A brand. It is the image, memory, story or expectation that defines and represents a business or person. While many are busy defining their own brand by creating clever key messages, eye-catching logos and mission/vision/value statements, it is actually the public, or our customers/clients, that determine our true brand. This is because brands are subjective in nature. They are based on not just key messages, cool logos and social responsible mission statements, but on the actions of the business, both verbal and non-verbal.
Brands are actually based on how a business conducts transactions, how they interact with customers and their communities through customer service, public outreach and engagement, and yes, the visuals that we see (i.e. brochures, storefronts, signage, commercials).
Take McDonalds, when you see the logo or hear the name, what comes to mind? When people were asked on the streets by McDonald reps, the responses varied and covered many areas of the business that you wouldn’t have suspected. Keywords that were mentioned included greasy food, junk food, fast, convenience, unhealthy, to aspects of the business like factory farming, inhumane animal treatment, poor wages.
As you can imagine, the company was not happy with how the public was viewing the McDonald brand and they knew they needed to do something and quickly. “Our Food. Your Questions” was a campaign that resulted and focused on bringing transparency to the company. It involved asking the public to submitted their questions about any aspect of the company, and they would give you answer (the truth, so to speak).