6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity

Feb 07, 2017 If you are going to invest in a logo redesign make sure to consider ways to maintain your brand’s integrity and identifiable design elements at the same time as you focus on updating for a more. For example, your key customers, select partners or top sponsors and donors will need to know right after internal players and before the general public. Think about the best way to reach each audience group. For example, plan a company “all-hands” meeting followed by a Q&A session for your internal brand launch. Jan 11, 2013 Knowing your target audience or customer can be the difference between your brand being effective and it tanking. Targeting the wrong audience can be fatal. Spend time researching the audience so you understand it fully: this will give you strong foundations, letting you communicate the brand both visually and in words. Communicate With Your Audience. As we have mentioned in the introduction, social media is beneficial for companies because it offers a direct line for marketing communication. Establishing and maintaining brand identity can proceed more effectively if there is a constant back and forth between the company and its customers. According to the customer-based brand equity framework, two general approaches are possible: 1) Expand the depth and/or breadth of brand awareness by improving brand recall and recognition of consumers during purchase or consumption settings; and 2) Improve the strength, favorability and uniqueness of brand associations making up the brand image. This latter approach may involve programs directed at existing or new brand associations.

Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding — whether via words, design, offerings or perspective. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers.

It’s fairly easy to create blog posts, ebooks and other such content assets in the digital age. Quick, too. An idea can go from concept to completed so quickly that it doesn’t get thoroughly vetted for brand consistency. And with an internet connection and standard business software, almost any employee has the opportunity to create content that contains their version of the brand look or message. Many employees will do just that, even with the best of intentions.

Don’t leave your brand open to a variety of interpretations and customizations. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. A constantly changing brand personality just doesn’t do the job. That’s why it’s so important to develop standards for brand consistency, on and offline. Every interaction customers have with your brand should embody the brand promises and values dependably and understandably.

What procedures have you put in place to ensure a consistent brand presence in all your on- and offline brand communications? Are your brand guidelines and brand personality documented? #contentmarketing #smallbusiness Click To Tweet

Develop brand guidelines.

Most large corporations (and some small to midsize businesses, too) create brand style and usage guidelines to ensure all messaging and brand asset use is on-point and consistent. These guides not only help the marketing department, but they also serve as guides to other employees and departments. And above all, the guidelines should align with a company’s vision and mission.

Take a look at these examples to get a feel for how in-depth a brand style guide can be:

  • Walmart Corporate Brand Guidelines. Walmart has covered every conceivable way to use its corporate brand. This comprehensive guide includes direction on the brand’s editorial voice and how to use their logo in print, online, on promotional merchandise and more. They even cover appropriate fonts and how to use logos, icons and taglines correctly.
  • Mozilla Style Guide. Mozilla has an online style guide to help its open source community understand how to use its logos and trademarks for Mozilla, the Firefox browser and their other products. These guidelines help everyone who works with Mozilla protect Mozilla’s brands.

Now, your business may not be the size of Adobe or have the reach of Mozilla. Maybe you’re in the process of establishing your personal brand. These style guides may look overwhelming, but you don’t necessarily have to be as exhaustive with your brand guidelines. However, you should take the time to establish a foundation that guides your messaging, and you should ensure that it aligns with your business goals and the needs of your target personas.

You also can check out ClearVoice’s Editorial Style Guide, complete with a breakdown on how to make a style guide that’s freelancer-friendly.

Pay attention to internal branding and corporate culture.

Brand consistency isn’t just a customer-facing imperative. After you’ve taken time to cultivate a brand voice that will resonate with customers, the brand experience delivery has to match — that requires employee participation. Slapping your logo with a list of brand values on some posters throughout the workplace is not enough. You should attempt to get a marketing leader involved with any existing corporate culture-building initiatives. If there is no formal corporate culture program, you can partner with HR to get executive buy-in for establishing a brand-centric corporate culture initiative.

Sometimes marketing teams get so focused on driving awareness and leads, that they forget about internal customers. Your organization’s employees must buy-in on the brand. Does your company do the following?

