Brand: No Longer a Scary 5 Letter Word
Zombies. Monsters. Spiders. Your Brand?
While the first three can definitely be scary, your brand should not be something that ever causes you to lose sleep. This should be the visionary road map for all of your content, communications, and marketing strategies.
When we start a new project with a client, one of the most common topics that we cover in the initial stages is a robust discussion around their brand. A company’s brand is much like the personality of an individual and having this well defined is a crucial component of designing an effective marketing and communications strategy. We have found that there are four key tenets to focus on when looking to develop your organization’s brand:
1. How do you want the brand to feel?
There are a lot of components to consider when deciding how you want your brand to feel to your customers. Some of these are the visual logistics like color schemes, fonts, imagery, and logos, but it is important to also think about the big picture of your organization’s mission as well. What is the personality of your business? What is the purpose that you are trying to accomplish? These questions are important elements that need to be a factor in the design that you, ultimately implement. Having a strong synergy on all fronts is going to make a lot of your subsequent marketing and communications efforts not only easier to implement, but also more effective from an ROI perspective. Much like any other strategic initiative, it is important that you are mapping out the goals for how you want your brand to feel in a measurable and manageable way- that is how you ensure your customer’s interactions with your brand are prompting the desired outcomes.
2. Implementing your voice and tone
Now that you have designed how you want your brand to feel, it is important to consider the voice and tone that you want to implement as an extension of this feel. Think of it this way. You personally have one voice, but the tone you utilize is going to vary depending on the situation. You are going to choose one tone when you are calling a friend but another when interacting with your boss at work. Voice and tone for a brand has a similar choice- you are going to want to make sure that you are communicating in a way that is going to resonate with your target audience. This is a topic that we regularly discuss with our clients as the voice and tone are huge components of any marketing and communications project. Everything from the mediums that you utilize to where you are prioritizing investment of time and resources should be accounting for the brand goals that you have around voice and tone.
3. Consistency is key.
Just like any other project, having a great design is only going to drive the results that you want when it is implemented appropriately. For many of our clients, one of the largest challenges that they have in this area is that their brand is not being consistently applied. Overcoming this challenge is crucial for organizations in all industries. By making sure that all of your elements work together in harmony, you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors while simultaneously maximizing the returns from your efforts. This can be challenging for organizations as they grow, scale, and evolve as it requires very effective communication (and execution!) across all members of the team. Regularly keeping this as an important component of all of your strategic projects and maintaining an active discussion about how the brand is being impacted by business decisions can go a long way in making brand consistency the standard at your organization.
Oak Street Bonus Tip: Building an accessible brand kit for your internal team members can be a great way to arm them with the tools they need while also controlling the brand deployment that is occurring.
4. Evolve your brand over time.
This may come as no surprise, but evolving over time to stay relevant is important. It takes time to build your brand presence and they should naturally evolve over time. As you release new products, service offerings, or adjust your target market, there are going to be corresponding impacts on the brand strategy that makes sense for your organization. The brand that you have created so far is a great foundation, but does not and should not remain set in stone. This is a trap that we often see clients come to us to help solve as they have confused maintaining consistency with avoiding evolution. Just like any other marketing or communications project, you are going to want to make sure that this evolution is intentional and strategically motivated in a well thought out manner.
Regardless of whether you are a non-profit or for profit organization, the brand you are deploying is a key strategic decision that tells your target audience who you are. This needs to be understandable, logically aligned with your mission, and deployed consistently across all platforms. We strongly recommend that the brand is an area where you invest resources as it is the foundation that all other communications and marketing projects are going to leverage. From your website to new business acquisition, the brand is going to directly impact conversions and the retention of your customers.
Not sure where to get started or whether your brand should be optimized? We can help. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss what an Oak Street project could look like for your organization.
Reach out today to say hello!
Matt Cooke and Alex Ritz