On a regular basis, Borshoff receives requests for “brand” assistance. Over time, we’ve discovered that what a “brand” encompasses can be quite different for people, with many defaulting to the visual components of their brand.
That’s why we talk in terms of “brand strategy,” which is a more holistic view that considers your organization across all its expressions, internal and external. It starts with a product or service, but it’s also how you talk about your organization, what you stand for and value, what makes you better than your competition, the visual identity, how employees behave and how you make your customers feel. Brand strategy is central to all communication disciplines – from advertising and public relations, to sales and employee engagement. If done well, it can be an organization’s biggest asset in winning and creating loyal audiences. Conversely, if it’s addressed in silos and not coordinated across the organization, it can cause real business challenges.
At a high level, a holistic approach to brand strategy encompasses:
- Positioning – how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. It’s important that your positioning not only be believable but also different than your competition. Want to know how your competition is positioning themselves? Start with their website home page.
- Messaging – an organization’s essential narrative or story that can be told consistently across channels/touch points. Like with positioning, it’s important that this is not only compelling but also differentiating. We believe that messaging should be benefit focused. What’s in it for the target audience? What are they getting when they choose you?
- Organization/company name – the text expression of your organization. What you call yourself matters a lot. Does your name communicate the type of business you are? Does the target audience have to work to find out? Sometimes your logo or tagline can help, but other times your name needs to carry a lot of weight.
- Logo and visual identity – the visual expression of your organization. Sometimes this is the main thing that clients think they need, but if the rest of the brand story is clearly defined and compelling, the logo becomes an icon for your story. This is why it’s the last thing we tackle with any brand project.
- Tone – the personality of your communication. In communication or marketing initiatives are you modern, progressive or empathetic? It’s important to be consistent here so you build equity and engagement with your stakeholders.
When our phone rings, most people only have one or two of these things in mind. The key is to understand that an award-winning logo or visual identity can’t carry your business. The most successful companies invest in a comprehensive brand strategy and articulate the brand consistently, in ways that resonate with their various audiences.
If you’re considering a brand refresh or complete brand overhaul, we recommend contemplating why it’s important to you and what you’re hoping to accomplish – then giving us a call to get started.
You can also find more helpful information on rebranding in these recent blog posts: