Branding 101

Developing a brand identity is one of the most important tasks your organization will ever undertake. A strong brand creates individuality for your firm, making every aspect of communications and marketing more effective.

Brand development begins in the boardroom. The process starts by clearly defining what your organization stands for. This is the promise you must constantly fulfill. We expect low prices from Walmart, fun and fantasy from Disney World and help in times of disaster from the Red Cross. Those are their brands.

The next step is to reinforce the brand with every customer communication and interaction. This requires a dedicated, consistent effort, incorporating the following elements…

Logo

What company comes to mind when you envision a graphic called a “swoosh?” Nike of course. Your logo is the instant visual representation of your company. It should never vary, so your customers will not become confused. Use it in all of your marketing pieces and corporate documents and place it in the same position whenever possible.

Tagline

The tagline is a statement accompanying the logo that further emphasizes your brand’s identity. It can be the full or abbreviated version of your company’s unique selling proposition, or a restatement of the brand’s promise. Consider, for example, Walmart’s tagline: Save money. Live better.

Consistent Messaging

From traditional print and broadcast advertising to Internet marketing, personal selling and public relations campaigns, make sure you communicate the same points to your customers wherever you reach them. Repetition reaps rewards.

Uniform Graphic Look

Select a typeface, layout style (positioning of the logo, type, visuals etc.) and corporate colors that will make your brand easily recognizable in all the marketing and corporate communications materials you produce. Then reinforce this visual aspect of your organization by being uniform with all of your graphic designs.

Customer Experience

Of course the success or failure of any brand is ultimately determined by the follow through at every level of the organization. Each interaction of the firm with the customer must make good on the brand’s promise.

Your brand is a direct connection with your target audience. It is the promise that you must constantly fulfill in order to reinforce your organization’s positive image. Just as this process starts with senior management, those at the top level must evaluate each of these branding elements regularly to ensure that the brand’s integrity remains intact.

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