Successful integrated branding helps businesses to increase recognition among potential and build loyalty among existing ones. It helps enterprises differentiate from the competition and clearly communicate the company’s offering and quality of product or service.
Today, with the ever-growing options of media, and with target customers engaging in diverse media, the need for compelling and consistent branding is stronger than ever before.
Here are a few basic steps to creating strong branding for your enterprise:
Evaluate your Identity
The starting point is an identity audit. Evaluate your current identity for consistency, continuity and positioning. Analyse strengths and weaknesses. Identify corporate identity issues. Evaluate brand architecture and logos, typefaces, graphics, messages, tag lines, theme lines, and the standards system. Visit the identity usage across all company materials, e.g., advertising, websites, sales materials, stationery, signage, trade show booth, packaging and multimedia tools. This will help you decide whether you need a complete re-brand or brand uplift.
Know your user and market
Brand design is not fine art. Just concentrating on aesthetics won’t cut it. A brand needs to make the right impression on its potential buyers. It needs to communicate certain qualities and evoke particular emotions. Research helps to understand consumers demographically and psychographically; delve deeper into their preferences, motivations and pain points; find out how and where they like being communicated with.
Further research is called for to understand the market. Who are your competition, what are they doing, what’s working and what isn’t, what are the new trends and positions in the market. Such information can help you to avoid similarities with competitor brands so you develop a unique and efficient brand identity.
Define your brand position, brand personality and brand story
Brand position defines your business’s unique value – what it delivers and how it is different from the competitors. Brand personality includes traits or values you want your brand to be associated with. Brand story helps add interest and credibility. These aspects are key to understanding the brand before you get into developing the visual brand identity.
Create a strong, unique visual brand identity
‘Visual brand identity’ comprises the actual visual devices used for integrated branding. These typically include:
- Logo: is the basic mark of brand identity, the most prominent symbol of brand image and the foundation of effective marketing strategy.
- Tagline: expresses your promise or corporate goal or strength
- Font, colour & visual palette: these should be clearly defined and maintained; fonts can even be created for your brand
- Stationery: the vehicles of your business communication – business cards, letterheads, envelopes
- Marketing materials: flyers, product catalogues, brochures
- Packaging & products: the labelling and packaging of your products
- Signage: the branding at your office or retail premises, both inside and outside
- Style guide or corporate identity manual: a standards handbook to ensure your brand identity is maintained and followed with consistency across applications – both printed and digital
While messaging may be tailored to each of these, ensure consistency of visual brand identity across all. People should recognise your brand instantly when seeing it, regardless of which medium or device it is on.
Select your channels
You don’t have to be everywhere all the time. Research will tell you which media will deliver better ROI, which channels are used by your target audience, and which channels will help you achieve your business objectives. For example, if yours is a niche industrial product, you don’t need to advertise in a general interest magazine. Or if research tells you your customers favour LinkedIn, you don’t need to be on Facebook. Select the more relevant and cost-effective media for your communication and branding.
Ensure consistency and integration
Consistent content is crucial to successful branding. Content should be clear, compelling and easily adapted to suit different channels or media. And all communication should be integrated, creating a holistic image for your brand.
Managing your corporate or brand identity is also critical to achieving successful identity integration. This will help to maximize brand equity, minimize misuse, and reinforce the desired positioning.
Partnering with an experienced brand consultancy can make a difference. Interics Designs is a strategic brand consultancy and multidisciplinary design agency with over 2 decades of experience in image building and brand promotion for leading B2B brands. Their Frugal BrandingTM is specially designed to cater to the branding needs of startups and small enterprises. Talk to Interics to see how they can create a more powerful and relevant brand for your business – with corporate identity programme, brand architecture and integrated branding.