that you’re having difficulty understanding who you’re talking to. See, lots of businesses try and target everyone. But no one can or should target everyone. That’s how you end up drawing attention from people who don’t actually need or want your product/service.
Defining your Brand DNA will involve time spent understanding your key customer personas—what their needs are, what problems they have, what goals they’re trying to achieve. This will help you think strategically about who you need to target. Only then will you start talking to people who are interested to hear what you have to say, and generating leads that really understand and value what you offer.
3. Have your old, bullet-proof strategies actually stopped working?
First off, no strategy is bullet-proof. Markets and customer preferences are constantly evolving and your brand needs to evolve with them. If it doesn’t, it will become stagnant and your competitors will speed past you.
Defining your Brand DNA is a great way of understanding where you sit in your market currently, and where you should aim to be sitting in the years ahead. Some say your destiny’s in your DNA. When it comes to Brand DNA, they’re right. Your Brand DNA is the strategic message that will help you see the road ahead of you—the smooth, straight bits, the turns, the potholes—so you can navigate it effectively. It’ll help you prepare for what’s coming.
And if your competitors aren’t as prepared as you are, you’ll be the one storming ahead.
4. Are you struggling to recruit and retain employees?
High employee turnover or difficulties hiring can be super-expensive. This is another area where your Brand DNA can make or break your business. Because your employees are inside your business, they need to see your Brand DNA. They need to understand your purpose, positioning, values and aspirations. If they don’t, they won’t see the benefits of working for you.
So, defining and communicating your Brand DNA effectively to your employees and potential employees will help you find—and keep—the right people. The people who will stick around because they really believe in your business.
Ready to put your Brand first?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be that you need to spend some time understanding what your brand really is, where you want to take it in the future, and what you want it to be known for. So how about something to get you started?
Focus7 has partnered with the world-class experts at the Business of Brand, BoB, to host a 2-day fully immersive event—Brand DNA School. On 5th and 6th February 2020 at Focus7 offices in Hitchin, Herts, delegates will be able to take a deep dive into the current and future economic climate and discover what their business needs to do to make a difference. Our last two Brand DNA sessions sold out—so reserve your place today!
The event includes lively presentations, interactive exercises and strategic advice based on scientific principles, trends, observations and predictions from experts in brand and marketing. You’ll identify future opportunities in your industry, learn how to grow top-down rather than bottom-up, and discover what you want the legacy of your brand to be. And you’ll learn how to become a brand that will still be visible and strong in five, ten, even twenty years’ time.
Need more info? Call us on 01462 262020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to talk about your brand!