What is the most important element of a company brand: logo? Name? CEO? Why?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Memorability Brings Success
Building a brand takes time, but you can expedite the process with a brand that’s memorable. The logo, tagline, name, team and CEO behind the brand all work together, and if they’re standing behind a boring, easy-to-ignore company or brand, then it’s a waste of time.
2. Marketing Efforts Matter
A company is a sum of its parts. It’s hard to say which single factor is most important, but if I had to pick one, I would say marketing. I have seen very good companies go under because of bad marketing that confused the potential customer, and I have seen terrible products make millions selling subpar products.
3. Team Is Everything
Team is everything because you, the CEO, can’t do it alone. Being surrounded by great talent and people can show the brand’s company culture, capabilities and uniqueness. It can even be a way to hire even more smart people.
4. Customer Service Makes the Brand
Zappos built a brand based on its ability to provide customers with exceptional satisfaction, even when sales went to a competitor. A great brand is one worth talking about, and that means great customer service so buyers know they are getting their money’s worth.
5. Logos Connect to Customers
A logo that resonates with customers will allow them to be more passionate about the brand and what it represents before and after they have a positive experience with our company. When we designed our logo, we wanted people to visualize themselves taking the next big, bold step in their lives, and so our logo clearly demonstrated this.
6. The CEO Powers the Company
A polished logo or creative company name is great, but if you don’t have strong leadership, then your brand won’t be around for long.
7. Strong Brands Reflect Value
An effective brand is a composite of interdependent elements that must communicate value to the intended audience. A company’s culture is communicated in part through its brand design and name. An effective name provides insight into what the business does. A good name is memorable and helps solidify association with a brand’s product or service and core value set.
8. The People Behind the Brand Matter
The single most important facet of a brand is the people behind it. The CEO, salespeople, support personnel and interns all wield enormous power to shape the truth and perception of a brand. Logos, names and campaigns are merely vessels that need to be filled with meaning. It’s the people who bring meaning, passion and value to these expressions.
9. Atmosphere Makes a Difference
A company’s brand defines how a customer feels when experiencing it. We go through the five senses every time, whether in consumer packaged goods or walking into a brick-and-mortar salon. If just one little thing doesn’t smell, look, feel, sound or taste right, then the brand image is gone. To truly exceed expectations, you need to knock their socks off in all five categories.
10. Culture Is King
Culture isn’t something you typically think of when it comes to brand, but if done right, every single person in your company becomes a walking billboard for your brand. A great culture helps dictate every piece of the brand from the tweets to the design of the logo. Cultures are known outside of the company walls, too. Just think of how you perceive brands like Google, Zappos and Disney.
11. Core Values Represent the Company
The core values a company lives by (not just shares in the occasional memo) are representative of the spirit of the company. If the spirit of the brand has been infused into everything it does, the majority of the sales process has been done before a rep even speaks to a lead. Spending time on those values and helping the company live them pays off in spades.
12. Name Is Most Important
A company’s name is most important by far. Logos change and CEOs come and go, but the name that you choose will matter the most. Particularly powerful for behavioral consumer business models such as ours is the potential to verb your business like Google does. It’s about creating something memorable, fun and unique. Plus, you’ll have easier access to Web domains!
13. The Story Makes Your Brand Relevant
The story behind the brand is the most important. It’s not only what people understand about your brand, but also what they can pass along to others through word of mouth. If your brand has a clear story about solving a real problem, then it makes it relevant to people and something worth passing along.
14. Core Values Drive the Company
Core values are what drive and define a company or brand. It’s your company culture that separates you from every other business. You set the standards for what you will and won’t accept. This ranges from the product and service that you offer to your relationships with your clients to the way that you treat your staff. Core values dictate every aspect of a brand — both inside and out.
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