Think of your brand as your business DNA

Clare Tucker continues her series on marketing with a look at cost-effective ways to keep your business brand fresh.

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8th December 2009 at 10:48 am

In the same way that DNA defines our individual, unique characteristics your brand captures the DNA of your business. I’m not talking literally of course, but think of your brand as a combination of the personality characteristics, traits and beliefs of your business – the aspects of your company that make it unique.

Pull these elements together and you have an image your business is giving to the outside world – your brand.

When your company image doesn’t accurately reflect your business DNA you should seriously consider a rebrand!

This can occur for a number of reasons but a key one is your business may have changed significantly since the original design was created. Major developments can affect your brand such as mergers, the launch of new services or even downsizing.

Generally speaking in these instances it’s immediately obvious that the existing brand needs to be reinvigorated or a new one developed. However, there is a less obvious, but more common reason for your brand becoming dated.

In my experience many businesses tend to invest very little time in its constant development.

Instead they only update it when prompted by a key business change (such as my examples above). If there isn’t a business critical reason to evaluate and update the brand, it’s rarely given priority. You really must incorporate an ongoing, regular update into your marketing strategy though.

One issue that I hear frequently from companies is that brand development is expensive and not a priority so they shy away from it.

This will only have a longer-term negative effect on the businesses. The longer you leave it the more dated it will become. Consequently you will be left with a much larger, more expensive project when you finally face up to addressing it!

So how can you keep the costs of developing a brand right down?

  1. Often the most subtle of changes can make all the difference. For example, frequently adding new copy on to a website or the introduction of a slight change of colour scheme. This approach will help drive more traffic to your site, keep your messaging and image up-to-date and help ensure your brand continues to evolve. Apply this technique across all of your marketing materials and it will help you avoid the cost of a complete rebrand too!
  2. If you do need a complete rebrand I strongly advise you to invite at least 3 design agencies to quote for the project. This applies even if you already use a trusted designer. Informing your incumbent designer that you’re putting the work out to tender may well encourage them to provide you with a more favourable quote! You might even find that this process introduces you to a new agency or consultant with a fresh perspective on your brand.
  3. When you have selected your chosen designer or agency invest the time with them to brief them properly on your requirements. If possible, plan your envisaged design needs out for the forthcoming quarter and share those too. You can then work with your appointed agency to develop the core marketing materials that you’re likely to need for the immediate future. This will help identify possible work that can be designed for a number of projects. For example if you plan on focusing your direct marketing on an email based campaign but are targeting a number of different audiences, your designer can prepare one master email template for you, all you have to do is change the copy for each different market. The result is a lower cost of design!
  4. Spend time with your designer, consider them a genuine extension to your team, brief them properly and ensure they have a thorough understanding of your business. Do this and you should find they’re better equipped to offer advice to you and develop a brand that is right for your business objectives, audiences and most importantly your budget!
Clare Tucker

Clare Tucker is the Managing Director of Sterling Marketing Management and a Chartered Marketer. She has spent over 20 years in the business services sector and the past 12 years as a marketer. Clare is passionate about nurturing start ups and small businesses by advising them on and implementing affordable, realistic marketing strategies http://www.sterlingmarketingmanagement.co.uk/

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