Gillian Horan is a branding expert and CEO of The Pudding, a commercial and creative brand company who specialise in strategy, creative and activation. They work with companies to build, reposition and grow corporate and employer brands with one strong focus: business success. She will be hosting our upcoming IMAGE Young Businesswomen's Forum, sharing her tips on branding and stand out strategies for your business at The Westbury Hotel on August 29. Here, she reveals her branding checklist for success.
Branding is more than just a logo or advertising and marketing. A strong brand drives business growth and increases financial value. It is your strategy; your purpose, positioning, values, objectives, architecture, messaging, personality, vision and mission. It is your visual identity. Branding is your employer culture. Embracing all of these elements at all touch points of your brand and integrating them into the organisation will drive business growth. This is often a missed opportunity for CEOs and founder. Ultimately your business is your brand and your brand is your business.
Branding Checklist for Success
1. Nail your brand strategy and identity. Brands need to disrupt. They need to stand out from the crowd. To do this they need to get clarity on who they are as a company, their brand strategy. This includes fully signing off on your purpose, positioning, values, brand objectives, brand architecture, messaging, personality, vision and mission. These elements must then be reflected in your visual identity. Your senior leadership team needs to own this step and lead it from the top.
2. Involve the organisation. Once a strategy is put in place, do not leave it to gather dust. It must be implemented. Engaging your people and aligning them to deliver on your strategy is crucial. Brand values are not just words to hang on walls. They need to be lived day in, day out by all members of the organisation so it’s crucial to involve the whole organisation. A strong employer brand and culture is key. In the current competitive job market employer brand is a really hot topic. As many as 50% of candidates won’t consider a company that does not have a strong brand.
3. Integrate your brand through marketing and operations. Turn your strategy into action. Are your people on board? Make sure your brand aligns with marketing and operations. Marketing have a budget, but the senior team need to work together with your CMOs/ Head of Marketing to be clear on budget spend and more importantly on ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment). Each marketing campaign needs to be founded on the core elements of the business and brand strategy. It needs to build a consistent brand identity and messaging to engage your customers and help drive growth.
4. Measurement. What gets measured gets managed. Have commercial metrics. Brand drives business performance so it is crucial that brand has a place at the boardroom table. To ensure this marketing needs to be comfortable communicating and articulating their plans and successes in financial metrics. CEOs want to know what they are getting for every euro spent and they want to know if marketing can bring this information into the board room.
Join us for the IMAGE Young Businesswomen's Forum with Gillian Horan: Tickets available here
Read more: The biggest mistakes most businesses make when it comes to branding.
Read more: Branding for beginners.