Any organization needs to be built on a strong brand. Brand integrity is something that most business owners should be concerned with when establishing positioning in the marketplace. But what exactly is brand integrity?
Integrity can be defined as saying what you believe and acting on it. But what does that mean for you when it comes to your brand?
Brand integrity has everything to do with your audience and how they perceive you. You will often hear about being personable or giving your brand human qualities in your interactions with consumers. Are you delivering an experience to your audience that is in keeping with what you are promising? That is the crux of brand integrity – delivering on your brand promise. When an organization delivers consistently, they will create loyalty among their audiences.
Here are some things to consider so you can avoid nasty pitfalls when it comes to building your organization’s brand integrity.
- Clearly define your brand intent: It’s important that you write out in detail what your brand intent, or brand promise, is. Formalize discussions beyond that initial start-up excitement to flesh out your messaging. As your organization grows, you want to make sure that your promise is both scalable and achievable.
- Achieve brand continuity: Your audience will know you by your branding, and they will associate your brand promise with any visuals you share. Whether it’s your logo, colours, or messaging, there should be a consistency in the content you put out. If you are taking your brand through a refresh, make sure your shift is clearly defined and that you keep it consistent once the new branding is launched.
- Live the brand standards: Integrity of a brand can be questioned even if one member of your team steps out of line with the standards in place. Everything is on the internet, so word spreads fast, and it’s hard, if not impossible, to hide things. A clear cut example of this is the latest Leslie Roberts’ situation with Global. As a news organization, Global prided itself on impartial reporting and representation to its audiences. Once this mistake came to light, even if you thought it wasn’t a big deal, it still put a glimmer of doubt that Global was acting with integrity as a brand. It’s that question that will shatter brand integrity among loyal audiences. Clearly lay out your organization’s standards and make sure that everyone is on board when it comes to seeing them through and that they are aware of the consequences should the standards be overlooked.
- Consistent Product/service quality: Are you delivering consistently? What will your customer say about you after dealing with your representatives or using your product? These are questions you should be continuously asking yourself as a business owner or team leader. If you are going through an operational change where your processes are shifting or your product will be going through an overhaul, it’s important to be transparent with your audience so they know what to expect. If you all of a sudden change things up, your audience may feel like they aren’t familiar with you anymore so they will try your competitor.
I always say it, but keep in mind your brand intent vs. brand reality – be honest with yourself when looking at your brand integrity!