What is it and why do I need one?
Many companies believe that having a logo means having a brand. In reality a logo is the tip of a very large iceberg; it's a very important signal but it's only a small fraction of the greater depth. It's important to realize, you already have a brand in the eyes of your customer whether you want it or not. When they look at your site, your product, your packaging, your advertisements or even your employees they're already forming an impression of your business; that impression is your brand and it's what they'll remember about you and what they'll be discussing with others. In practical terms, this greatly effects profit, customer turnover, and referrals. Make sure your impression a good one.
What makes a brand identity good?
Great brand identities are built outward from your core vision and mission. They speak to a targeted group and promise them your value. To be memorable they must be authentic and unique; to be useful they must be consistent and flexible. The best brands build loyalty which can account for massive gains in revenue, and can even matter more than the product itself!
Figuring out all of what that means is an intrinsic part of the branding process.
The Five Keys:
Although there are as many different ways to break down the complexity of brand development as there are brands themselves, the method my clients and I have benefited from relies on developing five interconnected components:
- Character: What is your vision and mission? What value do you provide your customers? Who do your customers aspire to be? What core philosophies do you embody?
- Logo: Your logo is the signal to the world of what they can expect from you. It's the opening sentence of your story and the beginning of your promise.
- Identity System: This system describes the visual communication style of your brand, such as: color, shape, layout, fonts, and graphics that appear across all media.
- Voice: This is your brand culture and personality. It's your written communication style and describes how you engage with your market.
- Brand Book: The first four keys don't do anyone much good if nobody knows how to use them, the brand book is a how-to for staying consistent with your brand. A great example can be seen in the famous Skype brand books here and here.
What you can expect when working with me
- We get to know each other! The best work comes when we are able to effectively communicate so that I can fully understand your business and your goals.
- Defining your vision, mission, target market, and value proposition. Building "Character."
- Research, and lots of it, to help determine the best approach for engaging your market.
- Strategy! Turning all of that definition and research into an executable plan.
- With a well rounded Character and a good strategy in hand we can begin developing your Voice. We don't need anything final just yet, but we need to figure out your brand's personality. We will continue to define and revise your Voice throughout the rest of the process.
- We make a Logo and start testing it!
- Based on the final approved and test logo, and a clear-er Voice, we develop your Identity System and try it out.
- Finally, a comprehensive Brand Book is compiled for your team! By using it to create consistent experiences you'll grow your business and build a loyal customer base.
A great way to start building awareness
Now that you have a brand it's time to start putting it to work! Marketing collateral is everything you need to run your business and generate awareness at the same time. It's your business cards, letterhead, mailers, pens and company t-shirts. Collateral is built using your Brand Identity and is one of the most direct ways to connect with your audience and customers. The best part about brand collateral is that it can, and typically should, change with each new market strategy; allowing you to present a fresh and exciting face without risking brand inconsistency.