  • Ensure that onboarding and training programs incorporate brand values.
  • Provide branded items (shirts, mugs, business cards, laptop cases) to create internal brand loyalty.
  • Empower employees as brand ambassadors who can advocate for the brand on social media using programs like GaggleAMP or Everyone Social. These programs help keep the company and brand messages consistent.
  • Develop collateral to explain each department’s role in the fulfillment of your brand promise.

When your internal audience understands and embraces the brand, the more consistent the delivery of brand experience will be to customers.

Approach content with brand consistency in mind.

Once you’ve created your brand style and usage guidelines, refer to them when planning all your content marketing efforts. According to a study from The Verde Group and the Wharton School, two-thirds of all shoppers use more than one channel to make purchases. With all the online and offline opportunities to make an impression, consistency across all channels and touchpoints are more important than ever.

Then, consider these seven fundamental approaches:

1. Use your logo and design elements consistently and provide access to employees.

The only thing worse than seeing a logo stretched out of proportion, pixelated or painted up with new colors is seeing it shared that way with staff and customers. To combat this and similar blunders:

  • Create a shared folder on your company network or intranet that provides employees with access to approved visual content and instructions on how to use them both on and offline.
  • Develop a branded slide deck theme for your webinars and webcast videos.
  • Create social media cover photos for your employees who participate in employee advocacy programs.
  • Provide document templates and social sharing templates that help your team present a consistent brand look and feel online.
  • Manage orders for print and promotional materials through a single department or person to ensure your logo is always used correctly in print and promotional materials.

Recommended tools for:

  • Style guide creation: Frontify
  • Image and template file sharing: Google Drive, SharePoint or DropBox Business
  • Template creation for social media and marketing collateral: Canva for Work or Visage
  • Branded email signatures: WiseStamp for Business
  • Branded apparel: consider setting up a branded storefront with a company like Land’s End for easy ordering of branded apparel

2. Select the right topics for your brand’s content calendar.

The topics you write about or produce webinars and videos around should be consistent with your brand’s mission and goals. Look for opportunities to create content that makes sense for your brand. If your business serves a particular industry vertical or niche, for example, it’s entirely appropriate to create or curate blog content around key industry developments that affect your customers — especially when your company has expertise in or unique insight to the issue.

3. Bring offline marketing events into your online branding efforts.

If your company is exhibiting at a trade show, has received an award, or is participating in a community event, let your online audience know. When your business or product is recognized as a leader or taking a leadership role in your industry or community, that’s part of your brand-building efforts. Promote these efforts through blog posts, social media posts, visual social media (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), and video. Don’t forget to add your brand name or logo to photos or videos that you share.

4. Keep your brand’s tone and personality consistent across channels.

When communicating as the brand offline or via your website, social media profiles, or other online channels, it’s important to keep a consistent tone and personality. If your brand is fun and friendly on Twitter, it should have a similar flavor on Facebook and LinkedIn. Your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: There is the “at work” you and the “at home or with friends” you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context. The same goes for your brand personality and selected communication channels.

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5. Participate in platforms and channels that align with your brand’s identity and your prospects’ and customers’ preferences.

It’s easy to get distracted by each new online marketing trend and platform. It’s easy to be swayed by peer pressure, too: Everybody is on Facebook, my company should be too. Before following the crowd to an existing network or becoming an early adopter of a new platform or trend, evaluate the offering to determine whether or not it makes sense for your business. Ask yourself:

6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity Role

  • Would you expect to find a brand like yours on this new platform or executing this type of strategy?
  • Would you trust a brand like yours if it were on this particular network or conducted a new kind of campaign effort?
  • Do your current or target customers congregate on these social platforms? Are they likely to be the same demographic that a new social media channel targets?

Location, location, location — it’s not just a consideration in real estate.

