Brands Get Embarrassed, Too! Here’s How To Move On and Build Brand Confidence
One of my fondest teenage memories was grabbing the latest J-14 magazine and flipping straight to the “Most Embarrassing Moments” page. With tears in my eyes, I’d read tales of fellow teens wearing their shirts backwards for an entire day, or not realizing they’d had gum stuck in their hair, or watching their note get intercepted by a crush. You know, really mortifying stuff.
Much like awkward twelve-year-olds, brands also have embarrassing moments.
Maybe the sales deck has an old logo, and the business cards have an even older logo. Maybe pages on the website have said “coming soon” for a little too long, or the messaging is outdated and doesn’t actually reflect what the brand does. Maybe a brand’s reputation needs a boost—maybe it doesn’t have a reputation at all.
But it’s okay. As we’ve helped brands move on from embarrassments big and small, we’ve found a solution that helps overcome and curb future mishaps.
It all starts with creating a brand identity that conveys what you actually do, confidently.
That ten letter word.
Confidence. You’re probably familiar with the notion of self confidence, and all the great things that contribute to it. Having a good hair day. Accomplishing personal goals. Getting recognized at work. You know the feeling. But how does confidence apply to branding?
Brand confidence comes from knowing your client views your brand the same way that you do. It happens when your messaging and your visuals communicate what you’re all about so that present and future clients understand how your product makes their life better. Sounds good, right?
Start with “why?”
The best way to build brand confidence is to find your story—not the story of what you do, but the story of why you’re doing it in the first place. It’s very likely that you already have one, after all, brands don’t just appear over night. They’re typically built by passionate individuals who saw a need and did something about it. But have you ever articulated the story of why your brand came to be? Said it aloud, or written it down? Take a moment (or a day, or a week) and think about how you’d write that story.
It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It should simply answer the question: why do you do it? If you can get to a place where reading your story makes you feel inspired—or better yet, elicits goosebumps—then you’ve got it.
Need an example? We think this one’s pretty great.
A solid brand story lays a strong foundation for building brand confidence.
The best stories are shared.
When you’re happy with your story, share it with your team. Brand confidence is built from the inside out. When your colleagues are on the same page, everyone will talk about your brand in a unified way. You’ll use similar language, and describe processes the same way. When clients speak to different people in your company, they won’t get mixed messages.
Why is internal buy-in so important?
We worked with Premise Health—a company formed by the merging of two trusted healthcare brands—to create a single, new brand identity. Mergers can be complicated. You’re combining two groups of people, two ways of doing things, and two company cultures, into one, sleek business in hopes that clients from both sides will continue to trust the new brand. Oh, and it needs to happen fast. With so much newness there’s a high chance of mistakes and miscommunication—you know, embarrassing moments.
Luckily, we know how to ease the fear of possible embarrassment. We started by creating one story that energized employees and proved to them that this entire effort was about combining the best of both companies. Posters, emails and videos reminded employees of their core values and helped to build confidence in the new, shared mission. With a story in place, everyone in the company—from CEO to intern—had the same vision in mind when communicating with clients.
Dive right in.
Once you and the rest of your team are feeling inspired, motivated and on top of your brand’s mission, you’ll want to start addressing the things you’re embarrassed of. Outdated logos? Get rid of them! Existing logo not hitting the mark? Invest in a new one. Missing website content? Start writing! Keep the tone of your story in mind, and use your website to help your audience get to know your brand’s purpose better. While you’re at it, look at the rest of your website and make sure it’s conveying meaningful messages at every opportunity. And reputation? If you build it, they will come. Look for any and all opportunities to showcase your brand confidence—in customer service conversations, in the way you package and ship products, in your answering machine message and out of office emails. Your reputation begins with the way you present yourself to your ideal client.
Consistency is key.
As you continue to grow—keep your story in mind. When you write emails—keep it in mind. When you’re drafting decks and brochures and holiday cards—keep it in mind! When your marketing efforts consistently ladder back to your core values, you’ll look like you really know what you’re doing. And knowing what you’re doing? That’s confidence. Your existing and potential clients will notice. Your name will start to stick, your brand will become top of mind, and—most importantly—those embarrassing brand moments will become a thing of the past.