The Importance of Building a Strong and Consistent Brand Identity
By Guest Blogger: Jeremy Stroud
Logo, brand, identity—they’re all the same aren’t they?
Many individuals know a logo when they see one, from the golden arches to white Coke script on a red background. But how does this fit into the wider concept of a brand or brand identity? Ask most people on the street and they will likely tell you that they are all one and the same. While logos, identity, and brands are related, there are large differences between them.
Think of Nike, Microsoft, or McDonalds. Chances are that these names call to mind a distinctive swoosh, a simple wordmark, or dual arches. These are the logos of the brands mentioned and each one has been carefully crafted to work with an overall brand identity.
Alternatively, think of the colors that are associated with each logo. Think of how each logo is consistently shown in relation to their products or service points. If you enter a McDonald’s restaurant, you can expect to see the gold, grey, and red of all McDonalds. In addition, menus, seating, advertising are all synced across the entire brand. All of these elements, the physical pieces of a brand, are collectively called a brand identity.
Lastly, think of how you feel about these companies. Like or hate Microsoft, the emotional response exhibited towards the company is part of their brand. Organizations manage their brands very carefully, whether it is by portraying themselves as caring, elitist, fun, or serious. They do this using commercials, the tone of their advertising material, and color psychology (for example, McDonald’s colors were chosen to stimulate your appetite).
Logos are a piece of the overall identity which, in turn, is used in the overall branding for the organization.
The costs of mishandling a brand
You may remember a recent controversy surrounding Komen and their quickly changed decision to stop grants to Planned Parenthood to cover breast cancer screenings. The public outcry was so great that in the following year, the Susan G. Komen foundation lost 22% of their revenue, about $77 million dollars. The emotional impact of a policy change that, to many, was counter to their brand had an economic impact that Komen is still dealing with to this day.
Building a strong brand identity
So how do you build a strong brand, one that is big enough where mere policy decisions can gain or lose millions? Branding takes time and energy. There’s no way to truly manufacture a brand, you have to provide good products or services and build relationships to develop a good brand.
The part that you can work on is the identity which is associated with your brand. Before you can truly begin work on a brand identity, you need to examine your business—it’s purpose and place in the market. To begin, define your brand elements:
- Mission Statement: What drives your business and why do you exist?
- Vision: Where do you want your business to be in 5 or 10 years?
- Essence: How do you want individuals to feel about your business? When customers experience your product or service, what does that elicit?
- Personality: Is your business exciting and dynamic? Traditional?
- Value: What value proposition do you provide for your customers?
With these elements in mind, many of the questions as to style and brand personality will have been answered. Starting with a strong logo and appropriate colors gets you part of the way. Designing a unique brand identity all your own will help to build this relationship with your customers and help you stand out from the crowd. Incorporate this style into everything that you do as an organization, from advertising collateral, to business cards and your website. Graphic design companies, such as Jive Consulting, can assist in setting up a concrete brand strategy for your organization. Following such a strategy will help keep your brand in the thoughts of your customers.
Jeremy Stroud is a 10-year veteran of the Graphic Design world and is currently the owner and lead consultant of Jive Consulting where he specializes in web technologies and brand development. He has extensive experience developing logos, ecommerce websites, and multimedia applications. In his off-time, Jeremy is busy chasing his 2 kids, enjoying games of all sorts, and tinkering with computers.
About Jive Consulting
Jive Consulting assists organizations to position themselves in an increasingly difficult global marketplace. Jive takes pride in making sure every aspect of their client’s web presence works together, from logos and marketing collateral to custom built service and ecommerce websites. Visit us at www.jiveconsulting.com.