How to Decide
What Needs
to Get Done

By Martin Steinhobel
Content
Branding
Design

Review Your Existing
Brand Identity

Ever record the sound of your own voice, play it back and think “do I really sound like that?” Your brand is a bit like that: not exactly what you think it is, yet undeniably yours. It’s what other people perceive about you, and that you struggle to see at all. This is one of the primary reasons that forming a brand identity requires so much careful work.

So, you will need to look at your website, social media profiles, emails you are sending out, any collateral you provide (printed and online), your events setup, and your physical office space. You should also take the time to re-evaluate your logo, colors, and type (font) choices. Major brands periodically revisit these, and for good reason. Companies and markets – and therefore messages – change, and so must brand identity elements. “The times they are a changing….”

Website

Dated vs Fresh – HTML/CSS standards are ever-evolving, allowing for new and different approaches to web design. If a website is 3-5 years old you can be sure you will see a difference. Typical symptoms are: mobile responsiveness; text in images; and dated navigation. Design trends and styles also evolve, and while it’s not necessary to chase after every new trend, some keeping up is required. A strong User Experience (UX) design is also much more evident than it was just a few short years ago – and really makes a difference to how sites function today.

Social

Social media sites are forever changing up their banner and profile image standards. The mobile world with flexibility of presentation means that companies that don’t keep up, look(come across?) like companies that don’t keep up.

Email

Email banner styles and content presentation strategies also change over time. Again, driven by consumer desires and changes in technology like HTML and CSS updates, what was great just a few short years ago can start to look really dated. Integration with effective landing pages and more effective CTAs (calls to action) also serve to improve the email experience for customers and would-be customers.

Collateral

Just like other design elements, collateral can start to look very dated over time and needs to be constantly refreshed. This is normally not simply a design issue, but also a message issue where the company message has evolved but the supporting collateral has not.

Events

Event booths, banners and other related brand elements can become stale quite quickly. Again, messages change and evolve over time. How well do your event brand identity elements support your message?

Physical

Evaluating the physical appearance of your own building is simple but does actually need to be done. Don’t rely on your ‘perception’ of what your office space looks like, as small problems can quickly be overlooked and no longer get noticed. Do a review with a critical eye!

Logo, Colors & Fonts

Underlying brand elements can just start looking old. Evaluate logos, colors, type choices, and judge the general look and feel of a brand. How well is the logo working? Does it support the message? Is it simple? How well is it working as an identifier for the company? Is it unique? How well are the colors working? Has any thought been given to colors or are they somewhat random? Too many? Too few? How well do they work together? Do these underlying elements provide the versatility you need?

Presentation of Content

Are videos and or podcasts provided? Are these amateur or ‘produced’? Are they dated? Does the content work well together? Does the content support the messaging? Is content being reused effectively?

A good way to get in tune with what to look at is to take a good look at your competitors and those in the industry that you admire and answer these questions [Worksheet or check list or something?] about their brands. (It is always much easier to critique others than yourself!)

How well is your current identity displaying your message?

Once you have done a few reviews, review your own brand using the same criteria. Try to do this as dispassionately as you can or have a third party do this for you. Distance yourself from the task – you are just reviewing another competitor in the market. This is a time for introspection – “Everything you think could be wrong.” Where do you stand relative to your competition?

Rank your reviews (including that of your own brand identity) with a view to getting a good handle on where everyone stands. Does anyone stand out? In a good way, or a bad way? Why?

This review should provide you with a solid understanding of where you stand relative to your competition and give you a good idea about what needs to change.

 

Deciding what’s next

To start, you need to decide on the scope of the changes you need to make. The extremes run from minor changes to a complete rebranding project that might even involve renaming your company. Changing your name has major implications, but in some cases may be what is required.

More likely than not, though, you will find yourself needing something in between. Also, around about now reality will come crashing back into the picture as you start to think about budget, the time all this will take, and the effort involved.

Want to learn more about brand identity?

Check out our Complete Brand Guide!

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