Your business’ brand can be one of its most powerful assets.
A well-managed and considered brand can enhance your reputation and visibility in the market, plus attract and retain customers.
A thoughtful and informed brand development and guardianship strategy will help build on and protect that asset so that it pays dividends both financial and residually.
There are two main categories to brand ownership;
- Brand Development
- Brand Guardianship
Brand development is exactly that; the process of created (or amending) a brand.
Brand guardianship mainly involves ensuring that a brand’s guidelines and parameters are adhered to, whether that’s visually, tonally, or even something less empirical (such as moderating social mediachannels).
Organisations often need to develop a new brand or rebrand their current incarnation. There can be many different reasons for this; growth into new areas, sectors or markets, new management/direction, an outdated image or perceived bad reputation within the market. Whatever the catalyst, it’s essential to create a brand that people engage with and remember for all the right reasons.
Whether new business or an existing organisation that requires a brand evolution, the process of brand development follows a similar methodology.
- Considering overall business goals
- Identifying target audience segments
- Researching industry trends
- Understanding competitor activity
- Referencing comparable brands
- Developing brand positioning & personality
- Pinpointing a messaging strategy
- Creating concepts
- Audience testing/critiquing
- Building a channel and content strategy
- Designing all assets (based on a chosen concept & channel/content strategy)
- Implement,track and refine constantly
Although this list might look daunting, this process is not just important but imperative when developing or evolving a brand. Developing a brand isn’t just about designing pretty pictures, it’s about understanding the key data around an organisation, deciphering it and converting that into something that truly resonates with the target audience and the wider public –ultimately creating a captivating and relevant brand that will set an organisation apart from competitors for years to come.
By not following these steps, it’s easy to lose focus and direction during a brand development project. Sometimes this happens when stakeholders start looking at the project with undue subjectivity.
Many businesses focus solely on visual identity. This is, of course, important. A constant and attractive visual brand is a key element of good brand management. But visual consistency is just one aspect of brand guardianship.
Considering the financial investment many organisations make in branding, ill-conceived applications on and offline can have a massive negative effect on a brand’s value. Communicating a brand effectively and flawlessly is an essential discipline of brand guardianship.
Many people tasked with brand guardianship translate it to mean a steadfast adherence to brand guidelines, with a belief that a‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is the best way to maintain brand consistency.
Rigid repetition isn’t necessarily a constructive approach,in fact it can stifle creativity and hinder brand development.
A major facet of brand guardianship is the ability to apply a brand flexibly but responsibly. Guidelines are there to guide not to dictate.Anyone can enforce brand guidelines, but it takes true strategic thinking and creative fluidity to be a good brand guardian.
Why does any of this matter?
Reinforces value and trust
- Strong brand positioning and a consistent message builds and reinforces trust and adds value to any organisation.
Saves time and money
- Clear brand rules mean that anyone trying to create a message isn’t starting from scratch each time and in turn are less likely to damage the brand by misapplication,protecting overall investment in the brand.
A variety of applications
- Gone are the days that a brand would only appear on a business card and a corporate brochure. Digital channels now mean that a brand will need to populate a plethora of digital spaces, all of which need to be applied appropriately.
Three vital tasks of brand guardianship
1. Review brand guidelines
- Are they up-to-date?
- Are they relevant to your business goals?
- Are they easily understandable?
2. Audit visual brand assets
- Are all the marketing materials coherent?
- Are there any improvements that can be made?
- Are competitors doing more/better?
3. Assign brand champions
- Are they using best practice?
- Are they monitoring the brand performance?
How we can help
At SONDR® we specialise in brand development and guardianship. We help both large and small organisations evolve and maintain their Brands. The appetite for any project is often dictated by budget and timescales, both of which can be tailored by our team of specialists.
If you only take one thing away from all of this, remember; your brand is very much like a child, it does need constant attention, but ultimately one day it will make you proud and, equally as importantly, it will pay for itself many times over.
To find out more about our brand development and brand guardianship services, contact us today.
Are you still wondering whether investing in your brand is worth it, take a look at one of our recent blogs to find out more around the ‘£ value of Brand’. Or view our brand strategy case studies.