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Bringing your brand to life

While thinking of a topic for my blog post, I looked down at my desk to see a brochure for a new program being launched internally. Looking through the brochure, I realized how consistent our creative design and brand messaging has become.

This type of brand consistency was not in place a few years ago, internally or externally. So, how did we get here?

It started with research. The only way to understand your brand is to talk to the people who interact with it every day. A brand is not simply a logo or a company name–it is made up of consumer perception. So the first step to understanding your brand is to understand how customers perceive it.

Through research, it was apparent Co-op had strong brand equity and associations. As a result, it became less important to ‘”redo” the brand, but instead there was a need to “reintroduce”the brand.

How do you reintroduce your brand to customers? I would suggest there are three main areas of focus to achieve this goal:

Visual consistency

The visual elements of the brand need to be consistent and aligned. This includes everything from the logo design, to colours and fonts, to tagline placement. The same visual elements should be used in all communications, whether it be on the side of a building, a customer coupon or a business card.

Message consistency

The message you want to communicate to your consumers should be delivered with a consistent tone and creative design. Whether you are introducing a new program, or sharing a weekly deal in a consumer email, tone and creative design should be aligned and consistent.

To help Co-op achieve this consistency, brand values and brand standards were developed. All communications are now developed with brand values as the core focus and asking, “Why are we doing this?” Brand standards help to align messaging to these values in a consistent manner.

People

People are the most important part of your brand. You can have the most consistent visual elements and messaging, but without people you cannot move the brand forward. If your people do not believe in the brand, understand the brand or live the brand every day, then how can you deliver a consistent message to your consumers?

A brand is brought to life through its people. To really develop a brand, the entire organization–from upper management to front line employees–need to understand what the brand represents and how they can help achieve its overarching goals.

So how do you get your people on board? Communicate with them, teach them, talk to them, ask and answer their questions. Work together to collaboratively develop strategies and ways to communicate your brand values to your customers. And most importantly, do all of this on a consistent and regular basis.

By aligning these three areas–visual consistency, message consistency, and people–you can successfully re-introduce your brand to your consumers and bring your brand to life.

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