To Protect Your Brand, Think Beyond a Logo
A brand is so much more than just a logo and a social media account: It's the sum total of all the experiences the public has with your company. A few strategic (and surprising) tactics can help integrated marketers strengthen and protect their brand.
But your brand isn't just your branding.
One of the best definitions of "brand" we've ever seen comes from marketer Kayla Immel: "A brand is so much more than just a logo and social media account—it's a personality for a business, an outward expression of not only their goods and services, but their ethics, reasons and core values."
So while a logo and a color palette are essential parts of your visual identity, your brand is something much bigger. Here's why a strong brand matters and some of the surprising ways you can protect yours.
Hallmarks of a strong brand
Your brand is one of your company's most important assets. We can all point to companies that have strong, iconic brands–Apple, Coca-Cola, the Walt Disney Company, General Electric and Target immediately come to mind. As companies, they don't have a lot in common. But as billion-dollar brands, they're all:
Consistent. The impact of a well-conceived and consistent brand is cumulative. Each interaction people have with your brand, and every time they're exposed to your brand elements and messaging, its strength is reinforced.
Recognizable. Your brand needs to stand out and be identifiable to your core audience. Some of this comes from visual identity–and, if you make packaged or labeled goods, ensuring that each product looks like it comes from the same family.
Powered by purpose. Your brand should all add up to a reason for being. And it's not just about consumers. Think about how Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price famously raised the salary for all his employees, helping the company stand out for its commitment to fairness and doing the right thing,
Surprising and strategic ways to protect your brand
To protect your brand, let's look at how you can maintain its consistency and recognizability while communicating its purpose. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it contains practical and actionable ideas that will also serve your company well in other ways.
- Use an online storefront for ordering and distributing marketing materials. With a system that gives everyone in your company access to the latest marketing materials, you'll protect your brand by controlling and coordinating messaging and information.
- Make it easy to access the latest brand elements with a document management system. Ensure anyone creating assets and resources for your company has the most current versions of logos, fonts, photography and other visual elements. A document management system is an ideal place to house your company's style guide. Think of your style guide as a "living document" and look at it with a critical eye at least once a year.
- Create impactful email signature blocks. Since so much of our communication and customer service is done via email, an email signature block is almost like a digital business card. In addition to containing essential information about the employee or the company, a signature block can communicate your company's personality and values.
- Look at your employee training materials. Branded training materials can get employees excited about your brand's purpose and give them the tools they need to be good brand stewards. You can script routine service calls and communications to be "on brand," and you can even weave in your company's mission and values to encourage them to live the brand.
Now, let's talk about your branding
Even with all these other elements, your visual identity is still a significant part of your brand. Do your color palette and graphic elements accurately portray your brand in the best light? Is your logo still helping your brand stand out? Let us take a look. Our artists and designers can make recommendations to help you refresh and elevate your brand.
If you'd like to talk about the larger initiatives discussed in this article, we're here for that, too. What can we do for your brand?