It’s all about connecting with your intended audience (potential customers/members), which prompts engagement and builds your credibility (satisfying the need for trust, consistency, and expectation).
By creating a brand, you are essentially pledging that your business or organization will provide a distinct group of services and experiences consistently to buyers, members, users or participants - at every touchpoint - based on a solid idea. Your idea, hopefully unique in the marketplace.
Branding will set you apart in your desired target market and is more than just a logo, but that is where you need to start. From there you build your brand footprint through advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, and reputation. This is true across the board for private enterprise, solo business owners (solopreneurs) and non-profits.
The effort is worth it.
Case example - a popular local bakery:
I started with a brand analysis and audits for their website and logo:
Then a mood board was proposed:
With branding, customers/members/participants will know your story through a consistent identity or “voice”; where every employee or volunteer will be on the same page - from executive leadership, to sales, support, and operations - all align to your business culture with influence, appeal, and relevance. A process that is measurable. Once the branding strategy was executed, this particular business enjoyed a 79% sales increase over last year, overall NET increase of 47% sales over all past years, and a whopping 13% fan increase over the campaign - with an increased rate of engagement - which contributes to branding, CR (visitor conversion rate), and sales.
So, how do you start?
A CREATIVE BRIEF
Beyond the brand analysis and audit in my example, every business or organization must fill out a Creative Brief before endeavoring to create a brand or identity system.
The importance of a rigorous an thorough Creative Brief is on the same level as your business plan. Taking time to answer tough questions like:
- company objectives
- desired results
- target market identification
- competition identification
- success criteria
- brand voice
- brand standards (colors, fonts, styles)
- cultural impact or inspiration, if any
After those questions are answered thoughtfully, then you move to strategy planning for your intellectual property (logo, branding, assets, content) and business needs. This includes creating a website (your #1 marketing tool), that is ADA compliant , SEO optimized, with the implementation of best practices (excellent example is this timely article about UX personalization processes). Also considered is a budget and plan for content creation of your print and digital media.
Once the Creative Brief is complete, a proposal is generated with cost attached, broken out into milestones or “phases”. This process builds your brand in a strategic and affordable way, with the ultimate goal of acquiring customers, motivating members, engaging participants and users. This gives "birth" to the proposed Mood Board, which is the framework for all creative going forward.
These complex “customer-centric” branding decisions position your company or organization in the market with your benefits large and in charge.
For more info on this subject, check out this excellent article on entrepreneur.com