by Guest Contributor Ian Peterman, CEO Peterman Design Firm
Not all branding is made equal...
Often, especially in the startup world, branding is something that’s done quickly and with little thought, usually just a logo, a couple fonts, and a couple colors. But that isn’t a brand, not really.
Then you have branding that’s done well, it can even win awards. It’s thoughtful, creates a good experience for customers, captures the company and mission well. However, there is a deeper level of branding that sets out with a bit of a different mission, Brand Legacy. Through this article, I’ll share what Brand Legacy is exactly and 5 tips for creating your own Brand Legacy and maintaining it.
First, what is Brand Legacy?
Brand Legacy is what your brand is remembered for and what impact it creates. This can be by accident, or something you choose to curate and guide. Creating a Brand Legacy means building something to last the test of time and the opposite of a fad.
I’ve done all kinds of branding for different companies and now my firm only focuses on creating Brand Legacy because it’s the type of thinking that companies need to do now to thrive and grow. I also believe it will create a better tomorrow and today for everyone if we use this approach.
Creating Brand Legacy should be a core focus for you, whether you are a scrappy startup or an existing brand.
Brands who have stood for over a hundred years have Brand Legacy. It is a way to look at branding and the thought leadership of a company and make adjustments to impact the brand, looking at the long term goals and success.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs are also integral to this way of approaching branding. Putting CSR programs, executive thought leadership, and 50+ year planning together creates Brand Legacy. Brand Legacy takes the mystery away from how to create a hundred year brand and provides the foundation to create the next Coca-Cola, DuPont, Colgate, JP Morgan Chase, Jim Bean, or Macy’s (a couple of these are over 200 years old).
Here are 5 tips for helping you create a Brand Legacy with your own company.
1. Create Long Term Mission & Goals
If you want to create a Brand Legacy and not just hope it works out, creating long term goals and mission is crucial. Without long term goals, like 10, 20, 50 years even, it will be hard to steer the brand in the optimal direction. You can’t predict the future, but you can aim for a goal. The exact path there won’t be known, it’s a journey. Your mission should be something that will stand the test of time. Think outside industry specific and toward things like people and the planet. I’ll leave you with the question, what do you do want to leave behind for the next generation?
2. Everyone is a Brand Ambassador
Everyone who works for your company is either building or destroying the brand. Some companies have figured out how to have brand loyalty of their own team. Costco is a great example. People are treated so well, and the company culture is a great experience, to the point where their turnover rate is really low for their industry. I’ve known people who waited a couple years to get a job at Costco because they wanted to work there so much. Taking care of the team at your company, everyone from the “lowest” to the “highest” will ensure your Brand Legacy is always being built and grown.
3. Brand Impact Needs to be a Conscious Decision
What impact does your brand make? Every brand makes an impact in its community, the lives of its employees and members, the supply chain it uses, and the customers who purchase from it. Observe and become aware of all the places your brand impacts. Then, find ways to improve the impact. You may even find that a goal or mission comes out of identifying places you can make improvements. If you are not aware of the impacts, you can’t do anything to improve them, and each interaction and impact someone has with the brand is possibly a long-lasting impression and impact. Becoming aware is so important.
4. Customer Experience is Key
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but I have to say it because of how important it is. I will challenge you to expand your idea of what customer experience is, however. When I talk with clients, I always explain customer experience as everything that happens from the first time they ever even hear or notice the brand to the day they are never a customer again. That means word of mouth, sales, marketing, customer support, purchasing, returns, repeat purchases, and everything else. Creating a customer experience and actually looking at every interaction will help you create a brand that has value to your customers in the long run and will create a lasting legacy that you want to have.
5. You need a CSR
What is a CSR? Corporate Social Responsibility is a type of self-regulation that companies use to make sure that they meet the societal goals of the company. It’s basically a way to track and ensure that the philanthropic, activist, charitable, or other initiatives of the company are followed and actually happen. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be something that is easily done at small or enterprise businesses. Creating one just gives you a way to benchmark and ensure the brand is accomplishing those goals and creates accountability.
That wraps it up. These tips will help you start to think about your own Brand Legacy and how you’d like to create it. Creating it, of course, is just the first step. Maintaining it is important to make sure you last the test of time. Hopefully my great grandchildren will see your brand still going strong. If you’re looking for a branding partner to help you create this at your company, we’ve got your back!
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About the Author: Ian Peterman, CEO Peterman Design Firm
Ian Peterman brings energy, insight, and his expertise in conscious design into his role as founder and CEO of the Peterman Design Firm. His unique blend of design, business, entrepreneurship, and engineering gives him the ability to speak to almost every area of a business and bring ideas and solutions that meet the needs of his clients. His over 15 years of professional design and management experience, working at large startups and enterprise companies like HP, allows him to help companies create a path forward to scaling to wherever they want to be. He founded the Peterman Design Firm in 2017 after being a founding member of a small design studio. Beyond his role there, he runs a small education publishing company and is the LA Chapter Chair for the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA).
Peterman Design Firm at a Glance
We partner with companies who want to make a positive impact in the world to develop and launch new products, services, and brands. We create and manage legacies for our clients and create growth through our approach, the Peterman Method™. Learn more about the Peterman Design Firm.