6. Align your brand with the right influencers.

Influencer marketing is hot right now. So hot that marketers have rushed in too quickly and made some missteps when selecting the right influencer to represent their brands. If you decide to work with influencers, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this influencer appeal to my target audience?
  • Does he or she talk about issues directly related to pain points my product or service can address?
  • Is his or her personality complementary to my brand’s?
  • Will he or she ensure appropriate use of my brand in their content?
  • Are the influencers I’ve selected legit?

7. Partner with the sales team on the development of a sales playbook.

A sales playbook is not a sales training manual; it’s a framework that assists sales representatives in closing more deals. A key component of a stellar playbook is stage-specific content. How much of the content created by marketing is the team using? Where is the playbook content off-brand?

6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity Authentication

If there is a rift between sales and marketing in your business, this next step may be easier said than done. However, you can use this exercise as relationship mender. Review the existing playbook with sales management as a way to offer your help. Don’t go into the conversation on the defense. If the team isn’t using the content that marketing has generated, ask questions to understand why instead of trying to force the issue. The sales team has front-line experience that can provide you insights into why a piece of content doesn’t work. Take their feedback and help create something new— and brand consistent — that will maintain brand consistency and move the prospect closer to a sale.

Are you creating a consistent brand experience?

As our ability to create and send marketing communications increases, it becomes easier to make a few missteps when crafting brand identity. The desire to be immediate can result in immediately confusing, distracting or detrimental communications that detract from the brand you’ve worked so hard to establish.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for today's marketers and entrepreneurs when it comes to brand consistency? #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Read more about honing brand consistency and voice:

Find a Team to Manage Your Content and Grow Your Vision

Whether you’re searching for a better job, looking for a promotion, considering changing careers or growing your network, building a personal brand can help you reach your goals. As marketers, we often market services and products but forget that we also need to market ourselves! Follow these seven steps to get started.

Step One: Determine & Prioritize Your Values and Passions

Values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They are at the core of who you are as a person and determine your priorities. Some examples of values include friends, family, honesty, community, ambition, etc. When faced with difficult decisions, you typically rely on your deepest-held values.

Values are important for business, especially during a job search. If a candidate’s values match that of a company’s, they are more likely to be hired. Prioritizing your values will help you begin to determine the vision of your personal brand.

Passions are the ways you enjoy spending your time. Generally, these are different from your values, though they may sometimes overlap. To build your personal brand, you must first identify your passions - both personal and professional. Professional passions might include technology, automation and design, while personal passions might include kayaking, family, and golfing.

Values and passions help you determine where you want to be in two, five or even twenty-five years, including your ideal career path. If the passions and values above were attributed to a person, he would most likely perform well in an email marketing role involving design and automation, though he would need to live in an area that provided him plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

Step Two: Define Your Key Traits

What helps you stand out from the crowd? These elements are your unique traits, and they help shape your personal identity. The Big Five Personality Traits are identified as :

  1. Openness to experience
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

Each of these traits is assessed on a scale, and where you fall on the scale defines your unique personality. You can take a free test to determine yours. This test should give you some insights about how agreeable, extroverted, open-minded, etc. you are and help you cultivate your personal brand. Of course, these traits don’t have to be permanent; if you don’t like your results, you can take steps you can take to move along the scale in one direction or another. or example, if you’re closed-minded, you could try new things at work and in your personal life. Conversely, you aren’t likely to have much luck changing key traits such as extrovert and introvert characteristics.

Need more insights on determining who you are today? Ask your friends and family for their honest opinions. Start by asking them to give you three adjectives they’d use to describe you.

Once you have your key traits, you can create your our personal brand statement: Envision your best self when crafting this.

To help you get started writing your statement, use this fill-in-the-blanks template from Dummies.com. Note: Use this as a starting point, but feel free to edit it to meet your needs.

6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity

I use my ___________ and ___________ for ___________.

Known for ___________, I ___________.

Using ___________ (key trait), I ___________, by providing ___________.

Through my ___________, I ___________, when I serve ___________.

