Need a Brand Update? Start with the Basics

Principles are a life raft in the high seas of relentless change

Hey, guess what? We’re living in a visual world crammed with color, interactivity, big promises and more, all fighting for our attention. Examples of great marketing – both online and offline – are all around us today. And we’re getting more and more impatient, as we surf from site to site, hunting for the products and services we want now.

Ok, so what?

Well, the question is, how does your brand image stack up in this hyped-up scene of moving parts and messages?

If your brand elements, from your website to brochures, all scream “1990s” and are littered with blasé blurbs about your services and background, then you’ve got a problem. But, wait – you also have an opportunity to get into the game and dazzle your clients and employees with a powerful new image that leaves your competition in the dust.

Funny enough, even though technology is helping you target your markets with ever-sharper precision, the best brand marketing still embraces principles that have ruled the print world since the dawn of the Guttenberg press in the 1440s.

Strategic integrated marketing with clear consistent messaging and smart design has been a cornerstone of every successful business for many decades.

There’s no escape – well-written content and messaging still sets the tone and sells your services or wares. It’s the springboard for your visual identity, it explains and reinforces your value proposition, attracts and engages your customers, and sets you apart from the competition.

Not as daunting as you think

All of your marketing initiatives – internal and external – must be anchored by a targeted, yet flexible strategy that includes clear rules, style guides, and standards that govern written and visual elements. Technology is harnessed to drive out your messages, engage your customers on an ongoing basis, and measure your impact.

In today’s fast-paced scene, it’s not uncommon to see marketing initiatives emerge from young talent who know the programs inside out, but have little experience in the fundamentals of brand strategy and cohesive content, design, and distribution.

Too often, website content can be weak and badly written, fonts and colors uncoordinated, column widths awkward, pictures fuzzy, and so on. A coordinated branding approach across all elements is simply missing in action. This usually means that the client or prospect is lost in the shuffle and given little reason to stay on a site, let alone buy a company’s goods or services.

If you can see that your branding needs help, there are remedies and they’re not as daunting as you think. It starts with an honest appraisal of where you stand, by identifying strengths and weaknesses, and conducting a competitive audit.  Then you begin the fun brainstorming process of exploring innovative ways to strengthen client bonds by demonstrating value, thought leadership, and social responsibility.

Aligned with your business goals

The strategies we develop are aligned to your business goals. They include clear standards and guidelines and a schedule for regular updates – blogs, newsletters, research. Your marketing and communications initiatives will flow more smoothly and, based on measured feedback such as how many visitors your website attracts and how long they stay, you can make refinements and improvements as you go along.

Of course, there can be baby steps. You can start slowly, perhaps focusing on a new menu category on your web site, refreshed branding for your collateral, e-newsletter, or an online Annual Review.

The idea is to remain focused on the bigger picture. All elements supporting your brand must be coordinated and aligned in support of your overarching business objectives.

It comes down to taking a systematic approach based on sound principles. Sure, technology has dramatically changed marketing and how we do business, but strategic integrated marketing with clear consistent messaging and smart design has been a cornerstone of every successful business for many decades. And those principles are as relevant today as ever.

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