This guest post was written by our brand partner AnnaKate of Rhema Design Co.
I’ve talked endlessly before the importance of Brand Strategy in the development of a Brand Identity, but it carries out far past that. A good Brand Strategy will influence every decision you make in your brand, from the client experience to the physical space to your website (don’t forget your website!). Brand Strategy is a plan for how you will build and market the brand – it encompasses who you are, what you do, and who you do it for. It identifies your target audience (you can’t speak to them unless you know who they are) and drives the messaging tone, and personality of the brand. A well defined Brand Strategy will serve to create consistency and therefore brand awareness. This strategy serves as the foundation of the visual brand, but its use extends into every other element of your business.
But, branding isn’t done once the designer sends you the final files.
Sure, you may have some beautiful business cards and social graphics, but what now? How do you carry out the brand well? Your Brand Designer maybe able to work with you in an Art Direction role, but if not, you have a thoughtful and in-depth strategy to keep you grounded in your mission. Your Brand Strategy is your guiding light. It will always provide the answers you’re looking for.
When it comes to web design, the same strategy applies. Your web designer (I highly recommend Stefani, *wink wink*) will have the most knowledge about user interface design and what drives decisions on websites. Pair their knowledge with your Brand Strategy and magic happens. Actually, it’s not magic – it’s intentional design and decision making based on data, but to the client or customer, it feels like magic. When you’re able to provide your web designer with clear knowledge about who your audience is, how you speak to them, and even buyer personas, that can transform the web design process.
I’m a data driven person, but branding really boils down to how you make your audience feel (which we use data to determine and design for).
Do you establish trust by being cohesive throughout, or do you evoke mediocrity with a disconnected and less than thoughtful client experience. Every interaction your customer or client has needs to be considered – website, purchasing experience (whether online or in store), how the physical space is laid out, how your employees interact with customers, lighting, emails, everything. If you’re wondering; ‘should I use tissue paper or packaging bubbles to wrap up my product?’, refer back to your Brand Strategy. It will always give you the answer.
Let’s look at an example. I crafted the brand design for Elevate Events, and handed it over to Stefani to bring the brand to life through the website. Safe to say, she absolutely nailed it. Every element of their website reflects the strategy we created during our time together. It shows they are a thoughtful design team providing an unforgettable experience to their clients. Right away upon visiting the site, you can tell they are different, set apart. Now, we are working on print materials that continue to support their strategy in a thoughtful way and make their audience feel known and cared for.
Here are some questions to consider in carrying out your brand past the brand design process:
- How does the (fill in the blank) experience I provide align with my values?
- Does the (fill in the blank) experience I provide align with the high level of service I provide?
- Will my audience feel known and see through (fill in the blank).
- Through (fill in the blank experience), am I fostering a loyal audience and returning customers?
You probably thought once you hired an amazing brand designer, you were good, right? Sorry to have thrown a wrench in that thought, but the good news is by working with a strategic and thoughtful brand designer, you have what you need to carry your brand out well – a brand strategy.