Regardless of size, industry, or target market, every business needs a strong brand to stand behind. Your brand is often the first encounter anyone has with your company, and will be the lasting impression after they leave.
It’s your elevator pitch, your employee training tool, and your marketing efforts’ driving force. But what makes a good brand? And how can you successfully develop a consistent brand to set your business apart from the competition?
What Does My Brand Do For Me?
Face it, you’re in a give-and-take relationship with your brand. If you put in the work to form a cohesive pitch and strategy, then your brand should work to drive business through your marketing channels.
Whether you’re looking to completely rebrand or just want to evaluate your current industry perception, check and make sure your brand meets these four ideals:/p>
- Trust: Do I convey professionalism and trust in my brand?
- Recognition: When someone sees my name or logo, do they recognize my company or industry?
- Uniqueness: Is my brand different from my direct competition or other brands out there?
- Clarity: If this was someone’s first encounter with my brand, what would they think I offer?
Remember, if you stay true to your brand, it should work to build a loyal base and help recruit potential customers.
The Value of a Clearly Defined Brand
The Disney brand is one of the most recognizable in the world and the most strict. Even parking attendants at Disney theme parks are instructed to live the brand to create perfect memories for visiting guests. The brand is instantly recognized and defines every single aspect of the company as a reflection of Walt’s vision.
Of course, you don’t have to be Disney or Apple to have strong branding. Many small businesses embrace their family name in their brand and use it to connect with the community. The message is simple: We are a family-owned company and treat our customers like family. When potential customers connect with the brand, they immediately understand how the company is run while establishing trust because of the familial messaging.
This means that you need to define your brand from the inside out. Start by listing what makes your business unique to others and better than the competition. Do you offer higher quality? Are you faster? By selecting the top traits of your business (or top aspirational traits), you’ll be able to start crafting your external message.
How Do I Develop My Brand? — A Mediagistic Case Study
At Mediagistic, we’ve helped hundreds of companies develop their brands. A recent case in point: WeatherMakers, Inc. and Kearney & Sons, Inc. merged under one ownership to expand their service areas. Company leadership wished to maintain the separate company names, as each services a distinct market – the Hampton Roads metropolitan area made up of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
Mediagistic was hired in 2014 to create a consistent brand look/feel, maintaining the separate dealer names while developing a cohesive style that reinforces that the individual companies are one corporation with the same quality service. You can see the outcome below:
Maintaining Brand Consistency is Easy with the Right Tools
The key to executing your brand with consistency is to keep the message clear – if one person looked at all of your marketing materials, could they sum up your brand in one sentence? Would they think the creative, content, and messaging came from the same source?
Brand consistency begins by developing a style guide that defines your slogan, mission statement, and even logo colors. Consider every aspect of your brand, from messaging variations to color meanings with the goal of keeping your marketing materials on-brand.
Once you establish the rules for using your brand, make sure anyone who comes in contact with your company understands them. Talk with your employees about changes in branding and how this affects them, and keep your style guide updated to reflect any changes.
If it looks like your marketing materials come from different corners of the world or you’re boasting different messages, then it might be time to return to the style guide and re-examine your plan.
Transform Your Brand into a Living Entity
Remember, your brand is a living entity in your company. Even the best marketing materials can’t make up for products, services, or employees that aren’t aligned with your branding. Your brand should start from within and work its way outward if you want customers to believe your messaging.
Are you struggling with defining your brand and keeping it consistent? Mediagistic has the tools to develop and grow your brand, while maintaining continuity throughout your campaigns. Because our agency is full-service, we can coordinate all elements of your online and offline presence to achieve maximum consistency.
Susan Rosner is a Senior Designer and Creative Lead for Mediagistic. Previously, she rubbed elbows with Big Bird as the Creative Services Manager for the primary PBS station in Tampa Bay. Susan’s journey has enabled her to play key creative roles for manufacturers, restaurant decorators, and even a science museum!