The Guide to Developing Your Brand Identity
Savvy entrepreneurs use design to gain their
competitive advantage–and you can too.
It’s easier than you think, but you do have to do some thinking!
What you’ll learn from this guide:
What branding means for tech consulting
How to craft a clear, effective message
Why you need a solid brand identity– and how to develop it
How to roll out your new identity
01 – Understanding Brand Identity
02 – Developing a Clear Message
03 – Determining What Needs to Get Done
04 – Crafting Your Brand Identity
01 Understanding Brand Identity
What do we mean by “brand identity”?
Your potential customers, employees, partners and vendors are going to make judgments about you very quickly. Often, these judgments are made before even one word of text is read– so having an engaging brand identity can mean the difference between getting attention, or not.
what you look like
So, what is a brand anyway?
Brands, like reputations, live in the heads of people. Your reputation is not what you think it is, it is what others think of you – and so it is with your brand. Also, brands are not logos, although logos serve to identify brands-this, after all, is their primary function. When we see a logo, we associate it with the company it represents, and, more specifically, our perception of that company. This is based on their products (and/or services), their people, the way they present themselves to the world, how they behave, and what we know about them.
Companies that do good work want to ‘label’ that work with their branding elements so people can continue to associate this good work with them. Over time their branding elements come to mean something, and so doing business becomes easier and getting more leads and new customers becomes less challenging.
For this reason, companies spend large sums developing their brands. These same principles apply to your technology consulting brand – your company’s brand identity does have an impact on how your company is perceived – for good, or bad! But there is good news – you don’t have to spend vast sums to do this.
So, what should you do?
Understand the principles at work – and apply these to your situation. This way you will be able to plan ahead, find the right designer or agency, know what steps to take and what to expect.
A little common sense will go a long way. Good brands are always deliberate– nothing about them is left to chance. Typically, they:
- are based on solid products & services
- present a clear and well-thought-through message
- have visual brand elements that are clear and easy to understand
- are authentic
- are coherent
- stand out from their competition
Questions you should ask yourself:
Do your current visual elements do a good job of representing your company, and do they support your message?
Is what your brand stands for clear?
Are you proud of what your brand looks like?
Brand Identity in Context
Use this infographic to learn more about the factors that impact brand, developing a good message, and creating a solid brand identity.
02 Developing a clear & concise message
Let’s talk about what you’re saying.
Understanding your audiences is critical in developing a clear and hard-hitting message. This is non-trivial, so it helps to keep things as simple as you can.
The goal here is to understand who you want to know and what you want them to know about you.
Start by rethinking how you describe your business. Research your target market and take the time to talk to some of your best customers. Find out how they perceive you and why, then learn what problems they look to you to solve. Bonus: take time to look at how your competition describes themselves.
The Key Success Factor?
Develop a list of what you provide for your customers based on the research you just completed. Next, articulate your capabilities and spend time clearly defining your remarkable difference: the things that set you apart from everyone else. Based on what you learn, write an About [your company] statement for use on brochures and other marketing materials.
Write a 60 second elevator pitch (keep it short and to the point). Articulate what you do and explain why what you do is valuable and different.
Developing your message will take time– as it should. You’re forming the foundation of your new identity, so don’t be afraid to put some real thought into it.
03 Deciding what needs to get done
How can you know what you need?
Once you have a clear understanding of who you want to reach, and what you want to say to them – and have been able to clearly articulate this in writing (think message brief), the job of developing a new brand identity will be much easier.
To determine what needs to get done from a brand identity perspective, you will need to evaluate your brand identity in terms of how well it is working in support of your message. If you have a clear message, and your current brand identity supports that message, you are good to go! If not, some changes will be necessary.
How the World Sees You
In evaluating your brand identity, you should also evaluate your competition’s efforts in this regard. Doing so will very quickly reveal what needs to get done. This might leave you feeling a little at sea as you enter the world of creatives and designers and the like.
Review our linked articles to get more information on reviewing your existing brand and understanding your various options related to who you might have do the work.
04 Crafting your own brand identity
It’s not as daunting as you’d think!
Working with creatives can be rather challenging, especially if you are more technically minded. Getting an understanding of how design projects generally operate will help you add more value to the process and produce much better results.
It all starts with a design brief – this will lay out what needs to get delivered, and provide background and context for the development of the brand identity assets by the designer(s).
Design projects, by their nature, are less structured than you may be used to. The creative aspect of ideation, and the various processes your creative team may go through in developing concepts and refining these concepts into workable options, is non-trivial.
How the World Sees You
Generally, the more time that can be devoted to the process, the better the final results are likely to be. However, more time spent on weak concepts or options will not make them any stronger. Here is where you need to rely on the design talent you have to do this work for you, and trust that they know what they are doing. In the same way that it would be very obvious to you that someone who knows nothing about your craft will fall short in providing solutions to the problems you typically face, your suggestions about the designs being developed might not be as sound as you think.
That said, your participation in the process and your feedback is critical. Just try to swim in your lane and let your designers swim in theirs. After all, you are paying them to do this work.
Basic project steps involve:
- Design Brief Review and finalization
- Design Research
- Concept Development
- Concept Refinement
- Concept Review and Selection
- Design Finalization
- Final Delivery
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