At Baker Marketing, we find that shaping or creating an organisation’s brand is often the first step in getting their marketing right.

Many people think of a brand as just a logo but it can encompass much more. The logo is a visual representation of the brand and a foundation on which other branding elements, such as a colour scheme, a tone of voice, a sense of visual style, a tagline or a musical jingle, can be built.

Without an effective brand it’s difficult to cement a positive message in people’s minds about an organisation, so it’s important to think strategically about your brand and ensure that the brand you are creating will work.

Here are 5 strategies to help you get your brand right and use it correctly:

1. Your Brand Should Match your Vision for the Business

A mission statement describes what an organisation wants to do now, while a vision statement outlines what an organisation wants to be in the future.

If you start the process of creating a new brand for your organisation without knowing what the mission and the vision for the organisation are, you run the risk of ending up with a brand that doesn’t make sense because it is disconnected from the organisation’s very core.

Make sure you have a mission and vision and communicate it clearly to the designer. You’ll end up with a solution that will serve you well for many years.

2. The Name is Crucial, So Get it Right

Sometimes an organisation doesn’t consider the choice of their business name seriously enough and they can start the branding process from an already weakened position because they have a name that has problems. Some of these problems include negative connotations, spelling or pronunciation difficulties, and double meanings.

The name should also be as distinctive as possible so it’s a good idea to do a thorough search online and do an audit of your local competitors, and those interstate and overseas, to ensure your name is the best choice for your chosen market.

You should be looking for a name that allows you to reserve the ideal website URL and matching social media account names. A trademark check is also an important consideration.

3. The Brand Should be Customer-Focused

When we undertake strategic marketing planning with our clients we focus on on prioritising customer needs and exploring how well equipped an organisation is at meeting those needs. Because a key part of successful marketing is ensuring that the customer sees your organisation as a solver of their problems, your brand needs to reinforce that it is “the answer”.

Too many businesses decide on a business name and a brand based on their own needs instead of their customers’.

Don’t fall into the trap of creating a brand based on your own tastes and preferences. Employ a designer or an agency which has experience in creating brands and give them good information (preferably backed up by some detailed qualitative research), to help them understand your customers’ needs.

4. Be Visually Daring to trigger Emotions and Be Memorable

Your brand needs to be memorable. Depending on your target markets and desired brand positioning you may consider a brand that is visually daring and that triggers emotions for the customer.

Very often, when a designer presents a range of brands to a number of people in an organisation decisions about which to choose get made “by committee”. The result can be something that waters down the creative concepts into something lacking the spark that was in the original work.

At the end of the day, your brand should be something that evokes an emotional response in your customers; an emotion that is consistent with how you want them to feel when they purchase and use your products or services.

If you want people to feel excited about your organisation, then your brand needs to be exciting. If your organisation is all about care and compassion then your brand should evoke feelings of empathy.

Colour and shape, and the clever use of images with multiple meanings, are great ways to create emotion. Don’t be afraid to trust your designer, and if you must consult others to make a decision, consider asking your customers to help you choose.

5. Your Brand Should be Used Consistently

Being consistent with your brand is what makes it work across different media and when attached to different messages. Consistency says a lot about how professional your business is. It says “we’re stable, credible and trustworthy”.

Consistency doesn’t have to mean “boring”. Think of your brand a part of the blank canvas that gives you room to be creative in other ways.

Once you have decided on your primary brand a “Brand Style Guide” should be created that spells out how it can be applied consistently. The style guide should also demonstrate how NOT to use the brand.

Perhaps you need more than one version of your logo – a version for social media icons, a version for use in a black and white newspaper, etc. You’ll need to document all of these. But make sure you don’t end up  too many versions.

For help with getting your branding right, contact Baker Marketing today!

Image by Mike Mozart on Flickr (CC by 2.0).

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