3 Essential Tips for a Creating a Lasting Brand Identity
Developing a new brand or renovating a stale brand is an important part of a successful business. Branding determines how others will perceive your company and reflect your businesses’ goals and values. A brand should be lasting and have an impact, so you should put time and effort into developing something great that will last for decades.
There are three critical components to consider when branding or re-branding your company: putting in the proper research, developing goals the right goals & designing the perfect logo.
The first step in creating or renovating a brand identity for your company is to research several things: your company, your competition and your market.
Even if you have a great grasp on your company, or you are rebranding for an already well-established company, you should take some time to research the history, goals, mission and values. Your branding should be reflecting these things, so knowing exactly what they are before you begin is key. Consider interviewing or surveying executives and past high-level employees with questions about how the company was founded and what they believe is the best aspect of the business.
Researching the market is also incredibly important. You should have a good idea of your market’s demographics: age, gender, income, education level and even interests. These elements can determine how your market will perceive your brand. For instance, if you live in a college town, you might consider a more intellectual brand than if you live in an urban area.
The last step is researching your competition. Make a list of your biggest competitors, as well as others in your industry, and see what they are doing in their branding efforts. Check out their advertising and marketing, including website, social media accounts, newspaper and television ads and community outreach. Think about what aspects their brands represent – trustworthiness, friendliness, ease of use – and how they compare to your company’s vision and value.
2. Determine Your Business Goals
Once you have a grasp on your business, market and competition, it’s time to decide what your brand is going to represent. Determine a few key goal, then create a list of words that you’d like your customers to use to describe your business. Brainstorm elements you’d like your brand to include, such as imagery or photography that has meaning to your company. This is also a great time to determine your voice and personality, which will carry through in advertising, marketing, public relations and social media.
Voice and personality are the words behind a visual brand identity, and the tone you’ll use in written communications. Consider sharing your preliminary goals with executives and employees and getting feedback – but try to avoid “design by committee”.
3. Designing your Logo
The logo is the outward symbol for your business brand, so this step should take some time and effort. Leave this portion to a graphic designer or someone with in-depth knowledge of design elements. Think about the colors you’ll use – colors have a powerful effect on decision making and sentiment, and can represent your brand instantly. Other parts of your logo design are fonts and a color palate, as well as how the logo will be used. While your graphic designer is creating your logo, you can create branding guidelines to distribute to employees and outside design vendors.
Make sure your logo can be used on a variety of media and products. You’ll want your logo to look the same on a polo shirt as it does on your business card. Your logo shouldn’t be abstract or difficult to understand – it may be tempting to create a logo with lots of meaning, but it’s better for your logo to be instantly recognizable at a glance.
About the Author: Denise Wilson works with several brand management services. She’s consulted business owners in almost all industries with marketing-related dilemmas.