Your brand identity is one of the highest ROI activities that you can take on. It is even more important than product design. Just ask Nike – these are people who make shoes in China for less than five dollars a pair and sell them for around $200 in Western countries. They are not receiving that much of a markup for the quality of the product.
The first step that businesses usually take in branding their identity is good graphic design. There is nothing wrong with this. As a matter of fact, it is a good practice. However, if you stop here, then you may not give your business that lift that it needs when people begin to become attracted to you and start asking deeper questions.
In short, you need to expand your brand identity past graphic design. Here are the steps that you should take.
First, make sure that your company vision matches the graphic design that you are currently using. Many companies try to expand their brand identity without making sure that they already have a brand identity in place that people can get behind.
In order to make sure that you have a brand identity that people can get behind, you need to see how much ROI that brand is bringing you in the open market. If you are in the small and medium-sized business market, then people will move in and out of your industry very quickly. They will move with technology; they will move with new companies; they will move with new trends. Your brand needs to be able to survive all of these things without changing a great deal. If he can, then people will start to see you as a trustworthy option.
After you have solidified the fact that your company vision is trusted within your target market, then you can truly begin to expand your other properties. Make sure that all of your marketing outreach details how you are unique in the marketplace. This is one of the most important aspects of your brand, and it will definitely get people interested in how you present yourself. It does not mean that you have to necessarily improve your product quality, however. This may not be your selling point – you may be the cheap option in your industry. What is necessary is that you are selling what you actually have on tap. This is the central issue when it comes to brand identity.
Once you have all of your marketing outreach in line, then you must be sure that you control as much of your online feedback as possible. You may need to hire a reputation management firm in order to achieve this, but it is not necessary at first. Review websites are the new word-of-mouth. If one person says that your brand is out of line in any way, you may lose business from 100 other people. This is not what you want. However, you can exercise more control than you think over what people think and say about you if you control your brand image from the inside out.
You should also expand your brand identity into public events. These events can be thrown by your company or put on by someone else. As a matter of fact, if you are already involved in industry events, then you can look at those events as though you had thrown them yourself.
Every time that your company appears in public, it should be well-known that your brand is represented in a highly reputable and consistent way. This goes for you personally, all of your employees and every piece of marketing material that you put in the public eye. They must all hold to the same message. They must all have the same look and feel as well. This means everything from the font that you choose to the colors that are on your brochures and the pictures that you utilize as well.
Once you have all of these things in order, your brand image will be expanded beyond your graphic design. You may note that the furtherance of your brand image goes right back into your graphic design. However, this is only after you have thought about how your design actually affects the customer that you are targeting. You should have a much better idea of how people react to your graphic design, and you should also understand exactly how that design can give you other avenues of expansion. For instance, you may be able to use elements of your design in a commercial or indirect marketing. Slogans that appear on your design may also appear as slogans on podcasts.
Keep all of the tips above in mind if you are trying to expand your brand beyond your graphic design. They may take some time, but that time will be well worth it. As you may well know, your brand means more for your bottom line than anything else within your company, including product design. Make sure that you spend the appropriate amount of time on it so that you can receive the amount of return that you deserve on it as well.
Craig Scott In addition to being the editor at designrfix and writing about tech, web and graphic design among other subjects, I love “unplug” and be outdoors hiking and enjoying nature. If you can’t reach me, it’s probably because where I am at doesn’t have cell phone reception.
Also published on Medium.