What is a brand? The best definition we can find is this:
“A brand is a promise which when kept, creates preference”
Brands are often directly associated with logos, slogans, advertising campaigns and organisational names, but these are just outlets for the brand identity – in reality, a brand is far more emotional in nature and is tied to ideas of trust and reputation.
This means your brand is closely connected to the way in which the market thinks and feels, and it has to offer a promise to meet the expectations of that market – if that promise is kept, customers will form an emotional preference for your brand.
Here are four steps you need to take when branding your business, to help ensure it forms emotional connections and inspires loyalty.
1. Define the organisation’s Unique Value Proposition
What do you offer?
Internal stakeholder interviews
Small one on one interviews and focus groups with key members of staff to establish how the brand is currently perceived. Develop a specific survey that uncovers unique insights regarding strengths, weaknesses, the mission, the vision, market perception and target audiences.
Auditing and assessing current marketing communications materials and strategies in order to understand how the organisation has presented itself to date. Establish patterns and inconsistencies in the delivery of key messages in the product/service offerings.
How do the key sales people position the company? Establish what it is they believe to be its unique qualities.
What does the market want?
Understanding how competitors position themselves will inform how you can uniquely position your brand in relation to this competitive landscape.
Understand how the customers make their decisions and what emotional responses engaged them. As with the internal stakeholder interviews, focus groups, surveys and interviews should all be used.
Prospects are a high value research opportunity in that they usually have very recent experience of the competition (weaknesses, strengths and missed opportunities) and can freely discuss, without obligation, their thoughts and feelings on their experience. These surveys can be conducted in person, over the phone or online.
2. Develop the proposition
Develop an identity based upon the unique value proposition that communicates effectively to customers, staff and prospects, paying particular attention to what it is that makes your business different.
- Colour schemes
- Tone of voice
- Wider application.
3. Document the proposition
Effective business branding needs to be consolidated, documented and distributed to make sure it’s applied consistently and all but eliminate the risk of releasing anything that’s not on-brand.
This is particularly important if your business is likely to work closely with any third parties, such as an agency.
If branding isn’t consistent across all platforms, it can send out mixed messages to customers and have a negative impact on the overall experience.
Core brand guidelines
Some elements of the brand should rarely change and will be commonly used throughout all marketing channels for the foreseeable future.
- Logo and its application
• Typefaces / fonts and their relationships to each other
- Colour schemes and how they are applied.
Extended brand guidelines
Markets change and you should be able to adapt and extended brand guidelines allow you to do just that.
- Tone of voice
- Associated imagery and styles
- Supporting brand elements including graphics
- Usage of the brand in relation to specific platforms.
4. Brand rollout
As soon as you begin to implement the new brand, you need to ensure its guidelines are strictly adhered to through all communications channels, both above and below the line.
At this point, if not before, it’s advisable to appoint a brand manager or guardian to oversee this rollout and all future application of the brand.
Is your business brand in need of an overhaul? Get in touch with the team at EdgeThreeSixty to see how we can assist with all manner of brand-related services, including strategy preparation, identity and concept development, logo design and production, and more.