Written by Alex Valderrama, Founder and Principal of Cranium Agency
Many years ago I worked as a phlebotomist at a major medical center while I attended design school. Little did I know at the time I would be a part of a major branding effort by the hospital’s laboratory. Let me explain. When I was hired, I was always taught to speak in a professional, caring way, and always to dress in black slacks, a belt and a light button up dress shirt. Also, we were required to wear our lab coat with our hospital issued name badge that was to be visible at all times. At the time, I was told that when we entered the patient’s room to draw blood, we were representing the laboratory of the hospital and our contact was most likely the only contact the patient would have with the laboratory. I, of course, did everything the laboratory administrators directed us to do. I quickly found out how much the patients respected the laboratory, our visits to their rooms and the importance of good representation.
After graduating design school and starting my company, I became a student of branding; it’s principles, and I clearly understood the importance of brand loyalty and equity as it directly affects a company’s brand perception. As I reflect back to my early days of representing the laboratory, I can not get over how similar my responsibility as a Phlebotomist was the same as the responsibility that many people have in representing their company – and how important it is to have a strong brand impression that supports the company in its efforts.
Developing a strong brand strategy can be one of the most difficult steps in the marketing plan process. It is often the individual brand element that causes the biggest challenge to most businesses, but it is an integral step in creating the company identity. We compel our clients to wrestle with what their organization truly stands for and what makes them valuable to their customers. Through several workshops, we ask them to think about who they are today, who they aspire to be, and who their customers want them to be.
Finally, a brand is not just a logo or a trademark. A brand is the accumulation of all the touch points your brand has with your current and potentially new customers. This means that every point of contact with customers, partners and suppliers is essential to building those lasting impressions – from the way you answer the phone to individual sales activities. It is important to deliver the right message and stay consistent to achieve your goals.