Your branding appears at the forefront of everything you push towards the public eye; it must therefore encapsulate your businesses’ unique personality, values and message. Branding is often associated directly with identity design; however, creating a brand is a process that requires different elements to come together and certainly doesn’t end with identity design.
DOING YOUR RESEARCH
Before starting any sort of design process, you need to think about a few important factors of yourself and your company. Your brand is going to inform your audience who you are, what you do and why. You also want to reflect the interests and collective personality of your audience – this may seem like an impossible feat – so we’ve broken it down for you.
Has your business got a mission to strive towards? Not only will this help with creating a strong brand, it will also create a group of dedicated individuals working with a collective value to create a company that will last on and on – branding isn’t just for your customers, but for your employees as well!
For example, an estate agent’s mission might be “We help people find their dream home”. This is a concept that appeals to both prospective customers and is also an ideal that employees can really get behind! This provides a more focussed motivation than, “We have to sell more houses than last month”.
This leads us to knowing your target audience; brand, design and innovation speaker, Marty Neumeier says “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what they say it is” meaning who you want to sell to will dictate a large part of how you position and present yourself as a company.
To get an idea of your target audience, there are a couple of questions to answer:
- What do we offer?
- Who will benefit most from our products/services?
Once you’ve got a broad idea, you can begin to really narrow it down by asking further questions.
- are they male or female?
- Do they live in a house or a flat?
until you have a specific demographic that you feel you can successfully market to.
CREATING THE BRAND
Designing a brand can certainly be a daunting prospect; but don’t despair. The idea is to start small, an effective method is to use visual aids – like a spider diagram. Begin with single words and images you feel could represent your brand, then explore; find synonyms, expand, link through to different ideas and concepts. Once you’ve created your map, simplify back – pull out the words and images that reflect your mission, personality and target audience.
- develop a strong mission statement (preferably no more than a paragraph)
- a short tag line and if needed a company name
For the logo:
- use prominent features from the images you’ve chosen to influence the design
- try using outlines along with your company name
- remember to keep it simple
This way it can transition through changes in your company and audience in the future.
CONCLUDE WITH CONTINUITY
Your company and employees must now live the brand; this involves consistently retaining continuity through all touch points. Ensuring all members of the company work towards the collective mission, all have the company style-sheets (colours, type-fonts, logos), and all embody the company’s personality.
Walking into a store in any location and seeing the same visual triggers and feel the same atmosphere around you would imply successful brand continuity. This is the same for an online presence; you want whoever sees your content, whether on a website, an advert or an associates webpage, to easily recognise your name and what it entails.
Branding is not just the pretty colours and stylish logo. Your company will be reviewed and judged in many different ways from a customer viewpoint, which means you must be ready to show off who you are in every different way.