Does your organization need a new brand identity?
Branding is one of the most important strategic decisions you will make. Getting it right can help catapult your company to the top of your industry. Getting it wrong can result in costly misconceptions about your business.
Some marketers make the mistake of starting with logo design. But almost every marketing consultant will tell you that there are many important steps that must be completed before design begins.
How do you create a new brand? Here are the seven major steps of the branding process from our experience developing branding strategies and brand identities for many organizations.
Creating a New Brand: 7 Steps of Brand Development
- Brand Assessment
Begin with a thorough evaluation of your current approach to branding. You and your marketing team will want to understand:
- Why a new brand is needed: The strategic reasons behind the rebranding decision;
- How revamping your brand will help you achieve your sales and marketing goals;
- The heritage and history of your brand;
- The messages your brand is delivering about your business;
- The strengths and weaknesses of your brand;
- The use of related brands for divisions, units, products, or services;
- How your brand is used in all media and at all customer touchpoints;
- Which elements of your current brand, if any – such as the icon, font, colors, tagline, etc. – have enough equity to warrant retention in a new identity.
- Competitive Assessment
If you’re in a competitive market, your brand is jockeying against other brands for awareness and market leadership. You’ll want to thoroughly evaluate other brands in your industry to know:
- How your key competitors approach branding: Their positioning, messaging, icons, colors, and fonts;
- The effectiveness of competitors’ brands, especially the competitors who are the top players.
- Internal & Customer Research
Your brand represents what your organization is about. To create a brand that’s an authentic representation of your business, you need to define your value and mission. Talk with your staff and sales team, interview selected customers, and conduct market research to learn:
- What sets your company and its products and services apart from competitors;
- How your brand is perceived – what people think about you;
- What your customers value most about doing business with you;
- The ways in which you truly excel – the things you do better than anyone else.
- Brand Definition
The next step is defining what your brand should stand for. Review your research findings to determine:
- Your value proposition: The unique value your business – and only your business – delivers to your customers;
- Your brand promise: The expectations customers should have of your brand every time they encounter it in any channel;
- Your brand persona: The attributes you want customers and prospects to associate with your brand.
- Branding Strategy & Brand Development
Now you’re ready to develop a comprehensive branding strategy. Here’s what it should include:
- A market positioning statement that crystalizes who you are in the marketplace and differentiates your company from every other supplier;
- A marketing tagline, if appropriate, that supports this positioning by succinctly stating in a memorable way the most important benefit, advantage, or distinction you offer;
- Marketing messages that serve as “proof points” for your positioning and brand promise and become the copy platform for describing your organization in marketing materials;
- A visual identity – a logo with an icon, if appropriate, to establish a distinct, compelling image for your business and serve as the foundation for all marketing going forward.
- Branding Standards
Once you’ve created your strategy and your new brand, it’s essential to set rules for how the brand will be used in all marketing channels. It’s the only way to ensure consistency and build brand recognition and awareness:
- Develop branding standards that govern use of the brand;
- Be sure everyone in your organization knows the standards and understands their importance to marketing;
- Create all the files and versions needed in various formats for implementation.
- Brand Implementation
Develop a detailed plan, schedule, budget, and process for launching the new brand across your organization:
- Make a full list of everything that bears your old brand – from pens and websites to products and vehicles;
- Identify internal staff and external suppliers you’ll need to work with to make the transition;
- Begin rollout according to your implementation plan and schedule.
A Final Smart Marketing Strategy Tip: Capitalize on Your New Brand in Marketing
A new brand identity is a prime opportunity for capturing attention in your marketplace and getting prospects, customers, and competitors to view your company in a fresh new way. Build a multifaceted campaign in traditional, web, and social media to announce the new brand and make a splash in your industry.