For the Love of Brands
Every business needs a strong brand that clearly reflects their key strengths and supports their customer proposition. Your brand identity tells your customers who you are, what you do and how you do it.
We are bombarded by brands from the moment we wake up until the minute we go to sleep, experiencing over 6,000 marketing messages in a single day. Even before you leave the house for work, you will have encountered more than 800 brands. From toothpaste to breakfast cereal, mobile phones to newspapers, shoes to light-bulbs!
We are surrounded by familiar brands that are part of our day-to-day life, each competing for recognition and market space. In each case, a creative professional has considered how to generate recognition for the company and desire for the brand. This is applicable whether you are a large multinational or a small start-up business. Every company needs to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to gain greater market share and brand awareness.
So, what's a brand?
A brand is a promise. It's a set of values that customers associate with a product, service or company. It's about their expectations and needs being met. People place such high values on brands that they often fall in love with them, develop long term relationships and invest their loyalty and trust in them. But just like any relationship, if they feel cheated on, they will walk away!
OK, so what's a brand identity?
Keeping up the relationship analogy, a brand identity is a bit like speed dating. Even if you have the nicest brand that does all these wonderful things and has a really great personality, if you show up to the party looking a bit rough around the edges or suffer from a multiple personality disorder, people will never find out about all these wonderful things. They'll move on to the more attractive, sharp, well balanced brand sitting at the next table.
Consistency is key! For a brand to be successful, all applications and extensions of it must be considered. From your website to your business card through to the tone of language used in your written materials. All of this helps reinforce your message and brand values. This can be a relatively simple process when managed and guided by a team of experienced professionals.
And why is a brand important?
Nobody likes to be forgotten. We all like to leave a positive, lasting impression. But in a very crowded marketplace this is becoming very difficult. With so many forms of communication and so many varied formats, having a strong, effective brand will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting that date... oh sorry I meant winning new business! That dating analogy again...
Who needs to create a brand identity?
Maybe you're starting up a new company and you need to look at all of your marketing materials. Things like your stationery, website, vehicle livery, signage. You should look at all the essential tools you and your team will need to effectively market yourselves and your services.
Or maybe it's a new product you're launching and you need to look at packaging, advertising and point of sale materials.
Time for a name change?
Perhaps your company has changed their trading name due to a change in service offering or maybe you have merged with another company? Whatever the driving force may be, you will need to carefully consider the positives and potential negatives associated with such a change. Never underestimate the effect this change may have on both your customer and employee perceptions of the business. It is vital that you carefully plan the rollout of the new brand identity and take a holistic, integrated approach.
In the case of 2 companies merging, you need to inform both client bases of the merger and reassure them of the continued service and support and that this change will be of real benefit to them. Use this as an opportunity to renew your vows with your clients as against getting a divorce!
Time for a refresh?
Maybe you have outgrown your current branding and your service/product offering has changed direction. Are your competitors all rebranding and leaving you behind?
Now is the time to revisit your brand and reconsider what your unique selling proposition is. What differentiates you from your competitors? Even the most successful brands will periodically update and refresh their image to keep them relevant and competitive in an ever-expanding market place. Think of it as spicing up your relationship with your customers. You don't want them getting bored and their eye to start roaming because you've become dull and boring!
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