Previously we wrote about how merely having a brand identity isn’t enough. It’s no use to have a brand identity, when nobody even knows that you exist. So here’s the sequel, the guideline on how to establish your brand presence. If you haven’t yet read the preceding article, this article may appear to be a little disorienting. We highly recommend that you go read that first, before proceeding to this guideline.
Outline Of The Guideline :-
(1) Accept The Fact That You Don’t Sell A Commodity, Or A Generic Product
As explained in the previous article, it’s pretty hard, if not impossible, to advertise or promote a generic identity. If you’re selling apples, how do your customers differentiate between you and your competitors, selling the same apples?
You may be offering superior quality apples, sourced from an ecologically responsible farm. Or perhaps your apples are fresher than the ones offered by your competitors, taking no more than two days from harvesting to your storefront. Unless your apples appear “different” from the ones offered by your competitors, there’s no way for your customers to know the difference. It simply isn’t possible to justify why is your apples are “better” than theirs.
You see, “apples” are generic. You sell them, your competitors sell them, and millions of other retailers all around the world sell them too. The only way for you to step out of this vicious generic cycle is to tag them with an identity – a brand identity. It could be that you’re selling branded apples, or that the unique apples are only offered by your branded business identity. Either way, you’re gonna need a unique brand identity.
(2) Establish Your Philosophy, Doctrine, Culture, Practice, Etc.
Humans are emotional beings. And being emotional beings, we readily relate to emotions. Hence, a brand identity that “speaks” to your audience on an emotional level will earn you brownie points… Lot’s of ’em…
Let’s face it, you probably already have established your own business ethics, personal integrity, and perhaps even unique style of doing business. And since your business is essentially an extension of yourself, it’ll rub some of these characteristics off from you too. That’s actually a good thing, since it’ll give your brand humanity and characteristics.
If you’re a no-nonsense, absolute best quality attitude, then dance to that tune. There’s no need to be shy when customers start arguing that your price is higher than your competitors. You may lose some customers, but then again, that’s not the demographics that you’re interested in anyway.
If you’re a charitable person, and believe in giving away a portion of your earnings to charity, again, boast all about it. You’ll attract similarly charitable customers too.
If you’re a
cheapskate economically sensitive person, and believe in passing the savings to your customers, again, brag all about it. Heck, you may even end up with the largest pool of customers too.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to establishing an identity. Accept your philosophy, doctrine, culture, practice, etc. for what they are, and emphasise it to your brand identity. The more unique you are, the more memorable you’ll be. And being memorable is the name of the game when it comes to branding.
(3) Draft Out Representations Of Your Brand
Many people skip straight to this step, as it’s actually the most obvious step in branding. This is where all the excitement is. You develop and design your brand name, brand logo, corporate colours, corporate fonts, taglines, etc. But before you get all carried away, understand that the representations to your brand need to reflect the values of your brand.
Visual design is just that – a design to visually separate you (your business) from the rest of the others out there. Humans are visual creatures, and every opportunity for the human brain to take a short cut when it comes to receiving a message, it will take it… It’s far easier to decipher a visual message than it is to read, decode the language, and understand what the message is about from a paragraph of text.
Hence any worded identities (e.g. brand name, tagline, etc.) must be easily pronounced and roll off the tongue, as well as to be as short and possible. The fewer the number of words, the more likely the brain won’t get taxed too much.
As for visual identities (e.g. main logo, visual cue, font type, corporate colour, etc.) must be as simple as possible. The simpler the shapes, and the fewer colours involved, the easier it is for the brain to register. The objective is to make it impressionable and memorable in a glance, not overwhelm the viewers with a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes.
(5) Determine How To Deliver Your Brand Identity
When it comes to corporate brands, the most common vehicle to deliver your brand story would be through advertising campaigns. And by that, we mean getting published in the conventional media space. Newspapers, magazines, TV ads, billboards, or more economical media like posters, pamphlets or even flyers. Getting your word out would usually require the services of an advertising or design agency, and of course, renting media space from the media owners.
However, by the dawn of the 21st century, social media is quickly taking over prominence from the conventional media. With that, many of the “design” work offered by agencies and design houses “for a fee” will start to lose their lustre. The rise of “free” design will soon sweeps everybody off their feet, from large multi-national companies to small retail businesses.
Whichever path you choose to take, there’ll always be ups and downs. There simply isn’t a “correct” or a “wrong” path to take to deliver your brand identity. As always, take note that “free” doesn’t really mean literary zero payment. Often, it’s more of an attraction to get you on board and use their platform. There’s no such thing as a free lunch after all. If you’re not the paying customer, you’re the “product” being sold to the actual paying customer…
Of course you could self-publish your advertising on your own self-managed social media account. But don’t expect to enjoy the same exposure when compared to one professionally done and hosted.
(6) Feedback And Interactions With Audience
Getting your brand message blasted out is one thing. Knowing how effective your message is is another thing altogether. Gone are the days when you blast your message out, and then wait to see if your audience react to it.
The dawn of the information revolution brings a much needed two-way traffic to mass communications. How many individuals did your message reach? And from that number, how many reacted to it? And from that, how many were positive reactions?… Who would have thought that our Maths classes back in school would really come in useful, aside from passing the exams, right?…
So when developing your brand story, make sure to enable feedback. And more importantly, pay attention to all the feedbacks. If it’s a positive feedback, good for you. If it’s a negative feedback, well, at least you’ll know how to improve on your product, service, or even your message.
Human beings are social creatures. We all strive to bond and communicate with other human beings. And not getting a response from an enquiry, or worse, a complaint, will seriously damage your brand reputation. So make it an effort to consistently reach out to, and communicate with your audience.
Lastly, Remember That This Is Only A Guideline, Not A Magic Silver Bullet…
Every company is different, and every brand message that they project is unique. There’s no such thing as a magic formula that will paint a broad enough brush stroke to cover each and every brand. If there is, then this wouldn’t be called a guideline anymore… It’ll be called a magic silver bullet… One that’ll guarantee a fix to all of your branding needs… But alas, a magic silver bullet doesn’t exist. So milk this guideline for all it’s worth…
A mentioned, what we have provided above is merely a guideline, nothing more, nothing less. While it’ll offer a sufficient guideline for you to embark on your brand journey, understand that it won’t cover all of your unique requirements. For that, you’re gonna need a personalised consultancy service.
Hit us up if you have any questions about it, or if you have any suggestions that you might wanna discuss. Yes, it’s totally “free” to talk to us… And we’ll even buy you a cup of your favourite coffee while we’re at it too…