We live in a time where branding is more crucial than ever before as social media blurs the line between businesses and personalities while opening channels of communication with consumers. Your brand is the face of your company that connects business to consumers.
Online retail has made consumer loyalty a rarer commodity than ever before. Nielsen noted that 46% of consumers are more likely to try new brands than they were five years ago. People are often relying on the word of strangers via customer reviews, which makes every consumer a potential critic and a bad experience could snowball lasting brand damage.
This is the double-edged sword of online presence – you can reach a far wider market and create a following without a physical presence, but you open yourself up to all kinds of criticism that could potentially ruin your brand. Afterall, a reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy.
The consumer experience itself has been revolutionised by online retail and digitalisation. People have significantly more choices in terms of price, quality, and customisation. The biggest manufacturers and retailers have sharpened their supply chains so precisely they can turn around fully personalised orders within 24 hours. While no small-time brand could possible compete with that kind of service, they must find other ways to distinguish themselves.
This is where brand identity plays a critical role. Since businesses cannot always ensure the fastest delivery or best price due to lack of scale – instead they rely on strong branding to create advocates from consumers. This comes from bolstering online presence, investing in the user experience from end to end, and building something in the brand that is memorable and reputable.
Without an absurd amount of capital, no newcomer could possibly compete with Amazon’s logistics network or Apple’s invaluable IP, but both these assets took years to perfect – so focus on what you can design immediately: your brand. If it’s something that’s distinct, something that resonates with your target market and beyond, something that can easily be applied to all marketing material while looking fun/professional then you’ve already transformed your business into a brand.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
Branding is much more than just the visual elements of designing a logo, colour palette, and typography; it’s about creating an overall brand identity that reflects the company’s values, personality, purpose, and target audience. These concepts may seem abstract, but they are what resonate with audiences far more aesthetic values – the key is authenticity between branding and principles.
Once brand identity and design have been defined, a company can then build its own style guide. This is a vital branding resource that keeps branding consistent and ensures all your staff and stakeholders understand the correct and incorrect uses of your logo and messaging, which should be in synch before creating a proper style guide.
A good design agency can work with you to craft this important document, help you develop a unique look, feel, and voice that reflects your brand’s products/services and personality.
“Good design is good business.” – Thomas Watson Jr.