Building a brilliant brand
Planting & cultivating an organic marketing system
Often companies skip crucial stages building their brand, thinking this will save time, money, effort, and resources. This approach will cost more over time and could permanently tarnish the brand’s image. I’ve devised a process to help simplify the branding and design process. To help mentally retain the phases, I used the letter “d” to begin each phase.
It is imperative to research your industry, understand your competition, and identify your buyer persona(s) before you begin the design and development phases.
First, determine your market size and its growth potential going forward. Next, identify the market’s buying habits, market segments and their performance, competition, and margins you can expect to receive.
Next, Make a list of possible competitors. What are your competitors’ business strategies, pricing models, analyst interviews, manager statements, annual shareholder reports, capital investments, R & D projects, strategic partnerships, promotional campaigns, social media presence, and marketing plans? Review their SEO strategy and blog content and collect a list of targeted keywords. What page do they appear on Google and other search engines for these keywords? You can find more information from their press releases, white papers, infographics, and case studies.
Finally, Develop a detailed demographic study of your target audience. What is their job title, size of company/industry, and details about their role at work? Also, collect age, gender, household income, family, location, education, goals/challenges, and values/fears.
Once you have gathered information about your business’s industry, competition, and your targeted persona, you can begin to define your brand identity. A unique and well-respected brand identity is more important than ever before. For example, you’re likely to reach more people and gain more followers, if your online social media personality speaks to a variety of buyer personas.
- Perform a structured evaluation of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This detailed analysis will help you build and establish your corporate brand identity.
- Vision Statement: An inspirational and/or aspirational declaration that explains what you want your company to become in the future.
- Mission Statement: A a simple, straightforward, motivational, articulate statement that communicates the purpose of the company.
- Essence: The essence of the brand embodies the company’s heart and soul, and typically described in one word.
- Personality: Personification of the brand’s voice, thoughts, and actions. It is the personification of the brand — the application of human characteristics to a business.
- Value Proposition: A one or two sentence statement that clearly articulates your company’s unique value.
Now that you’ve done your research and the analysis of your findings and you’ve defined your identity, you have reached the design phase. Most experts agree that simplicity is the most effective approach to brand design. Finding the ideal balance of simplicity, intelligence, and elegance seems counter-intuitive, but it’s not. By providing the audience with brief, digestible pieces of content, you’re likely to convey your message to more people. Lists are a great way to breakdown, simplify, and present complicated subjects. They also provide lots of desired white space in your layout.
There is too many theories and subtle nuances to explain design on this page. Instead, I will blog about specific design topics going forward and give my spin on them.
Checkout my blog for related subjects blog
With a defined brand identity and your design complete, you can develop your inbound marketing and brand strategy. You should have plenty of content and corresponding images to develop a comprehensive website. You should develop downloadable content for your visitors to download and review.
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Press Releases
- Landing Pages
- Launch Campaingn
- Social Media Profiles
- YouTube Videos
- Blog Articles
- Search Engine Sitemaps
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization
- Analyst Reviews
- Customer Testimonials
Errors like broken links and misspelled words can damage your brand’s image forever. Bring together a quality analysis team and ask each to review the website and content you intend to share with the entire Internet. An extended load-time is frustrating and can lose a potential visitor and cost you a potential customer. Make sure all your website pages load quickly and are free of those annoying little bugs!
Countdown to launch in 10, 9…. That’s right, it’s time to launch this shiny new brand and website! Here’s a few things you should do on the big day.
- Publish your first blog
- Post the status on your social media accounts
- Ask your friends to like your social media accounts
- Ask your contacts to share your blog posts within their online social circles
- Post a announcement ad on YouTube
- Send an introductory email to all your family, friends and contacts
- And finally, HubSpot your butt off!
A style guide is a set of design and writing guidelines to promote a consistent message and unified visuals. Setting these standards and clear guidelines promote a consistent brand identity and furthers efficiency across all departments within an organization.
Style guide categories include:
- Color palette
- Logo usage
- Business card layout
- Email signature
- Web Elements (iconography, call-to-action buttons, pagination, tables, and lists)
Below are a few sections of iDesignFast’s style guide.
It is important to recognize the difference in RGB, CMYK and Pantone, when you’re ready to print out your advertising and marketing materials. RGB is the color mode for Internet design and CMYK and Pantones are used for print. Matching the color on a computer screen with the final printout takes experience and a Pantone book.
Below, I’ve listed some best practices to follow before sending your files to the printer.
- A .25 inch border containing no live area should be allowed for cutting.
- Use a minimum of 300dpi resolution.
- Save file in CMYK format.
- Solid Black areas should be composed as a combination of C 60%, M 60%, Y 60%, and K 100%.
A number of things should be considered when developing signage for your business.
- Visibility – A clear and simple message produces magnifies impact
- Location – Consider surroundings before designing
- Message – Less is more. Allow for adequate space between letters and concise information.
- Type and Fonts – Size matters! This chart, provided by United States Sign Council (USSC), specifies font size guidelines for maximum impact at specified distances
- Viewing Distance
- 100 ft
- 250 ft
- 360 ft (city block)
- 500 ft
- 750 ft
- 1000 ft
- 1320 ft (1/4 mile)
- Minimum Letter Size
- Color Scheme – Choose complimentary colors with maximum contrast. According to Outdoor Advertising Assoc. of America (OAAA) the following color combinations yield optimal visibility.
- Black on Yellow
- Black on White
- Yellow on Black
- White on Blue
- Green on White
- Blue on Yellow
- White on Green
- White on Brown
- Brown on Yellow
- Brown on White
- Yellow on Brown
- Red on White
- Yellow on Red
- Red on Yellow
- White on Red