Your brand’s identity is one of the most important assets in determining the inevitable success or downfall of your business. The first step is making sure you have the right strategy in place from the beginning. So now I’ve got you thinking, do I need to brand my business? What on earth are you are talking about? I already have a logo! Isn’t that all I need??
There is more to your brand identity than just a logo or a graphic. Brand identity is the collaboration of a number of factors that work together to help you achieve success. At Launchpad, we help develop your brand’s identity from the ground up to help you ‘growth hack’ your way to success.
1. Brand Guidelines?
Developing a brand for your company… What does that actually mean? You can’t half-arse your branding, so don’t think of your brand as just a logo. When developing your brand, it is a good idea to follow a branding guideline. Here’s a few simple tips on how to improve your brand’s identity and make it memorable for your target audience:
- Brand colors
- The “voice” used in your branded materials
- Fonts and typography
- Mascots and spokespeople
Having a brand guideline like this can help everyone within your company stay consistent and contribute to the development of a strong brand identity. Without a basic guideline, you run the risk of your brand lacking the consistency and direction needed for success.
Air Asia’s Brand Guidelines for the 10-Year Brand Refresh. Source: Interstate
2. Knowing your audience before establishing who you are
Focusing on building an audience before you build a brand is like trying to find a job before you have a resume. You want your audience to remember your brand, and be at the forefront of their minds, before you start reaching out to them personally.
When people think of Social Networking, they think of Facebook. When they think of fast-food, they think of McDonald’s. If you don’t have a brand for people to identity with, then how are they going to remember you?
In order to capture your audience, you need to create a positive and influential relationship with them so that they think highly of you. Your audience will then continue to stay friends with you because you share similar values and enrich their lives.
3. Overcomplicating your brand
Look at the revolution and rebrands of some of the most iconic organisations in the world. Understanding their reasoning and learning from these big brands help us to incorporate their philosophies into our own branding today – paving the way for our own success.
Take Nike for example and the evolution of their brand from 1971 to 1995. Their logo has developed from displaying a name and icon, to being solely an icon, yet the brand today is equally as influential as it was in the 70’s. So how did they do it? Simply put, they had the correct strategy in place when developing their brand identity. They didn’t over complicate their concept, but instead kept it simple and attractive.
When implementing your own brand identity strategy, you need to steer clear of over complicating your company’s branded elements and allow the design to stay clean and simple. Following simple strategies like this will entice your audience to remember and recognise the brand – a step closer to success!
The evolution of Nike’s brand. Source: Complex
4. ‘Flirting’ with your guidelines
So you have decided to do the right thing by implementing a brand identity guideline? Great! Though in the meantime you have decided to introduce a sub brand or a new product and you want to go outside your colour palette… Now what do I do, you ask? Just do it!
But remember it slowly deviates from your brand guidelines and may slightly dilute its power. Introducing a new brand image to your customers means that you start at square one, meaning customers have to develop a new relationship with the introduced product. But that’s okay! We all like mixing it up and keeping things new and exciting in our relationships!
5. Not having a policy associated with your brand
It’s all well and good to have a well thought out brand identity, but without the correct monitoring, others may take advantage and mimic your brand. Sharing your brand’s’ identity, even if it’s unintentional, may diminish your brand’s values.
Allowing others feature your logo with the wrong colours, modifying your logo to suit their needs, or simply not having a backlink to your business can reduce the quality you have developed to be associated with your brand. Don’t be afraid to take legal action if necessary to protect the values of your brand.
6. Poor re-branding decisions
You know the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’? That’s completely true if your re-branding is proving to be fruitful, but if it’s not, then don’t sit back twiddling your thumbs…fix it! Good planning and thinking on your feet is the key to branding success.
Rebranding can give your business the facelift it needs to renew pride, instill confidence and encourage your audience to develop a better understanding of your organisation. But beware! This decision is not to be taken lightly. Weighing up whether the benefits outweigh the risks will help you make an informed decision on your re-branding prospects. Re-branding can reduce the connection you have already made with your customers so be careful with the strategy you put in place.
The ill-fated rebrand of Mastercard’s iconic logo. Source: FastPrint
7. Ignoring your audience and social media? Bad idea!
Lastly, and most importantly, consider your audience. “Why should we listen to them? They don’t know how to run your business.” While this may be true, they are still pivotal to determining the success of your endeavors.
Imagine your target audience as a single person, and your brand as a single person. What type of person would you like your audience to respect and identify with? Incorporating such a personality into your brand identity will help to attract a desirable market. The identity you’ve created will be reflected across all mediums and your identity is often displayed on your social media account before you even realise it!
The user persona of a target audience. Source: 4 Mobile App Trends of 2016
Social media is a battleground for reputation. If someone had a bad experience with your service, your social media followers are going to be the first to know. Be sure to monitor your social media pages and audience to prevent any negative feedback that could diminish the reputation and identity your business has created. So listen to your audience! Just like your mother, chances are they know what’s best!