A healthy dose of strategy and creativity is likely what it needs.
In a nutshell, effective brand development is a method or process by which a company or organization purposefully creates a strong and compelling brand. A brand that captures and retains hearts and minds. In our view, it is a careful combination of strategic thinking and creative risk-taking.
Brand development can be broken down into three main phases:
Creating a clear and cohesive brand strategy that is meticulously aligned with company and organizational objectives.
Designing a brand identity that is the consistent look and feel of your brand including your logo, messaging, graphic standards, stationery, website, marketing, communication and product materials as well as your offline presence.
Managing the brand that encompasses how you unveil or launch it and how you ensure that it continues to deliver value to the company. Brand management should keep in mind the strategy and identity and continuously look at ways to reinforce, strengthen and evolve the brand.
Always align brand to company objectives and strategy.
A weak brand is usually a brand that has been developed in a vacuum, often oblivious to the overall organization and its audiences. A strong brand will bring growth and progress but it must tie into the kind of growth or evolution envisioned in the business or strategic plan. An overall business strategy is the foundation of a brand strategy. If you know where you want to go, your brand should be the chariot that helps you get there.
Identify and get to know your brand’s target audiences.
Many brand struggles can be boiled down to having a fuzzy view of exactly who the brand should be targeting. Target audiences are those people we want to sell products and services to, receive financial support from or some other measurable goal that contributes to success. Thinking that everybody is the target audience is a fastlane to brand irrelevance.
Narrowing your target audiences down to those with the most potential for engagement requires a laser-like focus and a hefty helping of research. Research helps brands understand audiences worldviews, lifestyles and motivations. Research helps brands understand where target audiences spend their time and what sort of messages will resonate with them. It will also help a brand understand how audiences view a particular brand or category. One of the easiest ways to conduct research is by making a habit of regular online surveys. There are plenty of affordable tools to do online surveys with. This type of research can be done at least annually or semi-annually. Hiring a reputable research firm, when resources allow, is also a good way to help understand target audiences.
Position your brand in the marketplace.
A brand without a clear position in the minds of its audiences is a brand at the mercy of its competition and marketplace dynamics. Carefully considered brand positioning helps bring clarity into how and why a company is different from other options available. It also provides reasons why someone should do business with the brand. Brand positioning must be based in reality as brands must continuously live up to their positioning.
Brand positioning needs to consider four key areas:
- Who are the target audiences most likely to buy or support what you do?
- What category is the company or organization playing or competing in?
- What promise can be made that will provide the largest benefit to the audiences? These are rational and emotional benefits that a brands competition will have great difficulty matching.
- Why should audiences believe a brands benefit claims? What proof points can be used to back claims?
Crafting a brand messaging platform.
Messaging helps bring a brand’s positioning to life in words and tone. While brand positioning is meant to be consistent, the way it is delivered to different audiences usually calls for messaging that takes into account their specific points of view as well as familiarity with the brand. Creating a brand messaging platform helps to ensure that key messages are clear, proof points are persuasive and that a brand has its own voice. Having a brand messaging platform also streamlines the development of content for websites and collateral materials.
Creating your brand identity through logo design and much more.
Having an easily recognized and professional logo is only part of what makes up a brand’s visual identity. Developing brand identity involves the careful design and development of a number of key elements that become the public face of a brand. Yes, it often starts with a logo but it can also include a wide range of elements such as colours, typography, shapes, sounds, smells and imagery. Coca Cola’s red logo is easily recognized around the world and so too is the unique trademarked shape of its bottles. Both those elements are part of the Coca Cola’s brands identity. Harley Davidson’s logo is also known around the world as is the deep rumble of its bikes. The key to effective brand identity is that it is distinctive, memorable and strongly connected to a brand. Powerful brand identities work in a variety of settings and can emotionally connect people to brands.
Building brand value and equity for the long haul.
Being responsible for health and wellbeing of a brand is the role of brand management. Launching or relaunching a brand is only the begining. A brand strategy is not something you set and forget about. It’s human nature to get busy with other, seemingly more urgent items. Putting systems in place to track, adjust and invest in a brand is critically important to the long-term success. It usually starts with ensuring that brand is a constant line item in board and senior management meetings and that major decisions are viewed through a branding lense.
“Brand development helps you figure out who you are, who you are not and why people should give a damn about your brand.”
Where our brand development services will help.
We’ve helped not-for-profit, healthcare, hospitality, and commercial organizations create develop brands that are connected to their goals and objectives. Our blend of strategy and creativity helps our clients meet forecasts for growth, tame troubling issues and build company pride. We can help you:
- Determine your competitive differences
- Increase your value amongst clients, prospects and internal audiences