7 Questions To Answer Before You Create A Brand
Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas – A lot of factors line up to play starring roles in the process of corporate branding – such as brand color choices, taglines, logo design, logo variations and more.
Many companies in the launch phase of a business, as well as those who are looking to go through a re-branding process or give their existing brand a facelift, tend to hone in on the visual aspects of their brand – often at the expense of the other critical elements of the corporate branding process. They’ll jump right in to lengthy discussions (or in some cases, arguments) about whether or not to go with this logo concept or that one, what colors to use on the website, the company name, and so forth.
These questions all must be posed, of course. But if they’re asked in vacuum, or asked without the benefit of a bit of pre-branding strategy discussion, you might end up leaving opportunities to get the most out of your brand on the table – or worse, “stuck” with a brand identity that you didn’t really think through.
Before you plunge headlong into your corporate branding adventure, then, it’s helpful if you make a list of key questions you’ll want to answer as part of the branding process. Here’s a few to get you started:
One: Who is your audience?
Audience definition may seem too obvious or instinctive a concept to merit a discussion. But even if your answer is a simple “our audience is insurance agents”, it’s helpful to think about what type of insurance agent you want to target, where those prospects are located, and what their motivations are before you design your brand identity.
Two: What’s in it for me?
In this context, “me” is of course your customers, prospects, or audiences. Before you settle down to work on the execution of your brand, consider the “why” of your brand proposition, as in why your customers (or anyone else) should care about what your business has to say or sell.
Three: What does your brand promise?
Whether or not your business is offering a service, a solution to a problem, fun, an unusual experience, increased status, knowledge, or lifestyle enhancement, each brand identity should convey a subtle or explicit promise to its stakeholders.
Four: What is your primary message?
It’s also helpful during a branding exercise to give thought to your brand’s primary message – which in some cases may turn out to be the brand promise we just discussed. Your business should ask itself “If we can only say one thing to the world about our company, what do we want to say?”
Five: How direct – or how mysteriously intriguing – do you want your brand identity to be?
Let’s say your new business is a restaurant. If you’re located off a stretch of lonely highway and hoping to capture interstate travelers, you’ll probably want a brand identity along the lines of “Joe’s I-99 Diner –We Never Close”. If your restaurant offers a haute cuisine experience in a chic part of town, you might craft a brand identity that’s less direct, but more artistic.
Six: What is your brand personality?
One of marketing’s most prevalent contemporary trends is the idea that brands should have a personality, sometimes called an archetype. Depending on your audience, brand promise, primary message and so forth, this personality may be humorous, helpful, dramatic, inspirational, or one of any one of a number of different identities.
Seven: Where will your visual brand need to be used?
This question can help you avoid a lot of “back to the drawing board” time in the latter part of your corporate branding process. If your brand logo needs to be emblazoned on the side of a fleet of trucks, you might want to favor a vertical image instead of a horizontal one, or avoid certain colors. If you know you’ll have an ongoing need to emboss your logo on highball glasses, you might want to head in the direction of a circular or square-shaped image that works well in one color.
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