Want to know the difference between companies that succeed and companies that fade away? It's all about having a successful brand development strategy.
Think about some of the most sought-after companies in the world like Cisco, Avaya, or Apple. Apple, for example, is one of the most successful brands in the world. It's no coincidence that their advertising spend was $1.8 billion in 2015 alone. When we think of Apple, we don't just think of its products. We think of success, fashion, community, and convenience. There is a link in our minds between the benefits of Apple products and our relationship with them. This is what successful branding looks like. Learn how to achieve this and develop a winning brand development strategy for your company.
Three Steps to Creating a Brand Development Strategy
You're probably here because you're wondering where to start with bringing your brand to life. Do you need to rebrand, are you a start-up in need of a brand, or do you need a brand refresh? No matter what you need, this three-step strategy will guide you through everything you must do to create an effective brand for your company.
Think of this guide as blocks in a tower. You have to build each block on top of the last one. You need to know how to verbalize your brand for your audience before you create your brand's visual elements. The final step is to vocalize your brand the right way to the right people. It's all part of creating a unified and consistent brand.
Step 1: Verbalize + Start With Why
How you verbalize your company's message is the first step in successful brand development. This is not just the words you use but where they are coming from and how they resonate with people. Simon Sinek describes this as the golden circle, the most influential companies speak to us from the center of the circle.
They show us what their core beliefs are before trying to sell us their products. This is the opposite of what most companies do and is the reason why Apple's message provokes such a powerful reaction from its audience.
The key point made by Sinek is that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start with why you wake up in the morning and do the work you do for this company. When you are inspired to carry the brand's mission and purpose, you will inspire others and do your best work.
When you design your brand messaging, make sure to think about why your company exists and then follow with what and how it operates. You need to be purpose-built and understand what your company represents.
Step 2: Visualize
Once you have a voice and purpose for your company, the next step is to make your brand visual. Your design elements include your logo, website images, business cards, and brochures. Different visual elements provoke different emotions, so spend some time learning about these before you decide on a bright red graphic font for your IT company logo. Red often arouses a sense of urgency, while pink is feminine and sometimes quirky. Choosing the right colors for your brand's visual elements has a direct impact on how customers perceive your company. It's not just colors that communicate with your audience; typography, lines, shapes, size, and texture all influence the message we take away from a brand's design.
Just the difference between using vertical or horizontal lines creates a very different message. Vertical lines are often associated with masculinity, while horizontal lines bring to mind peace and contentment. You then need to capture all these elements in a style guide. A style guide is a written guide that outlines your brand so that content created for your company is consistent with the colors, shapes, fonts, and tone of voice your brand uses.
Step 3: Vocalize
Vocalizing your brand means placing it in front of the key audience. To do this, your company needs to have powerful tools in place to present your brand to your stakeholders. In 2018, Cisco underwent a massive re-branding of all its platforms.
Their website includes an interactive brand book outlining their new look and vision for the company. Cisco made its brand's personality presentable and easy to understand for investors and stakeholders with all their online assets.
They introduced a new tagline "bridge to possible" and positioned themselves as one of the most innovative and helpful computer and IT companies on the market.
Avaya is another brand that has recently undergone a powerful rebranding campaign to simplify the connection between its products and solutions. Avaya transitioned from a private branch exchange to become a company that offers intelligent experiences to its customers. They achieved this by changing the names of their products that no longer matched the product's function. Avaya’s CEO Jim Chirico describes this as making their products more accessible and relatable for their customers.
Ready to Build or Transform Your Brand?
So, inquiring minds want to know: When Should You Re-Brand? Knowing when to rebrand is as important as the rebranding itself. Both Cisco and Avaya made the call to rebrand when the link between their products and their solutions had outgrown their previous branding. Rebranding should be a response to your customer's reactions to your company. It's an effort to reposition your company in the public eye when it has outgrown its original image.
To wrap it all up, what is a brand development and why is it important?
Your brand is your company's personality. It's the colors you use, the content you create, and your presence both offline and online. Apple's brand value is worth $234.2 million because they know how to verbalize, visualize, and vocalize its company. Marketing and advertising in the technology industry involve careful planning if you want to beat the competition and allow your business to thrive.
At MarketDesign, we're all about helping you nail your brand development strategy because everything you do, say, and stand for is impacted by, and built from, your brand. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to talk through your current season in business and where and how to amplify your voice and move your IT company forward.