Step Three: Develop Your Personal Image

Once you know your values, passions and personality traits, it’s time to start showcasing them! Here are some ways that you can get started:

6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity System

  1. Have professional headshots taken and use them on Linkedin, in your company profile, etc.
  2. Cultivate an email signature that’s unique to you. (Use your personal email if you can’t edit the email signature you use for your company). Include all of your contact information, your signature, your social media icons, your company and your website.
  3. Build credibility with content. Use your personal blog, Linkedin profile or publishing tools like Medium to get your message out on topics you are knowledgeable about.
  4. Dress the part! Stay prepared for networking events and big meetings by keeping a fresh blazer and pants or skirt pressed and ready to go.

Step Four: Define Your Target Audience

It’s impossible to make everyone like you, so why would you try to appeal to everyone when building your personal brand? Defining a target audience is important for organizations, and it’s also important for individuals. Think about when you were younger and you made sure to get requests approved from your parents when they were in a good mood. This basic example teaches an important lesson; it’s best to invest your time and energy into an audience that is more likely to give you your desired outcome.

Your Target Audience Includes:

1. The Person Who Will Pay You: This person is typically a boss, investor or client. This person is in charge of the next step of your career. Create a description of this person (whether real or fabricated) and include as many details about them as you can. Then identify this person’s personal and professional motivations. When you understand his/her motivations, it can help you better understand how she can help you meet your own goals and even how you can help her meet hers!

Perhaps your boss would like to be Chief Marketing Officer and spend more time with her family. You can help free up some of her time by taking on additional projects or streamlining processes. Then she’ll be happy to help you in return! Set up a meeting to outline your goals and talk about specific timelines and to-do items to achieve them.

2. The Person Who Influences the Person Who Pays You: Make it easy for your boss/client, etc. to put in a good word for you with her superior or direct influencer. Outline your current achievements and clearly outline your goals in a presentable format. Showcase how you’ve gone above and beyond in your current position.

3. Your Supporters: Who are your messages meant for? Who will benefit most from consuming them and provide you what you're asking for? That’s your target audience of supporters. If you’re aiming to achieve a new job or promotion, your supporters could also be your peers that will help you get where you want to go by providing excellent recommendations.

Step Five: Build Your Online Presence

From Twitter to podcasts, blogs to Facebook, to establish your personal brand, you must get your voice out there. First, you must secure URLs, social usernames, etc. that are the best fit for your brand before someone else does! This includes both your personal website and any social networks you choose to join.

Tools like knowem and NameChk can help you check availability across hundreds of social communities. If your preferred name has already been chosen, try using dashes, underscores or numbers to find one that best fits your brand.

Linkedin is one of the best places to start getting socially if you’re interested in improving your job standing or looking for clients then LinkedIn is the best place to start. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the other major networks you’ll want to take a look at. Secure your username here and start building your profiles on the network(s) that will best fit and help further your personal brand.

In addition, ensure your personal website showcases your best attributes and/or work. If you’re a writer or designer, establish a portfolio. If you’re a speaker, start a podcast or film yourself speaking at a conference.

Step Six: Start Blogging!

Many marketers consider blogging to be the best way to build a business, but they can also be influential when building a personal brand. Once you have your website, Use The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience to get started with blogging. Once you have followers, you’re well on your way to establishing a lasting personal brand.

Some of the best strategies for gaining followers include:

  • Writing about influencers and getting them to share your posts
  • Using social sharing buttons on your blog
  • Joining the right online communities
  • Syndicating your content
  • Repurposing your content

Once you’ve established an audience, make sure to post on a regular basis, follow SEO best practices and continue to cater to your audience for best results.

Step Seven: Follow in the Footsteps of an Expert

Who do you admire inside or outside of the marketing industry? Here are some examples of great personal branding from which you can borrow straight from the experts. Take note of how these individuals present themselves and their work.

6 Ways To Refresh Your Brand And Maintain An Identity Statement

Darren Hardy:

Neil Patel:

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