Intentional success means you have to discover complete alignment of your brand.
Do you struggle to align your organization’s vision with your brand and marketing efforts?
To develop brand harmony, you need to have alignment across your verbal brand, visual brand, and your team.
Alignment is possibly the most critical factor to your brand’s success. It doesn’t matter what your end goal is – you won’t get there without having unified alignment.
But what is brand alignment, and how do I get it?
In this article, we will break down alignment in these three core pillars – alignment in your verbal brand, your visual brand, and your team – and teach you how to get alignment within each so that they work together to deliver a harmonized brand.
When you develop your team in a way that fosters alignment and reflects that purpose in your visual brand and verbal identity, you can create a harmonized brand experience that will contribute value to achieve your business goals.
You must be intentional to establish your organization’s vision, create a culture of accountability, and squash disconnect from your purpose.
Discover your brand foundation and find alignment
Strategic alignment within your organization and an optimized marketing performance are imperative to maximize the impact of your purpose. It lays the groundwork to enhance your long-term ROI.
When you discover your brand foundation, you begin the process of all the types of alignment your brand needs to achieve – alignment with teams, values, identity, and more. In the discover process, you need to:
- Perform a comprehensive audit of your existing business and marketing materials and identify opportunities and gaps and develop an execution plan.
- Identify the barriers and enablers required to achieve your marketing goals by defining the strategic marketing opportunity and pillars of the brand foundation.
- Articulate your brand identity, starting with your 3 Keys – your Purpose, Values, and Story.
- Validate your brand stimulus with internal leadership, external stakeholders, and your most valued clients, customers, shoppers, consumers, and guests.
- Develop a campaign blueprint that connects business and marketing objectives through a “customer first” approach across messaging, channel, and performance scorecards.
When you have developed solutions for each step of this process, you’ll come away with a multi-disciplinary marketing roadmap customized to your unique business requirements that begins with your brand strategy and thoughtfully integrates tactics to serve as your company’s marketing foundation.
Team alignment with what you believe in
Once you have established your brand foundation, you need to ensure that your team is aligned to your brand. It’s crucial for your company to discover its intention behind team development (and everything else your organization does). Teams are happier and more emotionally connected to your brand when you develop those teams in a way that fosters alignment with the purpose.
Part of that process includes a realistic and measurable assessment of your organization’s team, the people who make it up, and the work culture that drives the way your people behave. It’s common for leaders to believe in the aspirational view that their business already has the perfect team and the ideal work environment.
But is that aspirational view legitimate? Do you have the great workplace culture and team alignment you think you do? If you can’t truthfully answer yes to these questions, you have an opportunity to correct a disconnect in your alignment that must be addressed.
When you approach team development and intention from the right angle, you’re at a considerable advantage. That angle is: What do you do to align your vision and mission with the customer’s wants and values?
Your team must reflect the company’s purpose, and that purpose is to reach the customer through the alignment of their wants with your company’s vision. We call these customer insights.
You might believe that the purpose is crystal clear and the customer’s needs already align. But I’ve seen it time and time again where an organization thinks they have this part down pat, but the team agrees that the vision is murky at best.
To more easily align your team with your 3 Keys, it’s important to consider these critical concepts:
Don’t think your team can passively absorb your company’s shared values by osmosis – it just doesn’t work that way. You must be intentional and put your organization’s shared values everywhere so that your employees interact with them and see those values in the wild. We call this infuse because they are alive and felt in meetings to performance reviews.
Your business objective is formulated with your company purpose in mind – they have a lot to do with where you envision your company down the road. It’s only natural that your team needs intentional interaction with your company’s shared values to infuse them into their actions and decisions at work. If formulaically written well, they will serve as a decision-making filter.
Employees appreciate knowing you value them and their contributions to the company. When you employ tangible ways that demonstrate their value, team members become more invested in the business, which makes them even more invested in the company’s objectives and vision.
When you have a culture of accountability, you don’t just hold team members responsible for their mistakes. You show them you genuinely care about their success and professional development. They feel like you recognize what they’re capable of, and they show you when they continue to go above and beyond.
