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Your brand is not your logo; it is the very essence of your organisation, and as such, understanding its importance, shaping it and communicating it is central to ensuring that your key audiences have the right impression.

It is surprising, then, how many organisations have not taken the time to really get to grips with what makes up their brand. Without a set of targeted, key brand messages, your communications activity will be unfocussed and ineffective.

Your brand messages are not just what you think your organisation is about. Each message has to be three things: TRUE, RELEVANT (to your audiences), and DIFFERENTIATING.

It is no good, for example, saying you want cutting-edge innovation to be a key brand message if your organisation is very traditional. It simply won’t ring true, and your audiences will then not trust anything else you say. Building the brand you want to project is as much about understanding what you need to do as understanding what you need to say.

Newman Associates has developed an extremely effective process to help organisations create a set of focussed and honest brand values. Involving both internal and external stakeholders (including clients and suppliers), this should be a vital part of kick-starting any PR campaign; equally, it can be a useful tool in driving forward organisational change, including mergers and acquisitions.