Expert offers five tips on how you can develop your brand identity.
By Andrew Modlin
CEO, ModMan Enterprises
When developing the brand identity for a new company, a common trap is to get caught up in minute details early on, rather than focusing on the larger, long term picture. Taking a step back in these beginning stages can help streamline your process and leave you with lasting cohesion that will pay off in the long run. Below are five crucial steps that will distinguish your brand from the countless others and elevate it to huge success.
1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND
While it sounds simple, this is the most crucial step and the one most commonly missed. Remember that you’re not trying to attract yourself to the product, you are trying to attract new customers to the product. Start by asking yourself some simple questions:
-What are the core values? Determining this will be the basis of your brand’s look and feel.
-What is the core purpose? This will let you hone in on the main point trying to be conveyed by your brand.
-Why do customers prefer you? This will give you incite into your most special element.
-Who is not you target audience? This will let you easily know who you are not trying to design for.
-What does the brand feel like? Hard, soft, smooth, vibrant, healthy, dark, young, old, playful, expensive, cheap…
Clearly defining and knowing the message you are trying to get across will help get that message across, while also informing you during the next steps.
2. DESIGN YOUR BRAND
Now that you understand the message you are trying to get across to you target consumer, you can figure out what they brand should look like. Colors, textures, materials, and fonts are a good starting point. The core values and core purpose should give you insight in the direction your brand should go. Use these feelings over using what you know about the brand. For example you are a company selling a health food option but because of your size you are no longer the small mom and pop organic only company you once were. No problem, your values are still small time and hand made feel, incorporate this into your brand identity even if it is no longer your companies actions.
Stick to what you have defined above at all costs. An easy mistake is to design into a direction that appeals to you over what appeals to your consumer. This is a common mistake since everyone wants to like the design over thinking about what is going to make them money. But you can still make a design you like that incorporates the core elements of the brand. Keeping true to these core elements will insure that you get the customers that you are going after by appealing to their aesthetic.
3. DESIGN YOUR LOGO
Many people will start with the logo design, thinking this is the most important part and therefore should be the most complex. The reality is that brand cohesion is more important than one single element of you brand, and it is always Important to remember that. Use the elements that you have now defined in Step #2 to design and choose your logo. Doing this will ensure unity across your brand and also make it so that you are making a logo for your brand and not a brand for your logo.
Think simplicity and scale. Always view samples of your logo in several sizes and on different media platforms: large and in print, small for collateral materials, and even smaller as on a mobile device. Making sure your logo is recognizable on all three scales will help ensure that your brand is not lost on today’s many platforms available to would-be consumers.
View some logos out of your comfort zone. It is easy to get stuck with your first option, but you are never going to grow as a designer if you cannot come up with another alternative. Try your logo on different colored backgrounds, different sizes, and in various places. This will let you see how the logo can appear in different context and you might realize that the logo you once thought was great looks horrible when placed on your store front, or in the size that fits on you business card.
After you have decided what looks good and what is able to translate visually on different scales and media you are ready to define your brand standards. These are the guidelines that you will use while branding anything to do with you company.
Now that you have your brand and your logo, you need to integrate them into all the elements of your company. This could mean, labels, signage, collateral materials, your website, social media, and anything that represents your company to the world. This is the definition of branding: having your brand on anything that a client or customer will see and will carry with them. This allows your customers to basically advertise for you and spread your brand without you directly paying for advertising.
While focusing on this integration, stick to the guidelines you put forth in the previous sections. Doing so will create a unified brand that will be easy to recognize across platforms. The more simple your guidelines are the more unified your brand will look, and thus make it more easily distinguished from other brands. For example, if you have always have a red logo on a white background, try to keep it this way across all platforms so that in the split second that someone sees your logo they know the brand that it represents.
5. STAY CONSISTENT
Now that you have done steps 1-4, the key is going to be maintaining these guidelines as you continue to grow your brand. Hold all parts of your brand to the same standards you did when you began, and remember to always be sure that anything you sell is easily recognized as your brand.
– Spread your branding money evenly across as many platforms as possible. You don’t want to end up with really nice business cards, but no sign for your store.
– If you are selling a product, make sure your logo and information is somewhere on it.
– Trash is branding too.
– If you add a product line that you didn’t produce, rebrand it so that it looks like it came from your company. This will help integrate your customers and further build your brand.
– Don’t make your website look like it was made by a completely different company with no consideration for your brand.
About the Author
Andrew Modlin, is an artist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of ModMan Enterprises, a Los Angeles-based award winning design, brand management, and marketing firm. ModMan Enterprises works for a wide range of clientele from UCLA to bourgeoning food brands such as Kreation Juice and Go Greek.
In 2007, Modlin was an intern at XTS Global, a sports marketing firm based out of Beverly Hills to grow his design expertise, and met Adam Bierman, the company’s COO. Their matching spirits and budding entrepreneurial instincts kicked in, resulting in them leaving the company together to build what is now ModMan Enterprises.
At the outset, the new boutique firm consisted of Bierman, two programmers, a copywriter and Modlin. Within a year ModMan became an accomplished and award-winning marketing and design firm boasting a diverse client base. Taking advantage of opportunities presented with the various media platforms and technologies available, ModMan Enterprises, is now an unprecedented design, marketing, and brand management firm that has the unmatched ability to build a brand from concept to design to tangible product packaging and retail spaces. Visit http://modman.us/#! for more info.