I’ve always likened a strong brand identity to a rock band’s rhythm section. Behind the colorful flash of the singer and lead guitar is the constant driving beat provided by the rhythm guitar, bass, and drums. At a very young age, we began picking up on this. It’s consistent and predictable and we like that. Think of your favorite bands and I am sure you will agree.
Likewise, when companies are establishing their own identity, they need a brand appearance that is both consistent and predictable. It would be foolish to let your marketing department and salespeople act as the lead guitarists without any sort of invariable message behind them. Worse, imagine the confused noise that your distributors could make without any guidelines!
When capturing market share is the goal, the most effective way to accomplish that is to develop consumer “mind share.” The strongest brands are synonymous with the product being offered. For example, which brand of soft drink do you think of first? Brand of tissue? Fast food restaurant chain? The brands that come to mind for these and other products have won the race for YOUR mind share – these companies have created something very powerful -“TOP OF MIND AWARENESS”, and this is something that can be created for YOUR BRAND!
Your Company owns a brand, sometimes multiple brands. The mention of your brand or the sight of your logo evokes feelings among your current and potential customers. Some feelings are very strong while others are faint, but there is some level of reaction in every case. Consider your brand as a personality, a living thing. To capture “mind share”, and ultimately market share, you will want to have a strong, positive emotion be the immediate thought when a customer sees or hears YOUR Company’s brand name. People buy on emotion, so the best scenario for YOU is that they have positive feelings about YOUR BRAND.
The strength of your brand name and the brand equity associated with it are critical in today’s marketplace, where customers have many suppliers from which to choose. A strong VISUAL IDENTITY plays a significant role in how your brand is recognized.
The ultimate in “mind share” is not when the customer thinks of your product when hearing your Company’s brand or seeing your Company’s logo. More powerfully, you want the customer to THINK OF YOUR BRAND WHEN THEY THINK OF THE PRODUCT. With this, you will have accomplished “TOP OF MIND AWARENESS.”
Visual identity can be achieved and preserved through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive “Corporate Brand Identity Program”. Your “Corporate Brand Identity Program” will help present a consistently strong message about the dependability and quality of your Company’s products and services. Sales promotion material, advertising, packaging and correspondence ALL influence how your brand is perceived in the marketplace. A clear and effectively implemented corporate identity program encourages and maintains QUALITY and CONSISTENCY in all communications. The personality of your brand takes on another key trait – RELIABILITY.
A comprehensive “Corporate Brand Identity Program” is comprised of the following:
Corporate Design – what the external customer sees
Corporate Communications – what the external customer reads and hears
Corporate Behavior – how the brand is understood internally
The first two components, “Design” and “Communications”, will be documented in your “Corporate Brand Identity Program”, which can serve as Company Policy. Elements of the document typically include:
Logo (color, use, reproductions, misuse, trademark, sub-brand logos)
Electronic Media (presentations, templates, website, email, social media, videos, images, storage media)
Print Media (letterhead, typography, envelopes, business cards, fax cover sheets, advertising)
Point of Purchase
How it is communicated will direct the third element, “Corporate Behavior.” Depending on your corporate goals, you may wish to have your brand message delivered exclusively through your marketing efforts or you may wish to have your brand holistically integrated in all aspects of your business.
Creating a stronger “mind share” for YOUR customers will result in YOU capturing greater market share! YOUR brand needs to be represented as consistently and predictably as the driving beat that gets stuck in your head.