We spend a disproportionate amount of time on our association’s brand look. We review iteration after iteration of a reimagined logo. Every year we agonize over the conference look – location-based or theme based? We tinker with website design. Look is critically important but so are the other elements of your brand.
Product – What you offer, sell and create. This can be anything from your curated content newsletter to a research report to your annual conference. These are all your tangible benefits.
Promise – Many marketing experts call this a key value proposition or your key differentiator. This makes brand promise sound so dry. The reason for brand promise is to create a feeling. Take Coke Cola’s brand promise. It’s not about how carefully they control quality to guarantee the precise quantity of sugar milligrams per can. Coke Cola’s brand promise is fun, freedom and refreshment. They are appealing to your emotion not your logic.
Look – This is your design, colors, patterns and tones that you use to establish a consistent image. It includes your association’s logo, web design, the design of published material, email templates, stationary and anything and everything that flows out of the association.
Voice – “Brand Voice” was coined to describe the tone a brand uses in advertising. Brand voice is a combination of personality and attitude. During research studies big brands will often ask customers to describe the brand as if it’s a person to better understand this dynamic. Over time associations sometimes take on a brand voice, to their detriment, without even meaning to.
Story – Using words, images and sound this is the story you create about the association. So many associations tell of features and benefits. Notice Coke however doesn’t market red cans of caffeinated bubbly sugar water. No they market youth, beauty, community, fun and adventure.
Take some time to review your association’s look and the other 4 brand elements. What’s working? What’s not working? Is it time to refresh your brand?