A brand is a perceived image that provokes an emotional response. It’s hard to define because it’s intangible, much like professional services. The brand is the image attached to a name, design, symbol or some other feature of a company’s service.
What’s important to understand about a brand is that it has nothing to do with the actual service being offered. It exists in the minds of clients only. As mentioned above, a brand is a perceived image.
Brands are often confused with logos and identities. A brand identity consists of the professional service company’s entire image. The logo is just one design aspect that communicates the brand. Both are involved in communicating the brand’s message, but a brand is much bigger and more encompassing than a logo. It also includes the thoughts or feelings that the design or logo invokes.
The importance of your brand is that it offers a unique perceived value that a client doesn’t get from your competitors. In other words, the brand is the reason your clients choose you. A good brand tells clients that this is not only the best choice for them, but that it is also the only choice that offers the unique solution they’re looking for.
From the point of view of your professional service business, your brand is the promise you make to your clients. It precedes and underlies all of your marketing and, if done well, every contact the client has with your company.
Because of all of this, branding is one of the most important considerations for businesses. They outlive the services they sell. It takes a great deal of thought and consideration to create a winning brand.
Elements of an Effective Brand
Brands come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few common elements you’ll find in all of them.
Clarity. A good brand communicates the intended message clearly and effectively. It’s important that you communicate the intended image you want clients to perceive, rather than giving them the wrong message.
Memorability. For a brand to work effectively, it needs to be memorable and stay in the client’s mind long after the commercial is over or the billboard has been passed.
Uniqueness. Your brand tells people how your service offering is unique among your competitors and the most ideally suited for them. As mentioned above, it’s not that you’re the best but that you’re the only option that fully and adequately meets the client’s needs. This aspect of uniqueness also means you don’t have to appeal to everyone.
Emotional Connection. All good brands make an emotional connection with their target audience. People identify themselves with the brands they like. If your brand gets inside your clients’ heads and elicits an emotional response, they’ll identify with it and remain loyal. This is what motivates the client to utilize your service.
Credibility. A good brand is consistent and never strays from the client’s expectation. Like an old friend, it’s always there giving them the same message. In this way, your brand establishes your company’s credibility in the client’s mind.
Timeless. The best brands are timeless. They endure and stay relevant for years or even decades to come.
To learn more about creating a brand for your professional service company, check out the report titled “Brand Design for Professional Service Companies.”