What is Brand Identity Development?
Very simple! Developing a brand identity is about understanding what makes your business unique from the next one in your industry, defining your difference from your obvious competitors, gaining insights into your strengths, competitive advantage, and your position in the industry value chain. Technically, we use terminologies like Brand Vision, Brand Mission, Target Audience (Client Avatar), Value Proposition, Brand Positioning Statement, Brand Personality (Brand Adjectives), Brand Tone, etc., to portray these things.
All of these, when put together strategically, can help to direct how your logo, colour scheme, typography, office space design, website user interface, social media handles, flyers, memos, company emails, and every other design system should all look.
In a nutshell, this is what we call BRAND IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT. It’s about developing a uniform and consistent visual communication that helps people to recognize you everywhere you appear in the digital space or off-line.
What is Brand Management?
After all the research, positioning, culture, value proposition, products & services have all been designed and put in place. It’s now time to begin the real work – interacting with the public, getting feedbacks, monitoring performances, managing perceptions and customer responses. This is where brand management comes in – monitoring alignments & deviations, adjusting to changes in the market & evolving demands, growing brand equity & meeting up with industry changes.
Visually, this would also involve ensuring consistency across every platform (touch-points), ensuring designs and activities align well with the defined brand identity and all of that, ensuring all brand assets are well deployed in accordance to the brand guide, ensuring that every engagements, new products, partnerships and collaborations, all align with the written mission – all of these are what we call BRAND MANAGEMENT.
Where a lot of start-ups miss the point
A lot of people just plan for the brand development, but fail to prepare for the brand management. They just employ the service of a logo designer, a different web designer, different flyer designer, different app developer, and all of them come with their differences to create identities for the brand and after the whole stuff is done, everything is in total dis-alignment.
Furthermore, a lot of brands fail to pay attention to consistency in brand look, brand perception, delivery of brand promise and customer experience across their various platforms (touch-points). This is one major factor that destroys reputation and recognition.
How can you correct this fault?
The very first thing is to ensure you have a good brand strategy on ground. If you don’t, then you need the service of a brand strategist. It’s the job of the brand strategist to clearly help you define the core aspects of your brand and the codes of communicating it. This is what we do using a Brand Style Guide or Brand Book. This is what ensures every consequent design, marketing copy, online ad or campaign, all agrees together and aligns with a set of rules.
Other strong points to consider
Content Strategy/Calendar: This is not negotiable because “by their contents, we shall know them.” Having a strong content strategy (and calendar) helps you to create a boundary around the kinds of things you talk about or conversations you engage in. In terms of videos, pictures, article topics, trends, you can’t just be everywhere. Having a strategy gives you a reputation among your target audience. They know what to expect of you and where you belong.
What makes you a brand is that you’ve got defining factors i.e. boundaries. People can trace how you communicate, your style, tone, community interests and fixed standards. These are the things that help you come off as an authority and also help them trust you easily.
So, as you can see, it doesn’t just end with having a logo and design systems. It’s a whole lot of strategy and planning. That’s where the core of branding is.