What makes a great brand?
Its important before we even start thinking about the components we require when thinking of a 'brand' that we understand what a 'brand' is - in its entirety.
A brand is made up of many things, it is not just a logo, its not a word, it is a collection of elements that should engage with all the senses and touch points of your customer journey.
It is a feeling, an experience, an interaction, an engagement and a connection with every person that comes into contact with it. A brand is the visual, physical and digital presence of your concept.
And to create and deliver a great brand 'experience' you need to consider the following 5 ingredients...
01 - YOUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY
To me this is the most important aspect when creating a brand. To be successful every brand needs its following. And this following is who you are targeting in regards to every touch point of your brand. A customer journey helps you understand how your 'followers' (clients, colleagues, potential customers, collaborators, ambassadors etc..) engage, perceive and feel about you. Creating and understanding your customer journey will help you identify each and every touch point that people will come into contact with when engaging with your brand. This gives you a definitive (but not exhaustive) list of products and assets which you need to create to deliver an on-brand message throughout their journey from start to finish, to repeat correspondence.
02 - SET YOUR VALUES
Before any design work should take place you should delve deep into your business plan. What are your key values, and most importantly do they resonate with your ideal customer? What is important to you and what are the most important factors you wish to convey to your audience.
Are you all about sustainability, are you targeting mass market or a small highly focussed group of individuals, are you seasonal, are you personable or corporate, are you high brow or homely.. all these words and values build an important foundation from which to build your empire.
Throughout your journey you should always return to these key values and your statement of intent and ask yourself whether the message you are putting out into the world, to your followers, still reflects these intentions. If not then ask yourself - have your values changed or do you need to find your way back to your roots, your values, your true aspiration.
03 - YOUR VISUAL LANGUAGE
Only once you have defined your values, identified your ideal audience and understood the journey they will take with your brand, can you begin to weave the visual web of design. Think about the colours that reflect your values, the feeling you want to convey. The visual language you start to create needs to speak to your followers on a subconscious level as well as being value focussed and hopefully adaptive enough to embrace growth of your audience group and business as time moves by. Yes the visual language will probably include a 'logo', but this is supported by a host of other elements, the colours you choose, the style of illustration, photography or imagery you use, the style of font, the placement of text and the language you use...
04 - FIND YOUR VOICE
No matter what type of project you are creating an identity for, a business, an event, a personal project... it will require a voice. This can be written word, spoken word, content on video, blog posts, social media content etc etc.. and the language which you choose to use within this must, as with all these points, represent your values and appeal to your followers.
Think about if your business or products were sitting opposite you holding a conversation, what does their voice sound like? Is it male, or female? Is it a slick salesman with all the jargon or a homely family character? Is it serious or cheerful? Does it make you laugh? Does it deliver a fact filled presentation or ask leading questions of you?
Once you have built the aura of your brand in this form you can start to create content and language which represents the correct persona. Always returning to make sure that it supports and your key values.
If you cannot create this content yourself there are many copywriters out there who can help - but make sure you work with one who delivers copy which delivers language which resonates with you, your values and captivates your followers.
05 - CONSISTENCY
I cannot stress how important it is to be consistent, across all platforms and touch points of your brand at all times. And this absolutely does not mean be boring, repetitive or predictable. By consistent I mean show up over and over again, and tell your story in the same language, depicting the right values, enforcing your message in all its glory to all your followers all the time. Be as disruptive, surprising and experimental as you want, but make sure every time you put any content out in front of your tribe that it is on brand, on target and absolutely 100% working for you, connecting with your ideal audience, engaging with them and working its way into their daily life. By doing this your brand / business / project / event will become part of their routine, they will be familiar with you, they will understand the message and because they are part of your tribe they will WANT to hear your message. Because you are representing your values and researched and understood their needs they will connect with each part of information you offer them and relate to it. This in turn leads to sales, recommendations, growth and loyal followers who as such become ambassadors bringing new followers into your tribe - a very extension of your brand.
If you keep these 5 things in mind when creating your brand identity and experience, then the foundations will be strong enough to grow with you over time, evolving to incorporate new aspects of business and retain the core following which will make your empire great.