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Branding Basics – 12 Things You Should Know


Like a lot of agencies, a week doesn’t go by when we’re not involved with, or discussing, some type of branding initiative with clients or a prospective new client. We may not be a dedicated branding or design firm, but year after year, organizations look to us for these assignments because of our collective branding experience, our proven process, and the fact that we work collaboratively in helping them to evolve or create their brand.

For all the press that national rebranding efforts in recent years have garnered for companies like Verizon and Google, or those closer to home like the NBA Milwaukee Bucks or Colectivo Coffee Roasters, there are hundreds of other organizations that can benefit from working with an agency who can help them throughout the branding process without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Given the number of agencies that work in the area of branding, along with specialized design firms and freelancers, I can’t understand why some companies look at taking shortcuts for something that’s so vital to the success of their organization. I’ve seen several businesses recently take a short-sided approach and wonder what the long-term impact will be on the success of their organization or what it may do in eroding brand equity.

Instead of dwelling on the “what ifs,” I’d like to focus on the basics for those of you who are considering a branding initiative. Most marketers know that a brand is more than a logo and a tagline, but the single most important aspect is creating a brand strategy that will lay the foundation for development of a successful brand. The following is a topline on the 12 key components of a comprehensive brand strategy that will keep your company, product, or program thriving for years to come!

  1. Purpose – Why does your business exist, and what makes the people within your organization get up every morning and do what they do?
  2. Insights – Do you know what your audiences think about you or your competition? And you do you know the best way to reach your audiences?
  3. Personas – Once you know what your audiences think, can you establish profiles for each of your buyers and define the best way to reach, engage, and meet their needs?
  4. Involvement – How can you involve your employees throughout the process from getting their insights to helping them live the brand once it’s launched?
  5. Competition – Who are your key competitors and what can you learn from what they’re doing?
  6. Position – What is the single most important thing that differentiates you in the minds of your audiences?
  7. Messaging – What’s your story and what are the key messages you’re telling to your audiences?
  8. Consistency – Is your messaging cohesive and does everything you’re doing work together each and every time?
  9. Flexibility – While consistency is important, will your brand be flexible to work across different mediums or programs in order to appeal to different audiences?
  10. Personality – What style or emotion is your business conveying? Is it buttoned-up and conservative or fun-loving and creative?
  11. Elements – What are you going to need to establish consistent use of the brand to internal and external audiences including style guides for graphics, imagery as well as your brand voice?
  12. Plan – Are you going to launch the brand quickly across all mediums, or phase it in overtime due to budget constraints? And what’s the plan for launching the brand to employees as well as customers?

Of course, this is just the beginning. There’s a lot more to each of these components that we’d be glad to share the next time you’re considering a branding initiative. Give us a call at 262-650-9900 or contact AFFIRM Principal – Creative Director, Steve Stocker at sstocker@affirmagency.com to learn how we can help.


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