How to strengthen your brand
Your brand is your most valuable asset. The strength of your brand is determined by your reputation and the visibility you have in your specific marketplace.
A strong brand attracts ideal clients, talented employees and can help you to increase turnover. Brand development is undertaken to strengthen a brand and can involve many activities from product evolution, reputation building, research and development through to analysis of brand identity and refreshing a brand’s visual assets. At Valiant we love to review a company’s brand identity.
If you are wondering whether your brand could be strengthened this year then ask yourself:
Does your visual identity align with your business strategy?
Does it represent your values?
Will your brand style help you appeal to a new audience?
Is your identity strong enough to attract acquisition?
If any of those questions resonate with you then have a read through the process we use to help our clients build stronger brands.
The discover process is essential in a successful brand strategy. It is an immersive experience to ensure we understand a business thoroughly. Key stakeholders should be involved in the workshops and ideally we like to have access to clients and employees where possible. We tailor the discovery process to suit each client. The following steps provide us with all we the information we need to develop a brand.
This is preparation research. This step makes the next stage of brand workshops more efficient and valuable. We research competitors, your marketplace and as much as possible about your customers to ensure we bring opinion, knowledge and ideas at the start. Feedback from your customers can also provide vital insight. Work out the most appropriate way to engage them to achieve this.
As part of the discovery process we run a series of workshops.
The first a structured, comprehensive and immersive workshop involving all key stakeholders. The workshop will be used to learn as much as possible about your current business position, future objectives, your existing customer types and profiles, your ideal prospective customer, why people engage with you and your brand, why they don’t and what you think your differentiators are or could be. We utilise traditional SWOT analysis methods and/or a more client led fact finding method.
Ideally we like to talk to as many people about your brand as possible. A great starting point is with employees. A brand should define a business, its objectives and values. If the people within the business believe and understand their own brand, the cultural changes required for complete success are much easier. Spending time interviewing and running short recorded workshops to ask for people’s opinions and insights really helps to engage employees at an early stage – a key part of the process.
The Values workshop enables Valiant to deliver the brand values, positioning and messaging strategy.
This helps get to the bottom of:
- Your brand personality
- What you really believe in – your values
- Perception within your sector
- What your ideal customers look like
- What you strive to deliver in terms of customer service
Following the workshops, we filter all of the insight ando deliver your brand positioning statement. A positioning statement is a few sentences which should evoke the essence of your brand. It should be real, honest and aspirational but you must be able to deliver on it. It should be a promise to yourselves as well as to others. In addition to a positioning statement, develop key messages to each of your target audiences. Each message must meet the promise of the positioning statement and be relevant to each recipient. Remember that your target market is likely to include prospective customers, existing ones (who could be great advocates), industry bodies, partners and suppliers. Each message should be relevant to each specific audience. The key messages will form the basis of your marketing communications plan and website strategy and will need to be supported by proof of your ability to deliver on each.
A new brand identity and possible tagline is essential to support your brand positioning. The styling and design of a logo and/or tagline is not your brand. Your brand is the cultural behaviour of your business, your reputation, your products, your tone of voice – your visual identity is there to communicate and symbolise these values to your target market.
At this stage Valiant designs several visual directions with a rationale for each. Each concept is demonstrated across typical collateral examples rather than looking at a logo in isolation. In reality it is very rare to see a logo alone without the context of content, product or supporting imagery alongside it. Each design will show you the “look and feel” of your a potential new identity. If required you can market test your choice.
Following feedback, we undertake all the necessary adjustments to ensure you have a visual style and identity that you love and more importantly will work to help your business achieve its strategic goals. We make it our duty to ask enough questions and learn all we can to ensure we deliver a logo and assets that delight you. Following refinements, further review and approval a master logo and assets are created.
The final implementation stage is the application of the identity across core marketing collateral. To ensure the success of a brand refresh, all application and implementation must be done consistently.
The creation of brand guidelines ensures consistent application by any supplier or by your internal teams. Brand guidelines can range from succinct logo usage information through to corporate tomes encapsulating all marketing materials. We recommend a balance to ensure that the identity is used correctly and consistently but is added to organically as brand asset implementation is undertaken.
As a start point the guidelines should include:
- Brand values
- Tone of voice
- Colour palette
- Logo guidelines
- Typographic guide
- Collateral style guide including digital
To ensure a new identity is implemented successfully Valiant loves to take control of the design of marketing materials for clients. Creating a new logo, visual identity or brand asset for a client is an amazing experience – we invest real personal energy and love into each creation. This is why we get twitchy if brand guidelines are not interpreted correctly or, even worse, ignored. We think it is very wise to have two or three core pieces of marketing material designed (by us) to really demonstrate exactly how the guidelines influence and affect the final design. Ideally we prefer to take control of all future marketing materials but we know that’s not always possible.
Don’t forget to do an audit of your current marketing communications – online and printed – so that you can plan and implement your marketing strategy. Once all of this is in place your new brand launch can be planned. This gives you a perfect opportunity to engage your employees and connect with your customers.
By Valiant on February 4th, 2018
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