If your brand needs some urgent attention and you aren’t sure where to begin, or you are just starting out and need some help understanding how to craft your image, take a look at our 5 step list of brand-building essentials.
1. Decide what you stand for
A strong company culture, or “internal brand”, is an important factor in the success or failure of your public-facing brand. It ensures that what is being conveyed about your company is based on truth, rather than being a superficial stance.
For your internal brand to work, everyone within your organisation needs to be aligned in what they are trying to achieve. This is why we recommend involving as many people as possible, not just the marketing team, in the early development stages.
Depending on the size of your company, a team workshop, email survey, or interactive mood board could help you identify what it is that makes your company special. The things that you should look to define are your:
- Vision – your company’s big-picture, un-attainable ambition
- Values – beliefs and core drives shared by all company employees
- Key Attributes – your company’s functional and emotional strengths
2. Understand what your customers are looking for
Gathering insight before commencing your project gives you an overview of how your company is presenting itself currently and where it sits in the market, as well as whom your target audience are and how they tick.
This is an important step for any branding or rebranding project, and something that should be kept on top of even once the project is complete. Depending on your budget and time restrictions, the insight gathering can be more or less in depth.
Whether undertaking desk research, web analysis, interviews or surveys, you should make sure that you have a good understanding of your:
- Competitors – what they offer and how they portray themselves
- Customers – what they do and what would make this easier or better
- Industry – changes in your sector that could impact your company
3. Find a fit between your offering and your customer needs
A good brand will be true to your company’s strengths and relevant to your customers needs, while also differentiating your company from the competition.
There is never a single correct answer as to what you should focus on in order to stand out, but you should avoid trying to be all things to all people. For this reason, it is helpful to map out a number of completely different prototypes as a starting point, before assessing the pros and cons and deciding on a single direction to pursue.
There is bound to be debate about which is the “right” approach. A new brand will affect many aspects of the business, and so it is worth considering the opinions of different people within the company, before making a final decision. With this step, you should look to define your:
- Positioning – what you do, who you do it for and why you are different
- Promise – the value you deliver all of your customers, all the time
- Proposition – what you do to ensure your promise is always fulfilled
4. Turn your positioning into a big idea
Once you have established what it is that makes your company unique, and how this distinction will appeal to your customers, the next step is to bring that to life with a creative concept.
The creative concept encapsulates the strategy and messaging behind your brand, tying all the details together with a simple, differentiating and emotionally engaging idea.
Considering the brand as whole, rather than just the external-facing component, will help you to deliver a consistent, inside-out brand experience. For this reason, we recommend that you consider the following when developing your brand idea:
- Brand Essence – an internal summary of what your company stands for
- Personality – the traits that make up your company’s character
- Brand Idea – a creative concept that will guide all external branding
5. Execute this idea consistently across customer touch points
Some forward planning will help to create a more co-ordinated and effective brand experience, where all customer touch points and communications are pushing in the same direction.
Creating guides to what your brand looks and sounds like, not only clarifies the style for those involved in the development, but will also enable different people within your company to pick up and make use of the finished product.
Putting upfront thought into your communication strategy, including your content and digital channels, will give you a definitive picture of what you are trying to achieve and how you’re going to do that.
The following guides and planning will help you to deliver a consistent and compelling brand experience:
- Visual Identity – a design style guide for personality and consistency
- Tone of Voice – a writing style guide for personality and consistency
- Communication Strategy – how you’ll reach the right people with the right message, at the right time
How can we help you?
Design Culture is a strategic design, brand and digital agency. Experts across our different service areas work together at every stage of our brand development projects, to ensure that we are focusing on the whole picture. We take time to understand what it is that makes you tick, why you’re better than your competitors, what your customers need and want, and the environment that you operate in. We plot out a compelling stake in the ground that will appeal to your audience and set you apart from the crowd. And then we use our expertise in design and digital to set about proving that position to the world.