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James Brooker
Strategic Business Manager, LoveAdmin

Getting your brand right is one of the most important jobs you can do. It’s the first look a potential customer has into who you are, and why they should choose to give you their money or join your classes. Your brand doesn’t need to be complicated, quite the opposite in fact.

The best gymnastics, dance, drama, and sports club brands are simple, focusing on one or two values that really matter and making them visible across every area of the organisation.

What is my brand?

Your brand tells your customers and members who you are, and what you believe in. It’s a combination of physical things such as your logo, your uniforms, your website and how your facilities look, alongside things like the way you talk to customers, how you train your staff, and the overall feeling of your organisation.

If you think of the most famous companies in the world, they all have a brand that will tell you all you need to know about them and what they stand for. Apple’s branding makes you think their product is premium and cutting edge, making you trust them when you spend £1,000 on a new phone. The beer makers at BrewDog have worked hard to build a brand that makes them seem edgy, going against the grain of big beer players such as Budweiser or Heineken. Your brand can be seen as a way of communicating to the world and telling them what you do, and why you do it.

Why does it matter?

Now more so than ever, customers want to feel a connection to the organisations they’re interacting with, particularly when it comes to classes, courses or membership. Even the smallest of clubs need to have a consistent set of values for members to link with. Assembling those values into a single brand makes those values accessible to new members coming into your club. When a customer or member has found that your values link to their own, the chances of them being a part of your club will increase massively. A good brand will mean you can sell an experience, not just a product or class. In industries where leavers and customer relationships are vital, the overall experience your members receive from your club is much more important than the product on its own.

Bring your team together

Whilst branding can be an invaluable tool externally, helping to attract new members and keeping hold of existing ones, it carries an added bonus that’s often overlooked. Your brand will also give your team an umbrella they can all stand under. By having shared values, your team members will work closer and better together, and the quality of their work will increase. There’s a proven link between the happiness of your team, and the happiness of your members or customers.

Several high-profile American universities that have completed studies into the impact of brands have concluded that even in the smallest of organisations, whether not for profit or commercial, the strength of their brand has a big impact on how their staff work together as a team. A brand will improve how fulfilled they feel in their work, as they understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and match their own values to that of the organisation. If you’ve ever been in an organisation where the team appears divided by age or nationality, that’s because their internal branding is not strong enough to overcome those differences and merge the team into one culture and one shared identity. To quote a director of the WWF, “Our brand is the single biggest asset that our network has, and it’s what keeps everyone together.”

Where do I start?

It’s easy and frankly natural to be a little overwhelmed when confronted with the task of turning your passion and thoughts into a brand that makes sense and can be understood easily. This daunting task shouldn’t put you off, as the value of brand creation is huge.

Try starting with what you want to achieve, what’s the core goal of why you do what you do? Use that idea to form your ‘mission statement’, your reason for existing as an organisation. In a nutshell, that’s the core of your brand. After that point, add in values that are important to your organisation or to you as its leader, whether that be a sense of adventure, or compassion, or a focus on improving the community around you. The foundation of all good brands starts with these principles.

How do I make it real?

Now that you’ve found your core values, it’s time to flesh these out into a physical thing throughout your whole organisation. In the simplest of terms, try answering these questions to point you in the right direction to build your brand.

  1. How can your customers visually see your values? Think of logos, uniforms, websites, your tone of voice and writing style. How do your classes and sessions fit the style of your organisation?
  2. How well do all your team know and understand your principles? Have you asked your team for their feedback? How can you get your team to be an active part of your brand?
  3. How do you tell the story of your organisation? Does it lead your customers to think about your values and principles?
  4. Is your message consistent right the way across your business?

As soon as you’ve got these four elements working for you, your brand will appear, and you’ll start to see the value it creates for your organisation.

Unlocking the power of your brand

As we’ve discussed, a brand is so much more than just a logo or corporate fluff. Your brand will decide how customers see you in the world. It can make you stand out from the crowd and direct customers to you rather than your competition and in doing so, will build trust in your organisation. Customers or members would far rather commit to an organisation with values that are clearly visible and match their own, especially with things like membership over a long period of time.

It’s important to generate an emotional connection, particularly in organisations that often become pillars in their local communities. A strong brand will create a connection between you and your customers, you’ll gain their loyalty as they’ll relate to the core values of your brand. How do you want your customers to think and feel when they join you?

No time like the present

There’s no need to panic if you’ve been operating for several years without having really thought about the importance of your brand, but you should do something about it. Brand building has become an important part of the modern organisation. By breaking the task down into the small chunks we’ve described, you’ll be able to build a brand that both your team and customers love, bringing in new customers and stopping old ones from leaving.

Would you like more personalised commercial advice and business partnering to unlock the potential in your organisation? LoveAdmin customers can receive help from our inhouse Strategic Business Manager James at no extra cost, just email your request into jbrooker@loveadmin.com


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