Breaking Brand – evaluating your brand

Alex Cleveland, partner and strategy director at fst, discusses how companies can properly evaluate their brand.

Starbucks branding

I think one of the things that makes the very idea of brand and the value of it so intriguing is that it is intangible in nature.

How much of our behaviour is influenced by it? How much of that could be subliminal? How much influence did brand have on securing my newest client?

The truth

Some things just can’t be expressed in black and white, and the world is better for it. But for all it’s impossible to quantify, there are certainly ways to evaluate your brand. And, for me, the most important indicator is to investigate how close it is to the truth.

So taking it back one step, it’s worth briefly considering the question, “what is my brand?”. This is important, because there is a huge difference between brand, and brand assets. Evaluating your brand assets is one thing. Identity, website, collateral etc. But what are you evaluating it against?

Ultimately your brand is the sum total of everything you are. Your history, your attitudes, your beliefs, the way you do what you do, why you do what you do. You can’t choose your brand in any meaningful way, you can’t cheat it, you can’t avoid it. Branding, brand assets and brand communications are created to enable you to express that brand in the most effective way possible.

So the first and most brutal question in evaluating your brand is, “does it completely, wholeheartedly and accurately reflect who you are?”. This can be an extremely difficult and all-consuming question. If you have even a suspicion that the answer is no, you have work to do.

Getting to the truth behind your brand is the only way you can create something authentic, something relevant and something with longevity. You can live a lie successfully for a period of time, but consumers will always find you out in the end. People have an uncanny and innate ability to know when brands are being disingenuous.

You can’t change who you are. And why would you want to? The best and the brightest own their own space, they commit to it and they live by it. No agency can give you anything more powerful than what’s there already. Work to uncover your truth, then your brand can shine.

  • fst is a strategy-led design agency that aims to solve business problems and build the brands of the future.

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