No one likes taking tests. Tests are stressful and anxiety-inducing. But, as much as we hate to admit it, they might just be a necessary evil.
That's why we're going to ask you to test your brand. Now before you start sweating or stress eating that bag of Goldfish, just remember that this test can only help your company improve. And we promise we won't send you home with a note for your parents if you don't do as well as expected.
In case you need a refresher on what exactly a brand is, it's the overall perception of your business in the mind of the public. It's the culmination of your company's personality, visual presence, voice, and psychological associations.
Ready? Go. Your brand should pass these tests:
1. Does Your Brand Explain Who You Are?
There's much more to a company than just the products it sells or services it provides. Your business has a mission, core values, and a personality – and those should be represented in your brand. Take Nike, for example. Their mission statement is "to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." And that's exactly the feeling you get when you watch their ads, visit their website, or follow them on social media. Start by creating a brand that embodies and celebrates the key characteristics of your business.
2. Is Your Brand Tailored to Your Target Audience?
Your company can't be everything to everyone. In order to attract the right customers, your brand should speak specifically to your target audience. Are you looking to appeal to millennials? Stay-at-home parents? Tech-savvy professionals? Whoever your audience is, make sure you're using the language and visuals that appeal to them. For example, if your audience is mainly Baby Boomers, you won't want to tell them that your products are "on fleek" or "lit."
3. Does Your Brand Stand Out in the Marketplace?
Got 15 minutes? No matter what your company does, you need to break through the noise and be noticed. Geico, for example, does a great job of this. Through their quirky and memorable ads, they stand out. Who wouldn't remember a talking gecko or offended cavemen? And we all know that we could save 15% or more by switching to Geico.
4. Is Your Brand Different from Its Competitors?
In order for your brand to stand out, it needs to be different than your competition. It's important to know what everyone else is doing so you don't do the same thing – or repeat their mistakes. That doesn't mean you can't leverage what's working well for others, but you need to make sure your brand rises above the rest. Analyze your competitors and use what makes you better to create a unique brand.
5. Is Your Brand Aesthetically Pleasing?
This test is a subjective one, but it’s still important. People will associate your visual identity and presence with your abilities as a brand, so your design choices need to be on point. Of course, it all starts with your logo. Is it modern enough? Has it ever been refreshed? Does it fit with your brand? If the answer is no, consider bringing in some design experts to help punch it up. It's also important to consider other design elements, such as color palette, typography and fonts, iconography, and photography/image style.
6. Is Your Brand Consistent?
Your brand should be everywhere. It needs to permeate every single thing your business does – whether it's on your website, via social media, in your office, or on a billboard. You don't want someone seeing a digital ad, clicking it, and then landing on a website that doesn't look or sound the same. Consistency will enormously strengthen your brand and its impact on your customers.
See, that wasn't so bad! If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, your brand is on track. But there's always room for improvement. It's important not to become complacent in your branding. Stay on top of your competitors and make sure your brand is always outpacing the rest. Let's have coffee and get creative.