So, you’ve crafted your brand strategy and brand value proposition, now it’s time to create or refresh your brand visual identity. But wait, before you get started have a read of this. Our Senior Design and Brand Manager Sophie will share with you some common brand identity mistakes she’s seen in the past.
Your brand identity should encapsulate your purpose, brand value proposition, character, values, and beliefs, whilst resonating and being memorable to your external and internal audiences. But all too often, this isn’t the case and huge branding opportunities are missed. We know it’s tough. How exactly do you encapsulate all of that into the visual identity? Let’s start with meaning as this is absolutely key.
There are innumerable designers and websites out there that offer cheap logos with no real purpose. But why do we do rush such an important step? Because it’s cheap and super-simple to get your hands on a solution. But, in doing this, are you really aligning it with your brand, and does it send out the right message? A common misconception is that a logo is just a logo, but there’s a truckload of stuff sitting behind every decision an established brand designer has made to achieve a successful outcome.
Branding should be a thorough process that really gets into the nitty-gritty of a company, what they strive for, what their vision is and their brand value proposition. Without in-depth meetings, workshops, and research, communicating the whole purpose of the company is lost. Having a generic, disengaging logo which has no relevance to the target audience means your visual identity is forgotten – and it’s left for someone to pick up the pieces, later.
Don’t forget that meaning doesn’t just have to be conveyed in your logo. Make the most of your visual brand assets. What top-level brand graphics will you use to reinforce your brand meaning. Careful choices need to be made about your colour palette, typography, imagery and iconography. Everything needs to come together in harmony and be impactful when applied across different media such as your website, print, social media, exhibitions, videos, presentations, emailers, etc.
Less is more
If a brand needs to be reviewed internally by several people, you really need to think through what’s the best way to tackle the project as you can end up on a branding roundabout. The first thing potential clients will see is your visual identity and messaging, and this should resonate with them so they can engage and connect with your business. When there’s a lot of people involved in sign-off, it can become all about their personal preferences rather than the anticipated audience.
The problem is that often those in a business who have little, or no experience of branding are inputting into the creative development process. If you want to have several people involved, then the best thing to do is to have a focused workshop where everyone can input at the beginning. This provides a fantastic brief for the brand development process. During this initial workshop we can capture your purpose, vision and what makes you different. Then it’s over to the creative experts to work their magic and translate this into an engaging visual identity with true meaning.
Designers spend hours understanding the marketplace, competitors and the target market to produce the most impactful brand identity that will stand out above the rest. But when it is presented to a client, after there has been involvement from multiple people throughout the creative review process, your identity becomes too refined. It can end up feeling a bit disjointed, lacking in the right meaning and forgettable. The business loses its sense of character and personality, and its brand values become buried.
Our advice is to leave the creative development process with your marketing team to work with the branding agency. We’d suggest presenting it to wider stakeholders at key points in the right way, always referring back to purpose, vision and what makes you different.
Long lead times
A long lead time on a branding project might sound great, but does it really produce the best results? It’s better to get stuck in and nail your identity, with less people involved, to avoid removing all personality from your brand. Longer deadlines provide more room for unnecessary refinement, which can easily dilute the values of the company. Believe it or not, urgency often produces the best results.
That’s not to say that you should rush it. Just don’t take months developing and reviewing your brand identity. Strike whilst the iron is hot and get cracking straight after that kick-off workshop!
It’s common knowledge that people don’t like change – but is staying the same really the best option? Many companies often hold onto their reins tightly, but this only restricts the outcomes that can be produced by a brand designer. Providing an endless list of rules based on personal tastes, rather than research, can push your company into the shadows. Ultimately, it leaves little room for exploration or development, resulting in dry corporate identities lacking in personality or real purpose. Whether it’s a rebrand or a fresh identity, letting go and going against the grain can certainly pay dividends!
In a competitive marketplace, it’s important to allow design decisions to be influenced by the research and to let go of those constraints to really benefit from a meaningful brand identity. Avoid these brand identity mistakes and create or refresh your brand with confidence!
Are you considering rebranding but are uncertain where to start? Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can guide you through the process, every step of the way.
Email email@example.com or call 01625 789050.
This latest thinking article was written by:
Senior Design and Brand Manager