We’re talking about an investment in your Brand Clarity.
Your visual identity (the visible representation of your brand) is only the tip of the iceberg. A brand mostly consists of the emotional and psychological position a company holds with its audience. Strong brands elicit opinions, emotions, and positive (or negative!) responses from customers.
It’s NOT just your Visual Identity!
Many people (and designers are the worst offenders), refer to a brand as a shorthand for visual identity, as in, “Client X wants a branding job”, or, “We gave client Y a brand”.
But when you inquire further it usually transpires that (without any research or process) they simply gave them a visual identity. This included a symbol or device (logo), typographically arranged words (logotype) and a colour scheme, along with defined typefaces chosen for headings and narrative text. And that’s it.
Avoid the Accidental Brand
In our experience this is how many small businesses start on the road to an ‘accidental brand’ – where the marketplace defines your position. When you launch your business you might choose a favourite shape and colour for a logo and have it printed on business cards, signs etc. You’re not really sure where your customers might come from, or why those customers choose you – but at least you have some customers. After a few years, prospects, customers and suppliers associate your logo with your business – for good or for bad. You have a brand but it’s unplanned and accidental and you are not in control of it. Commonly these type of businesses fall into the trap of trading time for money and competing on price – a downward spiral into demoralisation that’s widely accepted as the ‘norm’ by many business owners.
Is this you? It really doesn’t have to be like this.
Unsurprisingly when these businesses want to make changes and grow, when they realise that they can break out of the mediocre mentality of the many and reposition themselves in the marketplace, they find that these ‘accidental’ clothes don’t fit any more. The importance of investing in a proper branding process means that a business can build and manage this valuable asset for the future.
What the savvy owner of a small business with big dreams can do is commit to finding out what their authentic brand might be. Through a process of research and education, using well-designed tools. Only then can they entrust a graphic design firm to create a visual identity that truly represents and reflects this authentic brand. Professionally tailored clothes that fit!
However it’s up to the business wearing the clothes to build a consistently favourable experience with everyone it does business with. That’s how the Brand gets built and starts to attract Brand Ambassadors – those happy customers who keep coming back and refer you to others time and time again.
If you’re not clear on your brand values and what your business represents for your customers, then it’s likely that you don’t know why they buy from you. And you almost certainly haven’t articulated your unique value for potential customers – the value that they will gladly pay more for because it gives them the results they want.
If you’d like some tools that will give you and your customers real Brand Clarity, download your free Brand Clarity Workbook.