You’re thinking about whether or not you and your business or organization needs to invest in developing your brand. Here are four things you need to consider when thinking about your brand.
EMERGING IDENTITY = Brand Strategy
You are just starting up your business and have been focused entirely on your model and offerings. And, you have yet to develop a strategy and identity that will differentiate from your competitors as you enter the market. What you need is a brand strategy that will help align your business and marketing communications strategies.
Ask Yourself: What risk do I face if I do not have a brand strategy when competing in the market? How might having a brand strategy help build awareness and communicate the unique value I offer to the market and make the world a better place?
Do: Spend time reviewing all the materials and activities in this guidebook, including: Audience Mapping, Brand Guide Development, and Present/Future Position Mapping. Consider hiring a brand strategy and design agency, like LimeRed, if you’d like an expert to complete this work for you or to facilitate the process. A brand strategy means more than having a designed logo, you need a strategic vision for how all of your design assets communicate an effective and desired identity, and an action plan for how it should be managed over time.
MAJOR CHANGE = Rebrand
Businesses sometimes invest in a complete rebrand because of major internal or external changes. It could be anything from a sudden change in leadership or a merger, resulting in a shift in priorities or vision for your business. Or, it could be a tweak to a fundamental service or product line the business provides. Also, it could be that the market or trends have changed since you began. Your business needs to adapt to remain competitive and relevant.
Ask Yourself: If I do not adapt to the changing market or address emerging issues in the world, how will this impact my business?
Do: Focus on on reviewing the Present/Future activity to help better understand how you may need to reposition your business. Be sure to include stakeholders or conduct research, such as interviews or surveys, to validate your findings in the positioning activity. Work could then be focused on updating your messaging and overall design of your visual identity.
DISUNITY = Optimizing Culture
Another reason businesses begin thinking about their brand is because not everyone has a unified vision of what the brand is. No one can seem to agree on who you are, why you exist, what makes you different, or where you’re going. Optimizing your organization’s culture through branding can energize and unify your teams by creating consensus on your position, beliefs, values, and personality. When the internal team has a unified vision, communicating that to the public is a lot easier and more impactful.
Ask Yourself: What does my team currently believe and value about my business, does it align with my vision as a business leader?
Do: Consider focusing on Developing Your Guide with your whole team. Review the Purposeful Branding section to to better prepare for team engagement and opportunities to create a shared and meaningful experience for everyone. Everyone should walk out having a better sense of what you believe and value, how you would like to be seen, and the general tone in which you should speak to your audiences.
PERCEPTION SHIFT = Optimizing Design
Sometimes what our audiences perceive is very different than what we communicate. You might say, “We are an innovative business exploring concepts in data and health.” But what people perceive might be, “Their ads look old and too corporate, so maybe they are a traditional pharmaceutical company.” This is a problem of brand perception. If you don’t identify it or address it, this will be the thing that you will always be known for in that person’s mind. Fortunately, there are some things you can do. First, you’ll need to learn how people currently perceive you by capturing honest feedback. Second, you’ll need to look at your various touchpoints to optimize your design and consider how they communicate your brand.
Ask Yourself: What are my assumptions about my audience perception of my brand? How might I validate these assumptions, improve perceptions, and strengthen relationships?
Do: Invest in better knowing your audiences by conducting research into their experiences with your brand. Try to focus on gaining general qualitative insights into their experiences. Then consider focusing again on your brand guide to develop new policies or processes to help change these experiences—ensuring audience experiences are aligned with your business and brand goals.
If you need a bit more insight on the things you need to think through before investing in your brand, consider reading this quick primer.