Align your visual brand with your verbal identity
Now you have two of your pillars – your team and your brand – in alignment. So what’s next? It’s time to get all three pillars aligned. Alignment of your visual brand with your verbal identity is critical to create a cohesive and memorable visual brand identity. This is the next step – your verbal informs the visual brand.
Your visual identity includes all the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo, color palette, typography, imagery, and graphics.
Your verbal identity includes your 3 Keys, the tone of voice, messaging, and brand personality you use in your communication. When you align these two aspects of your brand, you ensure that your brand message is consistent and that your target audience receives a clear and unified message.
When your visual and verbal identities are aligned, you create a powerful brand that connects with your audience emotionally, builds trust, and ultimately drives business success. That’s why it’s important to invest time and resources into developing a consistent and cohesive brand identity that aligns your visual and verbal elements. Here are some ways to do this:
- Ask customers for feedback: Knowing what appeals to customers is critical, and the best way to determine that is to simply ask them. This can be done in a variety of ways, including online polling, testing platforms, and focus groups.
- Create a brand style guide: Include light formatting, color palette, graphic specs, typography, and other design elements to create consistency in your brand.
- Use original graphics, and brand them: Having original photos and other custom graphics allows you to have more control over your visual brand.
- Be consistent: This is far and away the most critical point that ties back to every other part of alignment:
- A consistent visual and verbal identity further supports a powerful brand that resonates with your target audience. Your visual identity can attract potential customers, but it’s your verbal identity that engages and connects with them emotionally.
- A consistent brand voice helps build and earn trust with your audience. This creates a more memorable brand experience. When you ensure that your visual brand and verbal identity are aligned, you can build a strong brand that communicates your 3 Keys – Purpose, Values, and Story – and inside Purpose is your vision, and mission. A cohesive brand identity helps create a clear and consistent message that your audience can easily understand and remember.
When you’ve aligned your team and your visual and verbal identity, and a clear brand experience, you can move forward to connect it all with your business objectives and goals.
Align your brand experience with your business objective
If you’re going to blow the top off your company’s goals, you must have a synchronized business and brand. When these two are out of sync, it can lead to a disjointed brand and customer experience that can take you off track from your goals and even damage your customer relationships.
When your business objective doesn’t acknowledge brand experience, the result is that either (or both!) can become disconnected and subpar in performance. A brand experience detached from the business plan won’t lead you to your cheerleaders and promoters.
You can create harmony between your brand experience and your business plan by taking these four steps:
- Discover the brand experience: Follow the information outlined above to achieve this step. Once this is accomplished, you’re ready to move to the steps that follow.
- Listen to what the people say: Your customers are the heart of your brand, and their feedback is an essential part of a brand experience that’s aligned with your business plan. To create a brand experience that meets your customer’s needs, you must first hear them out. Collect feedback through surveys, focus groups, social media actions, and one-on-one conversations.
- Define the business plan: Now you must go over your business plan with your brand experience in the front of your mind. Read every line and question, whether it’s in line with your brand’s message and purpose. Do all of this with your company’s Purpose, Values, and Story in mind, and you’ll have the brand experience fully defined so you can use it to influence the rest of the plan.
- Audit and act on it: Now you’ve defined the brand experience and used it to inform the business plan. Great! That doesn’t mean you’re done. You must ensure that your brand experience and business plan remain aligned as the brand and company evolve. That evolution can be shockingly short-term, so plan to have yearly audits and then do something about the results.
The harmonious brand experience
If you struggle with how to get alignment or need help to figure out where to start, this is where the Discover process delivered by Advantages fits right in.
This comprehensive audit method is designed to strategically guide organizations to achieve c alignment and maximize the impact of their purpose.
When you integrate the brand experience into the business plan, team, and verbal identity, every aspect of the company exudes your Purpose, Values, and Story. That’s not just a mission statement that settles into the fine print of your website. It’s an actual experience that melds with the way the business operates day-to-day and in the big picture.
If you’re ready to see what the Discovery process can do for you, let’s talk!