Brands are big business today because they make selling easier in person and online. People prefer to buy from companies they feel they know and can trust, and brands put forth that assurance.
Many people think that the logo is the brand. In fact, the logo is just one representation of the brand. Your brand isn’t how you look or what you say or even what you sell. Your brand is what people believe you stand for.
When people are aware of your brand, they’re aware of the positive characteristics you stand for. Long before they get ready to make a purchase, they feel they know who you are and what unique value they can count on you to deliver. As a result, when it comes time to make a sale, brand owners can concentrate on the wants and needs of the consumer rather than take up valuable consumer time trying to explain themselves and their unique attributes.
Without a brand, you have to build a case for why you deserve the consumer’s business every single time you get ready to make a sale. While brand owners are closing the deal, those without strong brands are still introducing themselves.
If Coca Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca Cola, the company would go out of business.
As an advocate for your brand, you’re not always there to tell your story, so you need to make sure that your marketing materials give people that same sense of who you are. Intelligent use of design, advertising, marketing, corporate culture and so on can all really help to generate associations in people’s minds that will benefit the organisation.
Design and Branding
An established technique in branding a business is to tell its story through communication elements such as corporate identity, packaging, stationery, marketing materials and so on. Whatever sector your work in, keeping your communications fresh is essential. Using designers to help reassess your designs, language or identity every few years should be seen as an ongoing investment in your company rather than a costly extra.
After working through a branding project with designers you should be left with something called brand guidelines. This is a document which details exactly how the different design elements (typically visual) should be applied in different situations. It will give information on things like typography, graphics, colours, materials, templates and photography used in the brand, providing instructions on how to apply them in different contexts, at different scales and so on. More detailed brand guidelines may include things like cultural or behavioural directions for staff training.
The organisation can use these brand guidelines to manage the brand after the designer’s work on the project is completed without losing the original consistency and clarity of the designs and, most importantly, with losing sight of your original brand vision.