How to avoid an identity crisis.
secrets of a branding identity review — and when to ask for help.
quiz: Which of the following items are part of your company’s brand identity? Logo, typography, company name, positioning
statement, tagline, packaging, color palette?
Answer: They all are.
patchwork quilt sewn together to make something uniquely beautiful, the sum
total of your corporate branding components should complement each other and
send the right message to your customers, employees and partners.
you’re just starting out or have been in business for decades, it’s smart to
schedule an in-house session to review all the elements of your identity program.
In A Step by Step
Guide to Creating a Powerful Brand Identity, Column Five Media shares
a straightforward process for success.
begin, see how your brand stacks up against the five characteristics of a
strong brand identity:
distinctive. Stand out and capture your prospect’s attention.
memorable. Use the power of visual memory to paint a powerful picture of your
brand. Think Apple: When you notice their logo, you don’t need to see the word
“Apple.” That’s effective visual branding!
scalable and flexible. As you build brand guidelines, don’t paint yourself into
a corner. Take a gander down the road ahead and think in terms of a
brand identity that can grow and change with you.
cohesive. Make certain all of the various pieces fit together.
simple. Be sure marketing resources like graphic designers and copywriters have
a clear grasp of your brand identity. It will make their work easier and assure
results that are true to your brand.
you’ve covered the basics, you can dive into the brand identity development
Time to brainstorm. Identify your audience. Because you can’t nail down a
strong brand identify if you don’t know who you are talking to. Consider your
customers as well as other stakeholders including employees, partners and
are updating guidelines for an existing brand, take a snapshot of where your
brand is today. Then picture where you plan to take it. Finally, consider the
competition. Make a list of every competitive brand. Study how they present
themselves, and decide how you can differentiate yourself.
Ideation. Next, Column Five suggests taking all of the
information you’ve gleaned through research and figuring how to present it
visually. It can be a daunting process to turn stacks of data into visual
concepts that appeal to your audience. But we live in a visual world and it’s a
Production. It’s time to get down to
brass tacks. Not to mention color palettes, typography, design systems, and
your logo. Again, the process varies depending on whether you are starting from
scratch or updating an existing brand. If it’s the latter, consider the benefits
of designing a new logo.
Brand Style Guide. Your
blood, sweat and TLC have paid off. Your brand identity rings true. But you’re
not done yet. You see, a brand identity is only useful to the degree that you
put it to work. And the only way to do that successfully is by taking one final
step. Create a style guide that shows — through words and pictures — exactly
how to make the brand come alive.
the right resources. While your in-house staff is the logical
go-to team for a brand review, there are times when bringing in outside
expertise makes sense.
are super busy, doing a brand identify review right might take key staff people
away from important everyday tasks. There are also times when you don’t have
the expert capabilities needed (including the necessary objectivity) to do a
thorough and professional job. If you’re fortunate enough to have a graphic
designer, copywriter and branding specialist on staff, you’re in luck. But if
not, look into calling on outside specialists.
your customers and prospects are silently asking themselves an (often
unconscious) question: Does this brand speak to me? Is this a company I’d like
to do business with? Make sure your brand helps them answer these questions in
the affirmative — and avoid a costly and unnecessary identity crisis.