While it may not be the first consideration of an established business it is a key feature in the age of digital marketing. Without a consistent theme and face for your brand your business is not well equipped to compete in today’s marketplace. Brand identity is certainly taken into account in new businesses within your niche, and most new businesses have a single brand message that translates not only online in both their website and social media outlets, but offline in their daily marketing materials. If you are an established business who hasn’t yet defined your company with a brand, or your not absolutely positive as to what message your brand says about you then you need to put some urgent effort into developing, or defining it..
One of the first things to establish within your organization as you set out to define your brand is the differences between your company’s “brand” and it’s “identity”. When you think of popular brands such as Sainsbury’s do you instantly think of the orangeSainsbury’s logo? Well that is not it’s brand, that would be their logo, and a logo is not to be confused with a brand. A logo is part of a company’s identity, as is anything visual that represents the company, it’s ads and it’s printed materials. But a brand includes much more than a logo or visual elements.
A brand encompasses a company’s specific unique selling proposition (USP), in the case of Sainsbury’s it’s “Try Something New Today”. Your brand also defines your company by it’s differentiating quality, such that your clients instantly recognizes it. Your brand is your company’s emotional perception as defined by your client’s. Now a brand can and should be developed with great care in connection with your design company, but it can only truly be defined by your client’s or customers. It’s consumers that decide what your brand is about. However, you should set up your brand so that the client see’s your branding message and agrees with it. They need to be able to identify themselves consistently in how they use and think of your company.
So let’s look at some of the most important steps in defining your specific brand to be sure that what your brand is telegraphing to your audience is consistent with your company’s intended messaging.
- Set a goal and make sure it encompasses your future plans. If you want to grow your company and take it to the next level then plan for that. Evaluate where you are now and where you are going. If your going to be increasing your prices or span of services or products, include that perception for the future within your brand now. Keep in mind to stay within reach of how you are perceived now so it’s not too far of a deviation from your current position.
- Keep consistent in all that you do. Your company’s brand should incorporate the core and ideas behind all that you do, own and produce or provide. Its the “what” and “why” your company is in business.
- Work in conjunction with your designer in developing an identity that matches your brand. Having a distinctive visual presence across all communication that your company uses. It’s the first visual that will separate you from your competition and it should reflect the main points above. Make sure that you carry that message consistently in all visuals that your clients or prospects will come into contact with. This means from your website, to your social channels, your brochures, signs and business cards, it all needs to telegraph your consistent visual identity and brand.