Your brand work is NOT DONE when you complete your logo and your look and feel.
Your logo and the look and feel of your company is what we consider your visual brand identity. And, yes, your visual brand identity is very important because it’s often the first impression people have… but your brand does not stop there. If this happens to be you, please read this blog because your brand work is not done!
Your brand is the sum of all the experiences someone has with you.
The way you look is the tip of the iceberg. Your brand is what people say about you behind your back more or less. It’s a perception they have formed, and how they will remember you and talk about you. It’s truly the sum of all experiences along the customer journey, all designed to give the consumer an influenced impression so they can form a positive brand impression.
Branding is the consistent act of influencing one’s perception of you.
You can always tell when someone doesn’t fully understand what branding is because they say they are all done. Please stop saying that — your brand work is not done! The logo, the business cards printed, the website… all the marketing materials look the same and consistent, so they believe they are all done! As brand strategists, this is the most common misconception we hear. To think that they are running a business without a solid understanding of what branding is, means they are missing some major branding moves and opportunities for growth.
Brand strategy at every touchpoint.
When you are working on a brand strategy you are mapping out the customer journey and strategically influencing people’s perception of you along the way. Hopefully, your logo and your look and feel are making people FEEL a certain way. But the written word on your website, the photos you choose, the way you answer the phone, the way your staff greets customers, how you follow up on sales, etc. is all part of your brand strategy. They are all designed to make your customers feel a certain way. The minute you run your business without this strategy, you are allowing people to form their own perception of you.
Consistency is key.
Most people understand that the visual brand identity needs to be consistent. In fact, some take this to the extreme where they try to make the colours consistent throughout and get very upset if the colour of their business cards shifts from their store sign, and different again on their website. We need this sort of consistency within reason. There’s not much control over paper vs. vinyl vs. screen and we do our best to keep things consistent within our control. Keep in mind, customers will see it as the same, and only when you’re too close to it will you notice the slight shifts in colour.
But here’s the thing… this IS NOT the consistency you need to worry about when it comes to branding. Consistency is within your entire brand strategy. You want all your staff to deliver the same experience and the same messaging to every customer. This is more critical to your brand strategy than a shift in colour (within reason). When people believe that branding is only visual, they can get hung up on the wrong details.
Design includes look, feel, and function.
A brand designer does not only focus on how something looks. In fact, the last thing we want to do is make something look amazing to attract the perfect audience and then fall short on the experience you deliver. This happens all the time and lends to bad reviews and personal disappointment because the consumer feels let down by the brand. The experience you deliver must match the experience you are promising through your visual brand identity. If your visual brand identity looks like a child’s daycare when you are a fine-dining restaurant, you’re going to attract a crowd that is probably expecting family-friendly accommodations and economical pricing. Imagine their negative feelings when they see the menu and there’s nothing for children. So the visual brand identity is going to set the consumer’s expectations of your brand experience. You’d better make sure you align the two!
If your visual brand identity looks dated — you must be dated too.
I don’t believe this statement is true. Many of our clients have come to us and we discover that they are staying ahead of the curve in their marketplace. They have been successful for 40 years and have never changed their logo since day one. We all know these companies, right? The problem is: the message you are telling people is contradicting the brand experience you are offering. If you are progressive and evolutionary and you serve with the most modern technology, then your visual brand identity needs to match those statements.
Take the time and Google this keyphrase “logo evolution” and view the image results. There is a reason why leading brands change their logos over time. If your company is hanging on to the logo that the founder created themself 40 years ago, it’s time for a change. I promise that if your company prides itself on being modern, innovative and progressive, then your old visual brand identity is confusing potential new customers. If you are on a mission to continue to grow your company, then a rebrand that includes a logo update is a strategy you should embrace!
People change. Brands should too.
If you’re still with me here (I appreciate you taking the time) I want to end with the thought that your branding is never complete. There is no end game for branding. It is a constant strategy of implementing systems to help your consumers perceive you and form opinions of you that are intended. Without a brand strategy, you are letting the chips fall where they man. You are gambling. You’re hoping your staff gets it. You are hoping your customers don’t notice. And you are delivering inconsistently from one person to another and from one day to another. Your visuals may be consistent but your brand is how people feel about you. And the likelihood of having 100 customers form 100 similar perceptions without having a brand strategy will be difficult. Especially as you scale and grow your company.
You need a Brand Designer in your life.
If this resonates with you, you need a brand designer. Not a graphic designer, not a web designer, not a marketing person or an advertising agency.
I know! It’s very confusing, right? It’s in the queue for another blog topic.
A brand designer focuses on experience. We capture the heart of the company. The brand essence. And we are able to write the words and create the look, and develop a strategy across the consumer pathway that delivers the experience.
As brand designers, we also help with staff and client onboarding. We design brand experiences that will leave your customers feeling the way you want them to feel. Helping you to see your company through the eyes of consumers is key to shifting the focus from you to them. We stay ahead of consumer trends and we share insights with you so that your company can deliver on consumer expectations. We hold you accountable to your brand promises and we recognize when you say one thing and do another. We’ll let you know when your brand work is not done. We are brand designers and it’s SO MUCH MORE than your logo look and feel.