“Brand,” is one of the hottest words in business today, but does anyone really know what it means? The common misconception is that a brand is a logo or a style guide, but while those things are certainly brand components, they are not the brand.
A brand speaks to an overall feeling. It’s what people think or feel about a company or product. That’s why creating a brand is not something that you should take lightly. There are many things that must be carefully considered. Remember, your brand is your lasting impression and it’s what will ultimately set you apart from your competition.
We are going to share 3 things to remember when building a brand and show you how we did it with our most recent branding effort for ATX HR.
Take your time and never skip or cut corners on research. It’s important to know who your audience is, what they want, and how they feel when they think about or interact with your brand? One of the most effective ways to answer those questions is by conducting focus groups, paying close attention to the words and themes that emerge from the feedback. This will help you define your audience’s language and how they want to receive information and communication from you. In addition to the key words and phrases, consider your creative design. Colors and shapes evoke feelings, so it’s important that these elements reflect the way that you want people to feel about you.
We kicked off our ATX HR project by interviewing the Founders Angie Cartwright and Praneeth Patlola to understand the beginnings of the organization, how it has grown over the last four years, and where they see it going in the future. We also wanted to know what they want the new brand and messaging to do for their organization. In addition to wanting an awesome logo, there was the desire to be recognized as a credible professional HR organization without losing the fun laidback feel that made them different.
After our talk with the Founders, we interviewed several members and sponsors to see what they love about the meetup, what keeps them coming back, how it’s different from competitors, and how they see the organization growing and evolving in the future. What we learned was that more than anything the ATX HR Meetup is a welcoming and friendly place. Every, literally everyone we interviewed mentioned feeling welcomed, included, and that they’d met a new “HR Friend” at the first meeting. They also felt like they received all of the benefits of a traditional HR professional organization—SHRM PDU learning credits, great speakers, relevant topic—without it feeling too formal and “businessy.” Finally, they were impressed that the organization had been able to thrive and provide all of those benefits without having a formal structure. The meetup was lead and backed by a community of HR Professional and thought leaders who are passionate about HR.
What people hear, what they see, and their experience creates the story and impression they have about your product, service, or organization. They combine to create your brand, so you want everything to be authentically you. You want it to look like you, sound like you, and feel like you. Authenticity establishes credibility, and your message must be consistent throughout everything you do. From messaging you send out through various media platforms to your website, to podcasts, to the culture of your company—everything needs to work together to establish a unified brand that people can identify and trust.
Powered by Passion
Armed with rich information gained from our interviews with members and sponsors, we were able to find ATX HR’s authentic truth—they are Powered by Passion and that passion shows up in four ways: Passion for People, Partnership, Possibility, and Place. Check out the story for each value below…
Passion for People
Everyone has a place here. You will always be greeted with a smile and even if you don’t know anyone when you get here, you will know someone when you leave. We are your meaningful connection to the local HR community. We are your HR Friends.
Passion for Partnership
We believe the path forward is paved together. Every program we offer, every relationship developed between our members, and every sponsor and presenter who supports our efforts allows us to grow the capabilities of Austin’s HR community and enhance the reputation of the profession we love.
Passion for Possibility
We are a community of learners constantly looking ahead to see what’s next. What is demanded of us changes at the speed of business and we are willing to take risks and push boundaries to stay one step ahead of our customers.
Passion for Place
Austin is home and just like the city from which we get our name, what makes us weird makes us special. We’re laid back, we love music, and we’re not afraid to be different.
Evolution is Inevitable.
While consistency is king when it comes to your brand, you must also understand that a brand is a living, breathing thing, and some elements of it will evolve over time. We’re not saying it’s ok to change your logo every year or even every 5 years (please don’t do that), what we’re saying is it’s ok, and necessary, for a brand to grow/change/evolve with the business and with your audience. It’s a never-ending cycle of always being aware of who your audience is, and “tweaking” your message as both you and your audience grow.
Finally, when it comes to branding, the one thing to keep in mind is that feeling is what drives loyalty. When someone feels good about a brand, they support it—it’s that simple. In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s what branding is all about.
ATX HR is just getting started and we are so grateful that they allowed us to come on their journey. We can’t wait to see what next for them as the meetup and brand awareness continues to grow.
If you need help establishing or growing a brand CONTACT US. We’d love to chat with you!