Whether your business is brand new or a fortune 500, you’ll hit some pivotal moments. Changing your company image can certainly be one of those moments. Refreshing your brand identity for whatever reason, whether it’s outdated, not fitting anymore or was created using clipart when the company started, requires careful consideration and a well thought out implementation strategy to align with your vision, values, position & promise. Before you dive in, here are five key considerations you can’t afford to miss.
1. Set out specific goals
Often times businesses jump into marketing & branding without laying out the goals and objectives for each marketing opportunity. You see web development and collateral material as todo list items. You want to “knock them out” so you can get back to the “business stuff” that matters. There is a problem with that approach since marketing efforts are often the first line of communication with potential and existing customers. Without a congruent outward expression of your company, you run into break-points. Little in-congruencies that your customers either notice consciously or unconsciously. It’s that, “one of these things is not like the other…” going through their head. This can show up in the form of the incorrect colors being used on a logo, or inconsistent voice throughout product packaging.
Here are some questions you can ask to keep the branding efforts on track and aligned:
-What do I want this company image to accomplish?
-Do I want to fit in or stand out?
– Where will my company be in three to five years? Will this identity still fit?
-Will the identity need to work with new products or services in the future?
Before creating a new identity you should also have a clear business strategy outlined. Your branding strategy should likewise, align with your business strategy.
2. Do a little research
Without a proper lay of the land you cannot successfully position your company identity. Knowing what you want and why you want it will help avoid pitfalls when you hire a design company. Dig into some competitive mapping. This doesn’t need to be exhaustive or daunting. Spend some time googling your top competitors and collect as much of their marketing material as you can. See where they fall in the spectrum of brand identity and how their image is positioning their brand. Take note of your general impression of their brand. How does it make you feel? What comes to mind when you look at their stuff? Would you hire them?
Things to consider when gearing up for a new look:
-Fonts carry with them a certain level of personality. Do you want a font that is playful, serious, bold or delicate?
-Colors have long been known to evoke feelings. What colors make sense for your brand?
-Find some other logos (in any industry) and try to articulate what you like about them. How do they make you feel?
-Determine if you will need variations of your logo. How will it look on your website, business card or the side of a truck?
By spending some time to articulate the subtleties of how brands look, sound, taste and smell, you can better define how you want your brand to be expressed.
3. Hire a design company
There are many options available when hiring a design company. You can find one online and spend a couple hundred dollars to spit out a few logo options based on a couple sentences you sent them about your company. This tends to be hit or miss. Some of the logo choices are great but don’t exactly fit your company. I suggest finding a design company who has a team of designers that will try their best to align the brand image to your company message. This is the single most important visual element of your brand image.
Some helpful tips before hiring a design company:
– Find other logos from any industry and identify what you like about them (steer away from major brand names, they have all but brainwashed us so you might be too biased).
– Use Google Web Fonts to preview fonts that you feel capture the essence of your brand. Giving this to a designer might help you get on the same page faster.
– Check out the designers portfolio and see if it matches the style you are after
– Search outside your immediate network. Just because someone “can” do it doesn’t mean they are the best fit for the job.
4. Choose an identity
So now you have several brand logos in front of your board and you are hashing out which one seems to fit the bill. Think of this like you would trying on jackets. You might find three different jackets that all fit but do they match your personality and occasion? How do you choose?
– Have your design company toss your new logo options on some business card mockups, website, etc. even if it is not a final design. It helps to see how it might look in the real world.
– Simplicity in a logo is your friend. A nine color logo is a bad idea.
– View your logo options with your tagline. It helps to complete the picture.
– Print it out, view it large, view it small, try black and white.
5. Follow through
Maintaining a consistent brand image is vital to building a strong and lasting brand. You have a new, fresh and exciting logo. Flaunt it! Make sure to update all of your collateral material, social media profiles, signs, brochures, website, business cards and anything else that you put in front of your customers, potential customers and employees. Along with your new identity you should have a specific color palette, and all the correct files and formats you need that coincide with your logo. We always recommend a style guide to maintain a consistent look as you develop all your brand marketing material. “A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting within a document and across multiple documents.” – Wikipedia Definition.
Get excited about it!
Use this pivotal moment in the life of your brand to promote the heck out of it. It’s a good idea to notify your existing customers first. You don’t want them finding out through the grapevine. Craft a press release to get the word out. Using a service like PRweb.com is a great way to extend your reach and promote a press release. Spend some time internally to involve your employees in the brand refresh.
Have additional questions on where to start or how you could get ready? Give us a call to discuss your project. 828.423.0633