Gillian Horan of The Pudding brand agency was one of our mentors this year and loads of you contacted us hoping to get some advice from her. Here, she answers some of your most common questions

Gilian Horan of The Pudding brand agency answers your questions.

We think we went wrong when naming our brand – what do we do?

I get asked this question a lot. First of all your brand name is only one part of your brand. It is very important but the level of its importance depends on the type of business you are in and how it is impacting your business. So if your brand name is negatively impacting the business then you will need to think about changing it. It is massive step to take especially if your business is a few years old. People know who you are; they recognise your brand name and logo. If you go down the rebrand road it should be seen as an investment because you will only be rebranding if it is going to positively impact the business. Advantages of rebranding include having the opportunity to remind the world of who you are and what you do. If what you do is changing then this might be the perfect time to change. If you brand name reflects your business as it was 10 years and that doesn’t fit to where you are now, what you do and who you do it for, then a change might need to happen.

What is your advice for creating a cohesive brand strategy?

Start at the beginning. It sounds very obvious but I promise it doesn’t always go that way. If you have an existing brand you need to do a health check to see the good, the bad and ugly. You then need to set some brand objectives: Short, Medium and Long Term. If you don’t have goals and objectives it is very hard to make key branding decisions. From there I would decide and confirm your brand values, personality traits, brand promise, and key messages. When you really look at these vital elements of your brand, ad hoc decisions will be much easier to make. For example – what content should I be putting out through digital marketing? What marketing campaigns should I be running? Who will be my next hire?

How do I ensure my team are all on board with what our brand is and that they communicate it effectively?

First of all make sure you and any other directors are 100% clear on the brand. Develop a brand book / bible – so this would contain key branding areas such as the strategy, identity, experience etc. This is a great exercise for you to do as it really makes your question all the elements on your brand. During this process I always recommend involving some of the team. For one, your team will appreciate being asked and secondly they will have insights about your brand that you may not know. Once you have that in place, it is time to talk to the entire team and this time it is about confirming exactly where the brand is right now and where you want it to be in the future. And don’t stop there – do regular sessions on branding. One last thing if you have a business that regularly interacts with your customers, which most of us do, then you need to train customer facing staff on your Brand Experience. In this scenario, think about what you want your customers to experience each and every time they interact with your brand. If your staff don’t know then your customers will most definitely feel that.

Inform | Inspire | Indulge