Great corporate branding for businesses takes a mix of creative brand strategy and superlative graphic design. The combination of meticulously crafted visual imagery, carefully selected colors and typestyles, and just the right words can communicate with others in ways that can't always be articulated. The branding—an emotionally connective experience—helps us return as customers again and again. The ideal brand identity speaks to the head and to the heart, connects with customers, ignites imaginations, and builds loyalty.
But how do we come up with that great brand identity? Do you hire a creative services company to create a logo design and take care of everything?
A professional firm can certainly do this for you, but the creative brand strategy and assets that they create will only be as good as the information that you can provide. Whether hiring a firm or using your own team members, you first need to know who you are, where you want to be in the marketplace, how you want to grow in the future, what product or service you’re offering or selling, and who your audience is. The answers to these questions will take you leaps and bounds closer to building a successful brand.
Know Your Own Company
Knowing who you are as a company and what you can do for your customers is something you’ll need to define in order to reach and connect with your audience. It’s more than simply deciding what to sell or what your service will be. What sort of values does your company hold? What principles drive your company to do what it does? Where would you like to be in five years? Ten years?
Know Your Audience
If your product appeals to a very specific demographic, branding the company to appeal to them is essential to your success. The more you know about your potential customers, the more you can tailor your image and message to appeal to them. Who are they? What do they like and dislike? How do they shop, research information, or decide what companies to work with? What types of advertising and marketing campaigns appeal to them?
If you’re not sure, consider putting together a focus group, conducting a survey, or using the growing social media sector of marketing to field questions and engage with your customers
Have a Clear Message
Knowing your message and presenting it consistently to your audience will encourage follow-through and invite action. Messages with multiple meanings, mixed content, and too much industry-related lingo can be confusing. A clear message helps keep your marketing efforts focused and on track.
Creating a memorable brand can start by having a memorable logo, a clever tag line, a catchy jingle, or all of these—something that engages with your audience enough to stay with them and can be recollected at a later date. They may not currently be in need of the product or service you provide, but your memorable brand will ensure they think of you when they are ready.
Make an Emotional Connection
Connecting with your audience should evoke an emotional response. Quite often, this is what helps make you memorable.
A recent Super Bowl TV commercial featured the unlikely friendship between a pony and a puppy that bonded over the course of the commercial. This advertisement elicited an emotional, happy viewer response by the end. For many viewers, this happiness evoked positive feelings about the sponsoring company.
Connecting with your audience doesn’t need to be a huge, expensive production, but should invoke whatever emotions you’d like them to have when they think of your company.
The business world moves quickly, so being flexible and adaptable to the ever-changing market and culture can help create and keep loyal customers. Both social media and inbound marketing are tools that more and more companies are using to engage and connect with their customers. Does your company use these platforms? What could you offer your customers through social media interaction and posting that they would want/need?
Utilize Good, Consistent Design and Writing
Well-crafted assets are very important for creating a memorable, dynamic, and lasting brand. Your company must have a consistent identity in both words and images. Depending on the nature of your company, these assets may include a company logo, tag-line, and stationery package, print collateral material, e-mail campaigns, website, signage, point of sale or display materials, and much more. In order to ensure consistency of the brand, your company may wish to create (or commission the creation of) a brand standards guide that can be used by outside vendors, as well as your own in-house teams.
Whether you have an in-house creative team, or hire an outside creative services or branding agency, high-quality creative can mean the difference between being good and being great.