When you’re trying to design a brand identity that consumers will think about in all its glory, it’s important to consider all the possibilities of what this identity could be. Often when designing a brand, it is easy to think about it as an isolated entity, but really it needs to be designed to compete with other brands and companies. Just when you believe you have created the perfect brand identity, you send it out into the mean, cluttered world of the free market and all the rules change.
Much like raising a child, designing an identity must be done with perspective; it is important to be aware of the context of your brand. We all know kids who grew up sheltered from the real world and once they enter it, they don’t know what to do or how to behave. They weren’t prepared for the many decisions and harsh realities that exist. The same is true for brand identity. When designing and making key decisions, it’s important to ask yourself the hard questions:
How does it match up with direct competition? In today’s market, with so many brands clambering for the same consumers, it’s important to communicate that your brand is superior in a creative and interesting way.
Are we saying the same things as our competitors? It is necessary to have an edge over your competition by conveying a unique message with your brand identity.
Are we using the same colors as the competition? Think about colors that convey a specific mood you want your consumers to have. Brighter isn’t always better.
What does it look like in a Twitter feed? As a favicon? This is more important that ever. You need to make sure your brand identity can be large or small and still contain the same information.
What does it look like as a sticker on the back of a car? Or a patch on a backpack? Consumers want style and interest. The better looking your brand, the more likely they will want to share it with others.
How will the experience with the brand match up to the claims?
Your brand identity can be snazzier than all your competitors, but if you don’t deliver, they consumers won’t care.
In short, make sure your decision making process includes context. Don’t think about the identity in a vacuum because no one will ever experience it in a vacuum. It needs to be prepared for the real world.
Craig Johnson is the chief strategist and co-founder of Matchstic, a premier brand identity agency located in Atlanta, GA. Matchstic helps organizations create passionate brands that are memorable, relevant, and lasting by focusing on brand development through brand naming, brand strategy and brand positioning.