As we all know, Name and its associated branding is crucial to the success of the company. This is whether we are multinational corporations, a local business or a writer or blogger. Our brand is important. Not only do we have to know our name and our brand we want the world/ our market to know our brand. We all know Hallmark – the card you give when you care enough to give a card produced by a corporation. Seriously. Look at Coca Cola – we all know that iconic red and white can. The Golden Arches of Macdonalds, the apple with a bite or should I say byte taken out for Apple just to name a couple.
I know as a Toastmaster branding is important for Toastmasters International. The logo has to be exactly the right size, the correct colours and used only in the appropriate places. The first time I sat and listened to a speech on this topic I have to admit I thought toastmasters was going over the top. As I heard more speeches on the topic and as Area Director in 2019 I received a lot of communications on the subject and I started to understand just how important it is to be recognisable to your market and to not have the professional image of the brand sullied in anyway. Any misuse would reflect poorly on that brand. In the Toastmasters brand they are wanting to portray consistency, communication, leadership and above all self-development.
It takes two however to make a brand. The company who is presenting the brand and the receiver, the potential customer. How do they feel when they come across your brand? Do they have a positive experience or a negative one from what they read, see, touch and experience? The experience you give is crucial to the person receiving on how they view that brand. I experienced a brand recently that brought these points home to me.
I entrusted White Lady Funerals with the funeral for my mother (and they did a great job). I chose them for exactly the reasons I think their brand is aiming to portray. Those living in Australia and New Zealand will know White Lady Funerals and recognise their distinctive uniform.
Their uniform is a large part of their corporate branding. I am guessing but I believe the dignified white suit signifies peace and compassion. The burgundy hat is iconic of the brand and denotes respect. The style of hat, similar to a cowboy hat makes you think these women are strong at a time when you are vulnerable. The uniform, the shoes, stockings suit, gloves and hat make you think these are professional people yet soft and caring. They are capable of getting the job done. They are women so they have a woman’s understanding. All of these reasons were why I chose them.
I had not realised at the time that they were only in Australia, NZ and Singapore as their parent company is a multinational one and White Lady Funerals brings in their parent company big dividends. Due to my use of them I learnt something that we should all be aware of when we come to brand naming – how will that brand name be experienced by our market and those potential markets? If White Lady’s wanted to spread their wings further and perhaps get a foothold in the USA would they have the same result? I received an email from a friend in the USA shortly after the funeral. He said. “I was so relieved to understand why the White Ladys are so named. From their uniform rather than from any racist connotation.” I wondered how many others thought of them as the Ku Klux Clan of funerals. An image far from the truth and certainly one they wouldn’t want associated with them. Sadly, it showed me the difference in culture and sensitivities between Australia and the USA.
It made me think and hence it is my thought for this week – think carefully before creating your brand name, the ramifications could be immense.