KPMG Spark Blog
Your brand is one of your company's most valuable assets. It connects your company to the hearts and minds of your customers, investors, and the marketplace and begins building on day one.
Branding is much broader than logos and tactical activities. Your logo, tagline, and website are all expressions of your brand. Your actual "brand" is the emotional response and mental associations people make with your company as a result of the multitude of interactions with your brand expressions, products, employees, and services. It is your company's persona, identity, and purpose in the world.
Building a brand is all about shaping public perceptions. To do this effectively requires careful planning and execution. At the core of this are some simple leading practices. Here are a few to help you get started:
At the core of every strong brand is a higher purpose that explains why the company exists beyond profits. A purpose is a motivating, timeless statement that outlives your tagline and growth cycles. It inspires and unites your employees for a shared cause and serves as a foundation for your mission statement and other external brand messages. Think of your purpose as an internal declaration of why you exist and your mission statement as an external communication of what you do and for whom. Here are a couple examples:
Remember your brand starts internally with your culture, values, and mindset long before it hits the market. This all begins with the development of a purpose and mission statement.
As you define your purpose and mission statement, consider how your business is unique in solving a problem for your target market. Make sure your customer promise is differentiated from the competition. A strong purpose and mission statement articulates what's unique and special about your company and the value it provides to the world. Keep in mind that differentiation without relevance adds no value to your brand. The uniqueness of your offering is only powerful if your target market agrees. Marrying differentiation with relevance is a recipe for success.
Good products, great customer experience, and strong brand messaging will be most impactful to your company's success, but a brand name should not be overlooked. Consider choosing a short name that is memorable and invokes positive thoughts. Your name should be easy to pronounce and read. To ensure consistency, create your brand name in conjunction with your mission statement and product offerings. It is also wise to search trademark databases to ensure your preferred name is available.
Your visual brand identity is built through the consistent use of visual expressions.
Here is a list of common visual expressions that you can expect to use to develop your brand identity:
As you build your visual identity, ensure the overall look and feel and design attributes fit your brand personality. Take Whole Foods as an example. Their logo is green and incorporates the image of fresh produce. This is very much in line with their brand promise to provide natural, organic food. To help ensure consistent use of your visual brand elements, consider creating a simple style guide. This document defines what your visual identity looks like (i.e., logos, color schemes, fonts, and taglines) and provides guidelines for how to properly use these visual elements.
Branding is more than logos and taglines. Every interaction, both passive (e.g., customer reading a website) and active (e.g., customer interacting with a salesperson), shapes the overall brand perception. It is crucial all points of interaction with the customer represent your brand. Take the cosmetics company Lush as an example. They "believe in making effective products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables." When you walk into their stores, their products are shown in raw unpackaged form. Handwritten signs sit next to each product listing the all-natural ingredients. Employees give hands-on demos to interested consumers. All interactions with Lush embody their brand promise.
The most damaging thing you can do to your brand is to be unpredictable. Consumers build a brand perception based on what they've come to expect from your company. Be genuine and consistent in everything your company does. Whether the consumer is surfing your company's website, driving by a billboard ad, reading an email from a service rep, or using your products or services, the brand experience and visual identity should be consistently invoked and easily recognizable.
A good product coupled with a well-executed brand will position your company for long-term success securing a special place in the minds of your consumers. The most successful businesses craft a brand strategy early on.
With KPMG Spark, you will have more time to spend on implementing your brand strategy. KPMG Spark is the new way to manage accounting for small business owners who struggle with DIY software and the never-ending administrative tasks of accounting. We take bookkeeping off your hands by leveraging intelligent automation, a custom financial dashboard, and a professional bookkeeper-in-the-loop. Contact KPMG Spark today to speak with an accounting specialist dedicated to your small to medium-sized business success.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.
This blog article is not intended to address or provide advice concerning the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services.
Some or all of the services described herein may not be permissible for KPMG audit clients and their affiliates or related entities.
The following information is not intended to be “written advice concerning one or more Federal tax matters” subject to the requirements of section 10.37(a)(2) of Treasury Department Circular 230. The information contained herein is of a general nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Applicability of the information to specific situations should be determined through consultation with your tax adviser.
KPMG LLP does not provide legal services.
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