BRAND: It’s Where Everything Begins
Every business has a brand, whether it’s created intentionally or is just a random by-product of your market’s assumptions. Proactively creating your brand is far more powerful than passively allowing your customers to form their own perceptions in their minds whenever they come into contact with your company. This is how you can gain control over how your brand is perceived. And this is the key to whether your customers decide to buy from YOU.
The branding process establishes a set of conceptual guidelines which will drive consistent messaging and design direction as branding tools are developed. The first step is to begin to answer the questions in the following online form. From there, we will move onto:
- Perception Balancing – Telling your customers that your product is the best won’t make them believe it. They must experience it and believe your brand promise. We will help you get clear about the realities of how your brand is currently perceived versus how you would like to be perceived in the future.
- Core Values – Before we allow brands into our world, we need to perceive them as being just like us. Like a valued friend who has our well-being at heart, does your company’s “idea of value” represent a shared value not in abundant supply elsewhere?
- Brand Personality – If your brand were a person, what would its name be? People personify things. That’s what we do. We assign human-like attributes to essentially anything with a name. With a strong personality, a brand strengthens its competitive advantage and effectively guides the creative tone of communications.
- Ideal Customer – Who are the customers you currently serve? Who do you think your products or services appeal to? Not fully knowing your client base really can keep you from being able to best serve that customer.
- Brand Message – First impressions are created within the first 7 seconds and are quite difficult to change. In an over-communicated environment, a simplified message, consistent with what the consumer already believes, is an absolute necessity.
- Brand Positioning – Why do people buy from your competitors? Which category can your brand own in order to stay out of the ranks of the “also-ran?” How is your brand perceived in the context of competitive alternatives in people’s minds? This is where we differentiate your company based on its values, eliminating the competition.
- Color Analysis – You want your brand to own its colors. Every color has a different feel and various psychological associations, and by choosing a color or combination of colors for your brand identity, it will take on those associations.
- Internal Audit – At this point we will analyze the variations and inconsistencies in your materials (online and in print), logo placement, brand messaging tone, color usage, fonts and typography, etc. We want your company to be perfectly on-track in its message or positioning.
- Validation Research – Your brand touches every part of your business, both internally and externally. That’s why it’s imperative that we poll employees, customers, vendors, and the broader consumer audience to validate your brand’s values. If your employees don’t believe your brand values, why would customers or investors buy into them? (This step is only available for organizations with 25 employees or more.)
- Non-Verbal and Body Language Branding– The old saying, “It’s not what you say, but what you do” really does matter in business. Did you know that body language alone accounts for 93% of what is perceived of you and your brand? Let’s discover how specific non-verbal messages affect your client, investor and public relations.
Important to Know: The Difference between Logos, Identities & Brands
These terms are often used interchangeably, causing confusion about their place in marketing. They have different purposes and relate to each other in this hierarchy:
- A logo is a symbol, a wordmark or a combination of the two that represents an entity visually. It should be used as consistently as possible to reinforce immediate recognition (think McDonald’s Arches or the Nike “swoosh”).
- An identity is how the logo is deployed on an organization’s materials to create continuity among all the marketing and communications of the organization. Consistent application reinforces familiarity with the organization and builds trust.
- A brand is the set of promises that your organization makes to its customers. It is conveyed anywhere the public has contact with your organization. All the impressions that accrue from those interactions add up to your brand. It exists in the minds of your audience and functions as your reputation.
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