Today retail stores are rapidly closing, entrepreneurs are instantaneously launching the next convenient delivery service and consumers are becoming aggressively more selective yet unsystematically flippant. To navigate these progressive changes in the consumer market it’s important to understand branding to get ahead of the curve. Think about all the new ad spaces that are being created through numerous media platforms in technology. Even in print, urban advertisements call attention to the public shouting “HEY, SHOP HERE!” In an increasing ad space/social media driven sharing environment, how does your brand grab a buyer’s attention? Present day consumers want authenticity, not knock-offs. They want thoughtful messaging, real photography, and a targeted identity with a dynamic look and feel.
Follow the steps below to examine, re-envision, or create the framework of your brand.
1. What is a Brand?
It’s the gut feeling of a consumer about a product or service. Secondly, a brand is an identity with attributes that influence others. Considerer how a brand impacts its audience and what they perceive about it. A company can try to portray their brand one way and if the audience reacts in another, it shapes the brand. For example, the application Snapchat was originally created for intimate private conversations and quickly became a global app phenomenon due to people using it for day-to-day social communication. The audience changed the direction and brand.
2. Audience & Reviews
Don’t assume you know the audience until you read online reviews from websites and social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, etc. This is a great way not only to understand a brand, but also an intelligent tool to gather brand messaging through testimonials. For instance, type #Bestop into the Instagram search. This will come up with what real customers are showcasing for their Bestop off-roading vehicles. Get a feel for customer imagery, read captions for audience awareness, and gather unique language descriptors of the brand for future use.
3. Word Storm
Looking at brands from a messaging stand point, it needs to speak, have a tone, personality, emotion, and feel. When a brand can be brought to life it creates a visceral understanding to a customer that inhibits transparency, and therefore authenticity. Create a word cloud with all the words that relate to the product or company. Use the words that contain the most context and merge them together in groups of two for messaging. For example, in the top slide show of Stuart Weitzman’s website, it reads “Spring Sidekicks.” Spring describes the time of year and what’s followed by it is trending. Sidekicks refer to fashion sneakers or trainers…or informally, kicks. Producing two charged words side by side you say a lot more with less. With a short meaningful headline, the user will have immediate understanding of what’s being advertised. Ultimately this transparency will turn into business. To sum up, story tell through the art of wordsmithing impactful language for a quicker consumer response.
4. Eye on Design
Now that we’ve dissected words into meaningful messaging, a congruent look and feel follows suit. Use this brand guidelines checklist:
Have a set logo with alternative logo layouts for different platforms and marketing uses: Horizontal, Vertical, flat, three-dimensional, etc.
Possessing an icon to represent shorthand for your logo and name is a supplemental asset in creating a brand identity. These are known as sub-marks. By way of illustration, International Paper’s favicon reads “IP,” taking the first letter out of each word for a shorthand symbol. A more common example is FB for Facebook. Sub-marks are perfect when space is limited.
Having defined textures, patterns, and styled imagery is important for creating a look and telling a story. Lifestyle imagery is great to include in a brand guideline showcasing the audience and the kind of images you want representing the brand.
In the brand guidelines, fixed fonts should be constructed for a hero font, supporting title, and body font to demonstrate fluidity throughout visual brand media.
Use a multitude of colors! Have at least three primary colors, one of which can be an accent color and a few neutrals as well.