Working on branding, identity and messaging for my design clients has got me thinking about stories, perception and how we define ourselves as businesses. While obviously very different from self-perception or identity as a person, an organisation still has a personality, a character, and a set of values that help define and shape how it is perceived by its customers and the general public.
In constructing an identity, an organisation lives and dies on its stories. Having a strong and compelling story behind the business is an important narrative, and a good narrative draws people in, and lets them connect with the organisation on a deeper level than they otherwise might.
Of vital importance when constructing a story is not to think just in terms of the individuals within the company, but rather the company as a whole. Individuals contribute, of course, but a company’s identity and personality should be something individual too, something unique, and crucially something relevant.
A good brand starts with a story. It should build on its history, as well as telling new stories about where it wants to go. An organisation needs clear, defined values, and to know what it stands for, as well as understanding and explaining its purpose.
Dress to impress
Of course, even with the best personality in the world needs a little flair and a little pizzazz! Once you’ve got a compelling story, you need to dress it up with an image to match. A key question for any organisation is: does your logo, marketing collateral, and content match the impression you want to give?
Your firm’s image speaks volumes about who you are and what you offer long before potential clients ever pick up the phone or shake your hand. The look and feel of a business is the first thing that potential clients will see, and marks the first step in building a relationship, and creating an impression of your brand. It is incredibly important to make your business stand out with a cohesive look and feel that aligns with your narrative. Consistency across your channels is really important in developing your brand identity, and creating a coherent narrative and personality for your organisation. This includes your:
• Brand Colors
• Brand Font
• Brand Voice
• Social Media Presence
• Marketing Collateral
Create a marketing strategy for your brand
Once your company knows who it is and what it looks like, you have to be able to tell the world. Your story and your look create your identity, but without a plan for sharing this with the public, you aren’t going to get very far. To do this, a marketing strategy is vital.
Every company should have an ongoing marketing strategy for their business, especially within the digital landscape. You need to start by understanding the journey your brand is going on – where you want it to take you, and how you want to get there – and that means setting goals and making a plan.
These days, marketing goals and plans have to include your firm’s online presence. Now, more than ever, digital marketing is crucial to helping your firm establish credibility and finding new clients.
• Designing and maintaining your website
• Establishing and managing a social media presence
• Building and maintaining your SEO
• Creating and implementing email marketing campaigns
• Distributing press releases
• Consistent, quality blogging
• Utilizing Adwords and social media advertising to build campaigns that boost your Return on Investment (ROI). This avenue is extremely profitable these days.
Overall, the three key elements of creating a good brand are a strong, compelling story, an attractive and consistent visual identity, and a well planned and coherent marketing strategy. With these three elements in place, you business can stop walking, and start running!