In general, you obviously know who you are as a company and after brand. Your work is something that you are invested in and you feel assured and confident about.
But without thinking too hard and without confusing the listener, are you able to specifically describe in just a few sentences not only what you do and why you do it, but also why others should jump on board with you and invest their time in your vision?
That is the starting place of building a brand.
Why bother putting all of this time and effort into something that’s sort of intangible? Because it “sets all of your ducks in a row” for your future decisions.
Taking the time to define your brand will save you time, energy, and a heck of a lot of money down the road.
How? Think of how many times you have to repeat your product, service, offerings, mission statement, tone of voice, target market, and everything else comprised under the umbrella of what your business stands for. Not even counting how many ways you have to present yourself to customers. We’re talking about how many times you have to convey this information to people who are responsible for getting those new customers in.
This includes onboarding processes for sales associates, team members, graphic designers, new board members, potential investors, and everyone else who comes in contact with your brand and/or your product and/or your passion.
Typically people are moving so fast that only get a few seconds to pique their interest so whatever you have to say you better make it good. Having a clearly defined brand and a brand identity that is set in temporary stone (3-5 years to keep up with the speed of modern business and technology) puts you in a position where you have the opportunity to consistently build a message with both the inner and outer networks.
Putting that brand identity down on paper gives you were told that you can use and distribute internally so you never have to have those long onboarding conversations ever again. Here are a few examples:
Brand Guidebook for Client, Truth
Brand Identity Design for Client, Xender
As you can see, these designers have created a brand that clearly set out who the company is, how they are to be presented to the world, it tone of voice that is visually communicative, and a consistent design style that will become recognizable across platforms over time.
THAT is why we bother to take the time to put together a visual brand identity and here are the steps you will want to make sure are taking when putting together yours:
1. Covering the Basics
This can be developed in the form of a one- or two-pager brochure that outlines your products, services, benefits, and any other offerings. These should be specifically covered and your content should open in close with words that quickly convey within it for your reader.
2. Digging a Little Deeper
communicate the core values of your company. Tell the story behind your story and say something that genuinely stresses the emotional aspects attached to what you do, why you do it, and why we all should care.
3. Checking the Boxes
as a part of your core values, you want to include your overall mission and any outstanding ethics or corporate culture standards that could serve as a tipping point for customers who are making a purchase decision in a competitive market.
4. Speaking of Customers…
Who are they? Who will truly benefit the most from what you have to offer? Where is the largest pool of buyers who would most likely drop what they’re doing to come and get some of what you’ve got? Be specific here and try for the love of all that is golden to avoid saying that your product is for everyone. Unless you’re selling oxygen in a tree shortage, your product is not for everyone. Not everyone is going to care equally about what you’re selling. Be honest and realistic about who your audience truly is and let’s make a brand that they can have all especially suited for them. That’s how you build brand loyalty.
5. Customer Experience and User Personas
Personas are imaginary customers built for the purpose practicing how we preach.
When a marketing or design team has an example human being to focus on while developing their strategies and design materials, it is much easier to produce on target final products. For example, the way we position a brand to be appealing for early 40s soccer moms is a very different approach than we would take when building a brand identity targeted toward teenage boys.
By having a person or “persona” in mind, it’s 10 times more likely that your message will hit home with your target market.
When crafting the most effective brand message, remember to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and not approach it from a seller’s role because otherwise the recipient of your message will not be affected by your design because it was not crafted for them, it was made for you.
6. Perception is Everything
you could be the greatest friend in the world and growing money trees in your backyard but if you don’t present yourself in that fashion, it won’t matter at all.
Make sure that your new brand identity speaks to the personality that you want your audience to perceive. Is your brand sophisticated and knowledgeable or energetic and creative? Are you personable and crafty or should you be approached as an authority figure whose word should be bond?
How you want to be perceived is entirely up to you and making sure that image is clearly communicated is the job of your visual brand identity and the specific contents you communicate (for example with your tagline, social media, and blog posts).
What it all comes down to…
With all of these areas addressed you can now build a profile for your brand that you can share with all stakeholders and key contributors through one branded document called your corporate style guide.
With this clear and precise foundation, you are able to approach any new marketing initiatives and product expansion needs with clear direction and a well-planned purpose. For this reason alone defining your brand identity and getting in a tangible form that you can share with others should become the top priority of every business, organization, and product platform that has not yet done so.